Employees work most efficiently when they believe in the mission of their company. When they trust their leaders. When they know what they are working on is meaningful. Changing your practice’s office culture isn’t a matter of free pizza on Fridays, increased wages or random pats on the back — although these don’t hurt. Rather, those from the front desk to those chasing account receivables are hungry for leadership.

Are you leading? What example, as the practice owner and physician, are you setting? A few simple ways to change your practice’s culture for the better include the following.

1. Set a mission statement

Communicate it effectively to your staff and patients. Something as simple as, “We strive to provide the best patient care” works, but try to bring in something even more personalized to your practice.

2. Give your managers a chance

Developing systems to champion quality work takes time. Support your managers’ decisions in front of their employees. Recognize longevity in your office administration can be your biggest asset.

3. Make quality improvement a top priority

When an employee or patient speaks to you about your work, restate the practice’s mission. Encourage employees to brainstorm workflow changes that improve the quality of their work.

4. Make data-driven decisions

By removing emotion from the equation, your staff will understand and support your statistically-based decisions, whether this is when formulating an annual increase in salaries, or adding an additional procedure room suite to your practice.

5. Look towards constant improvement

When it seems your office culture has made a turn for the worse and cannot be corrected, do not be afraid to terminate toxic employees. Staff members who misrepresent the practice with unethical behavior should be fired. This set of ethics is set by you — the practice owner and physician. Communicate your expectations, be fair and remind your staff you are holding yourself to the same standards.

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