As a Surgery Team Leader or Supervisor it is important that you keep your team well-informed and the best way to do this is holding regular staff meetings.
I suggest holding meetings to suit a majority of your team. You will never please everyone. Surgeries hold meetings at lunchtime, some have them in the evening and some have even be known to have them before the surgery opens a Breakfast meeting. It is what suits your practice and team the best. But try to be fair to everyone and perhaps change the days and times so everyone has a fair chance of attending.
Some surgeries close at lunchtime and this is an ideal time to hold a meeting. But you will need to have the meeting closed before the surgery is due to be open again.
Some surgeries have meetings at lunchtime but do not close the surgery. Usually one or two staff members remain on reception and miss the meeting – but this is rotated and everyone has the opportunity of attending future meetings.
It is important that everyone in the team has the opportunity to add to the agenda and for everyone to see the agenda before the meeting.
Minutes of the meeting are important, not only for staff but also for the Team Leader/Supervisor, as often the minutes are referred to maybe to clarify something that was agreed.
Key purposes of Team Meetings are:
- To inform your team of what is happening in the Practice and why.
- To encourage teamwork.
- To improve motivation
- To enable everyone to recognise how their job fits in with the Practice goals.
- To improve on communication
- To reduce misunderstandings and diffuse grapevine chat.
- To reduce any fears – especially fear of change.
Key Principles of Team Briefing
Team briefing is:
- Face to face
- Undertaken by the Team Leader/Supervisor
- Held on a regular basis weekly/2 weekly/monthly
- About issues relevant to the team
- An opportunity to ask questions and give feedback.
The Team Leader’s / Supervisors Role
- To ensure that the meetings are held on the date and day and time agreed.
- To ensure that the venue/room is fit for the purpose.
- To prepare for the meeting
- To support the Practice
- To ensure that the meeting runs to time.
- To ensure that communication is
- To take control and hold the interest of everyone at the meeting.
- To listen carefully, to question raised.
- Give everyone the opportunity to give feedback
- To find out any answers that cannot be answered at the meeting and to respond to the people who have raised the questions – remembering to add them to the next meeting minutes.
- To keep a record of the minutes on file.
What to include in the meeting
- Progress – what has worked well since your last meeting.
- New (and changes) to Practice Policies and Procedures
- Points for action
- Plans for the Practice
- Priorities coming up in the next month/quarter/year
- Praise your team
- Welcome the team to the meeting
- Remind them of the purpose of the meeting
- Outline the key headings to be covered first.
- Prioritise: Give the most important points first.
- Do not assume that everyone has the same understanding of terms used (especially new staff)
- Support Management/Partners/Practice by the tone of your voice.
- Invite questions, comments, views, reactions and suggestions.
- Control the pace.
- Agree the date/time of the next meeting so this can be added to the minutes
- Finish on time by ending on a positive note.
- Always thank everyone for attending the meeting.
- Do’s and Don’t’s of TEAM Meetings
- DO DON’T
- Prepare Avoid questions
- Prioritise Read from your notes too much
- Admit if you don’t know Guess at answers
- Encourage feedback Exaggerate
- Use examples Be disloyal
- Check for understanding Assume they know
- Anticipate questions Give mixed messages
Minutes of the Meeting
- Have the notes typed up and distributed as soon as possible. Within 2 days of the meeting is a good guideline.
- Ensure that any member of the team that could not attend the meeting gets a copy of the minutes.
- Let your Partners have a copy of the minutes – it is good for them to see what is happening in Reception.
- Retain a copy for future reference.
Having staff meetings is a good way of sharing information with the staff and giving them the opportunity of asking questions.
Invite your Practice Manager or Assistant Practice Manager along to some of your meetings.
At a surgery I managed we often used to have one of the partners sit in on the meeting – they would sit at the back of the room, and just observe. They all agreed they found this really useful and certainly appreciated what the Reception staff have to do.