Practice Management communication is the key to a healthy relationship between employees, clients, owners and practice managers. As a practice manager, you have the important role of managing a business as well as its people. Use these communication tips for a happier, healthier workplace:
How to build your team
Staff are a key foundation of any business. Building a great team is vital to your practice’s success.
When hiring new staff, it’s important to consider the following:
- Ensure you are hiring a diverse range of people from all backgrounds, ages and skill sets
- The strengths and weaknesses of the existing team and the potential new hire
- What holes in the team need filling?
- Personality and cultural fit. Will this person bring value to the company culture as well as valuable skills?
Keeping clients happy
Communication is important to keep your clients happy. Being transparent with pricing structures and treatment options helps to build trust with clients. Seek feedback from clients on how you can improve as well as what areas they like about the practice, so you can keep doing what works.
Ensure your staff are well trained on the importance of customer service, and that they go above and beyond with each interaction. Consider rewarding regular and valued customers with a loyalty discount or something more personal, like a card or text on their birthday.
Managing your staff
Managing a business as well as a team takes dedication, but with the right skills, you can juggle both successfully. When managing staff, it’s important to:
- Ask your employees how they like to be managed. Do they prefer to work more autonomously or have regular check-ins? Is written or verbal communication better for them?
- Hold regular performance reviews, so your staff know where they are excelling and where to make improvements. Use this as an opportunity to put professional development goals in place.
- Understand differences. Your employees are human, which means they’re all unique. Get to know them personally and understand that what works with one staff member, might not be the same for everyone.
- Be flexible. Where possible, try and meet your staff members half-way when it comes to annual leave requests or working arrangements.
- Remember that happy staff will result in better productivity and an efficient practice.
Expectations and Boundaries
Setting clear expectations is vital for staff performance, client happiness and owner satisfaction.
Your employees need to know the value of the business, the policies, and guidelines of the practice, so they know what you expect.
- Provide quality induction and training to all employees, even if they join the team with extensive skills. This way, everyone is doing procedures the same way.
- Make sure your employees know who they report to and who they can go to for advice or problems.
- Ensure that issues are addressed immediately and not bottled up. In meetings and reviews, remember that honesty is the best policy and will lead to your employees and clients respecting you more.
- Don’t micromanage – give your staff the skills they need to perform the job well and have trust in their abilities.
When it comes to clients and owners, be realistic with what you can achieve before promising anything. It’s better to under promise and over-deliver than vice versa. Set guidelines and have a healthy work-life balance. Make sure clients and owners know they can’t contact you out of business hours except in an emergency.
Using communication to improve staff morale
A happy team is a productive team. Building team morale is incredibly important as it cultivates respect and rapport between employees. You can keep it as simple as having a group chat or intranet forum for employees to communicate or providing complimentary fruit. Wider ideas could include social nights, group lunches or celebrations like going to the movies or bowling.
Meeting performance targets
As a practice manager, you will have targets and benchmarks to meet, as set by the practice owner. It’s important that these targets are realistic and your progress is regularly reviewed so you can keep on track and make changes if necessary.
- Seek monthly, quarterly or annual feedback from employees and the business owner and take their comments on board, where applicable.
- Consider using visuals such as charts, project plans or wall calendars in the staff area to keep everyone informed and accountable.
Being a successful practice manager requires wearing many hats at once and is an incredibly rewarding career. Gaining extra knowledge and strategies through a Diploma of Practice Management (HLT57715) will help you to use better communication skills and build healthier relationships at work.