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Don’t let another practice steal your staff

By Dr. Steve M. Cohen

The old saying that “the grass is always greener” is actually a fairly accurate description of one aspect of human nature. And this trait almost certainly applies to members of your office. As other organizations grow and the need for professional staff increases, openings will be filled by stealing the best from offices. It’s frustrating, but it’s reality.

Some managers react with a negative strategy. They load up staff with work and stress, while providing few motivations, recognition, and appreciation. These managers have done so because they may assume their employees have no place else to go.

This has brought about so much resentment and disdain that statistics indicate much of current workforce are ready to leave their employers as soon as a viable alternative job opportunity presents itself.

To avoid this loss, managers need to establish a strategy that is aligned with a culture of recognizing employees as far more than interchangeable functionaries. By seeing and treating employees with respect and appreciation for their engagement, retaining them will be far more likely.

Related to this is an emphasis on two-way communications with staff members. That’s never easy for anyone, and for busy managers, time can be among their most valuable commodities. But even a few minutes each day to foster better communications with their staff can pay big dividends.

There are other office issues that communications can help. A respected organizational management consultant notes that only about 25 percent of employees are engaged, and the rest are disengaged and apathetic. But when management is accessible and sharing its most valuable commodity—time and attention—more people can be encouraged to join the engaged group.

This is important for several reasons. The engaged group is an extension of management, as they are the ambassadors, the role models, and can be counted upon to consistently produce at the highest levels. Consider this: Without spending a penny more on payroll, imagine what it would be like to have 60 percent to 80 percent of your staff engaged and none disengaged. The potential is staggering.

If good staff members are denied the ability to have some kind of legitimate say in what happens in their work’s orbit, they will become apathetic. The logic behind this attitude is, “Nobody seems to care what I have to say, so why should I care about what they (management) are saying?” You may have some unhealthy employees for whom nothing will be enough, but they are another issue. Take care of the healthy staff, almost certainly a majority, and your organization will see a benefit. You’ll spend less time interviewing for replacements and those on board will bring better results.

Dr. Steve Cohen is Principal and Lead HR Consultant at HR Solutions: On Call, an advisory service for medical practices and other small businesses.









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