Teamwork is crucial to the overall success of your practice. When a medical team is working cohesively, the business operations run more smoothly, employee morale and job satisfaction are strengthened and most importantly, patient outcomes are improved. Harmonious teams also equate effective communication channels between providers, patients and their caregivers. This ultimately reduces the likelihood of medical errors, near misses and other negative outcomes not to mention contributes to the financial success of your practice.
If the employees and providers at your facility are struggling to work effectively together, it’s time to step back and evaluate whether you’re creating a culture that is conducive to teamwork.
Are you holding recurring staff meetings?
Many clinics and hospital departments hesitate to pull revenue-generating providers away from their jobs for meetings. Although it may be dreaded by your employees, and it seems to hit your bank account, it’s important for every facility to have recurring staff meetings that include the entire team, from administration to the providers. By holding regular meetings, healthcare executives and leaders create a culture of transparency and the group feels more encouraged to build a relationship with one another. Regular meetings keep the group informed and up to date; it makes them feel included in the decision making process with organizational and departmental happenings and provides them with an opportunity to give feedback, share ideas and goals, and ask questions.
Are roles and responsibilities being clearly defined?
“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” but do the individuals on the team know what their part is? In order for a team to work well together, it is imperative that every member has a clear and concise understanding of what each others’ roles and responsibilities are and how they benefit the group individually; it’s up to leadership to clearly define such, as well as communicate what their expectations are for the team. This will eliminate confusion and help each team member focus on their respective tasks to achieve shared goals. In addition, it creates a level of trust between the team members.
Do you have a system of processes in place?
While healthcare providers are trained by universities when it comes to their medical knowledge, you will still encounter inconsistencies in how providers practice and certainly a lack of understanding as to how this medical training should be best utilized in your particular facility. Along with having a clear understanding of each team members’ roles and responsibilities, there should also be a system of processes in place that is clearly outlined and understood by the group. This is important for all healthcare teams, regardless of whether it is a critical care unit or a team at primary care practice. Having structured processes in place will create a shared understanding for how the group will handle not only day to day tasks but certain situations and problems that may arise as well. This will again ensure everyone knows their role and how they’re expected to perform, as well as help to prevent medical errors and injuries to patients.
How are you recognizing and rewarding achievements?
Often, healthcare providers are rewarded with performance based raises and bonuses. Though this might be a part of how you reward your employees, if you want to cultivate a teamwork environment, it’s important to also recognize and reward the team as a whole for their achievements rather than always calling out individuals for a job well done. This will encourage the group to continue working hard together to achieve shared goals. Understand that monetary rewards are not the best way to incentivize people either, so it’s best to include non-monetary incentives for the team like public recognition, more autonomy, etc. Celebrate successes in a way that will bring the team together as well, such as with a group lunch, a happy hour, etc.; something that will encourage them to cultivate a stronger relationship with each other outside of the facility.
Are you exuding effective leadership?
“Be the change, if you want to see the change.” As a leader, you cannot expect your employees to work together as a unit if you yourself are not actively participating as a member of the team. To foster a teamwork atmosphere, you must serve as a role model for such. Are you being an open communicator and exhibiting honesty and integrity in your activities? Are you building morale by instilling a sense of confidence and trust in your employees? Are you actively working to build a relationship with your providers by listening to their needs and providing guidance? Are you confident in your role and abilities as a superior?
Teamwork is vital to the success of your practice and the safety of the patients. How do you encourage a teamwork atmosphere at your facility?