STAFF MEETINGS – Just Do It!
When we conduct a practice survey with new clients, we ask if the practice holds regular staff meetings. Unfortunately, we often learn that staff meetings only take place when there’s trouble or a problem has occurred. When staff meetings are held this way, members expect the worst, and their expectations are usually met when they hear only bad news or that something that has gone wrong.
The successful operation of your medical practice depends upon clear communication between you and your team. You might assume that your staff knows your expectations and the current goals of the practice; however, we find that is often not the case. Plus, regular reminders can keep your team motivated and focused.
Here are six tips to help you conduct staff meetings that build cohesion among staff and positively impact your operations.
1. Make an Agenda and Stick to It
The practice manager can open the meeting by reviewing the agenda, which should list the topics to be covered that day. The agenda should leave time for a recap of the last staff meeting and any open items. Discussions that do not fall under the agenda should be addressed at another staff meeting or at a separate meeting designated for that topic.
2. Hold Meetings Regularly
Whether you hold them weekly, monthly or quarterly is not as important as doing it consistently. The length of the staff meeting will depend upon how often you hold them. Weekly meetings can be as short as 30 minutes whereas monthly meetings may take 90 minutes. What is important is that you get your staff used to attending the meetings and to make it a positive experience.
3. Get In and Get Out
Regardless of how often you hold staff meetings, be sure to stay on track and stick to business issues. Have a set start and end time, being respectful of everyone’s busy schedule. If the staff veers into topics that will take the meeting off schedule, it is the responsibility of the practice manager to step in and gently redirect the conversation.
4. Assign Tasks and Responsibilities
Your team needs to know what you expect of them. Before closing the meeting, assign tasks required for projects and be sure that each member knows the role they play. Set a time for the task to be completed or for a follow-up meeting to discuss the status. Every member must have a clear understanding of what he or she must do and the time frame within which they have to do it.
5. Assign Someone to Take Notes
Assign an individual to take notes and let them know what you expect the notes to include. The meeting notes should include action items that result from the meeting and should list the individuals who are responsible for each of those items. After the meeting, the notes can be distributed to staff and posted in the break room or other location visible to your entire team.
6. Take Time for Feedback
This is an excellent time for practice managers to listen to the thoughts and insights of staff members. Communication is a two-way street. Managers should be sure to pay attention to feedback. If staff members are reluctant to participate, use positive ways to engage members without calling them out. Ask questions, and if necessary, share an experience of your own to get the conversation rolling.
When it comes to medical practice staff meetings as a way to improve operations, our recommendation is Just Do It!
If you have questions about this topic or any other issues around the business of medicine, contact us via email or call us at 800-635-4040.