Studies show that staff consider opportunities for professional growth to be one of the preferred forms of recognition for a job well done. Best of all, everyone in the office can benefit if you send one auxiliary to an educational seminar. Ask the designated staff member to attend and then present a mini workshop on what s/he learns. This helps the employee to take ownership in educating the rest of the team on a new procedure or policy that can be implemented to improve the practice. Moreover, it enables the practice to cross-train team members.
Similarly, recognize team members who offer not only ideas but also plans for how to carry those ideas out, particularly if they improve practice systems and service to patients. Understandably, not all of the ideas will yield major results – but you want the team to feel that their suggestions are valued, and in many cases they bring a perspective for improving specific areas that you, as the leader, simply don’t have. It’s easy for some staff, as well as doctors, to say, “that won’t work,” thereby shutting down creative thinking and problem solving. Instead, make it part of your practice culture to reward and welcome creative problem solving.