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Involving staff in marketing generates good ideas and sense of teamwork

An office manager looking for ways to encourage a team atmosphere decided to ask staff to help market the Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) practice where they all work.

The goal was to help staff see that everyone plays a key role in the four-physician, 22-staff practice.

The office manager began by holding a meeting focused on the important role everyone plays in marketing the practice. It also focused on the fact that the way each person treats patients is reflected in positive or negative reports to the primary care physicians, which determines how many referrals the office sees.

She then gave staff an assignment for the next meeting: bring in ideas for marketing the practice.

Recognizing the importance of their individual positions, staff came back, not only with ideas, but with good ones.

The receptionist, for example, recommended getting T-shirts made with the practice logo on the front. But there was more. She also recommended the back of the shirts feature the picture of a nose with “Company E-N-T nose about adult and pediatric care” written above. Below it was a list of conditions the practice deals with such as snoring, sleep apnea, and hearing problems.

The office had the shirts made and everybody now wears them on Fridays. They are white with blue print that matches the pants staff wear and it’s a look both staff and patients like, so much so that the office plans to order more shirts to give their pediatric patients.

Another good idea came from the audiologist. She suggested chocolate noses and ears be given to the primary care offices with a note attached saying, “Your patients will find our practice ear-resistible.”

To encourage ideas, the office manager gave a $25 gift card to every employee whose idea got an oh-we-like-that response from the group. And she plans to continue the idea-generating meetings—again with the gift card rewards. She says seeing their ideas implemented instills a sense of pride in staff and helps them recognize that their role is critical to the practice.

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