Managers Training: The Other Side of the Desk


When managing staff it is always good to give them feedback. Yearly appraisals are a good opportunity for this but why leave it once a year?

Here is a little exercise I used to carry out on my Reception staff.

Sit in your Reception area at the busiest time of day. Observe what is happening in your Reception area – see how the receptionist deal with patients how they cope with the busiest time of day and how they copes with the pressure that the busy time can bring.

Put yourself in the place of a patient – see it from their eyes and ask yourself how do they see our Surgery?

Have a note-book with you and take notes – but the most important part of the exercise is not only to pick up on any negative issues but also highlight the positive issues too.

What should you be looking for:

  1.  Is patient confidentiality being broken? Can people in the waiting room hear conversations from the Reception Desk? Patient confidentiality it vital in any Practice – and more so at the front desk.
    People in the waiting room can often hear conversations at the front desk. Make
    sure you staff use as little personal information as possible. Make sure that
    all your staff has the appropriate training on Patient Confidentiality. (see
    blog on A Quick Confidentiality Checklist. http://t.co/S3E94mU8)
  2.  How does the Receptionist interact with the patients? Do they have good eye contact? Are they polite and always helpful? It is easy to be short with patients when you have a queue of people at the front desk. Training in dealing with such times is vital – train your staff in dealing with such times –
    how to move patients on quickly without being rude or appearing that they are
    not caring. A smile and a thank you go a long way.
  3. How does the Receptionist answer the phone? Is it answered quickly enough? Does the Receptionist deal with the call efficiently? Always make sure that your staff answers the phone with good morning/good afternoon – the name of the surgery and their own name. Staff than give their name takes ownership of the call more than those that do not give their name. Again, if they are in ear shot of the waiting room it is important that they remember Patient Confidentiality.
  4. What are the other staff doing whilst the busy time is happening – are they helping out?  Often in Surgeries you have Receptionists at the front desk and others doing other things such as admin, typing, prescriptions – have you got a contingency plan for such busy times – if someone is busy on the front desk or on the phone do you have someone who can come and help out for short periods of time.
  5. Can you hear conversations between Receptionists behind the desk? When the quieter times come Receptionists often will have a little chat – but they should be made aware to be careful on what they are chatting about – I had an incident where 3 Receptionists were discussing a TV programme that was on the night before. They were discussing the programme about Breast Cancer and about a lady having terminal Cancer – they talked in-depth about the programme – talking about people who had lost relative/friends to the horrible illness. What there were not aware of was a patient was sitting listening to them in the waiting room that had just recently been diagnosed with Breast Cancer – she found the conversation very upsetting. Whilst I was doing
    this exercise I also heard Receptionists discussing an issue that could have
    upset a patient in the waiting room.
  6. Is the Reception area being kept clean and tidy? It is important to
    keep your reception area clean and tidy. Not just for a good impression but for
    Health and Safety reasons too – magazines, children’s toys left lying around on
    the floor is dangerous – someone could easily slip and fall.
  7. Are the patients kept waiting for long periods of time (often a problem in surgeries) This unfortunately happens in every surgery. Observe how your patients feel about it – and how your Receptionists deal with the patients if they come back to the desk to complain/enquire about their appointment running late. Do you have a policy on Doctors/Nurses running late?Do you have a surgery policy about Doctors/Nurses running late?

After you have done your observation bring them to your next staff meeting.

I always find the best way to approach this is to tell your staff that it was not an exercise to “catch them out” but an exercise to find if and where improvements can be made.

Always start with the positive notes you have:

  •  How well you thought the receptionist dealt with a certain patient/incident.
  • How good their telephone manner is.
  • How lovely and tidy the reception areas looks.
  • How pleased you were to see others helping each other at the
    busiest time.
  • How good they are with dealing with confidentiality.

Then

If there are any (and I am sure there will be) go onto the negative things that you found – discuss them and ask your team to give their opinion. Ask if there is a better way it can be dealt with. Include them in any decision-making. Include them in your findings.

Staff do not like change so I always used to say – we can change it, try it and if it does not work we can look at it again.  This always used to work.

Make minutes of the meeting – ensure that you record any changes that are going to be made and ensure that everyone has a copy – including those that were unable to attend the meeting.

Turn those negative into positives.

 

© 2011-2017 Reception Training all rights reserved
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Communication between the Surgery and the Hospital.


                          

As a Doctors Receptionist you will have a close working relationship with your local hospital(s). Working for both Doctors Surgeries and Hospitals I can say that their systems are  quite different. Not that anyone of them is right or wrong – it is just down to the type of work that they both do. But one thing that they both have in common is patients, and at the end of the day it is vital that you and their patients get the best possible treatment. So communication between your surgery and the hospital is vital for the wellbeing of your patients.

The surgery would often work closely with the outpatients department in the hospital, as well as the labs – checking up on patient results, sending in samples etc.

You at the surgery will all have come across the sample that has been sent in without the correct information on. The doctor or the receptionist has forgotten to enter the patient’s details correctly onto the specimen bottle – or perhaps the lab technician just would be unable to read the doctors handwriting although computers have come a long way in making this a lot easier to get right.

I have been “that” receptionist that receives the call from the lab saying that they cannot accept a sample as it was not labelled correctly – I  like many did not understand why the labs just could not take the details from me – after I had all the details of the patient in front of me.

The outcome of this would have resulted in the patient being called back into surgery to have another sample taken to be sent off to the labs again.

As I worked my way up to a Manager these incidents still occurred from time to time, I had receptionist complaining that they felt the hospital was being unreasonable when they offered to give over the patients details.

So, I arranged a visit to the local hospital. The first visit was to the laboratories – I brought along the supervisors from each team of Receptionists. We spent several hours with some very helpful members of the management team at the hospital and they went through the whole journey of when the sample reached the hospital via courier from us at the surgery.

It was amazing watching the process of these samples. What did surprise us was the amount of samples that they received in from each and every surgery in the local area – and some from outside the area too. This highlighted the importance of having each and every sample labelled correctly – and the awful outcome that could occur if one sample was given the wrong details.

Meeting the team at the laboratory was lovely; it was nice to put a face to the voice that for years we had only spoken to on the telephone. We both listened to each other’s points of view, and both sides admitted that there were definitely areas that they could improve on the main one better communication between the two units.

For us the biggest lesson learned was that each and every sample would be checked at the surgery before it was handed over to the courier before heading for the hospital. The Doctors were reminded regularly about the importance of completing the sample bottles correctly – and most importantly in handwriting that could easily be read by the laboratory technicians.

We discussed our visit at our next receptionists meeting. Because of the volume of receptionists that we had it was impossible for them all to visit the hospital, but it was important for them to learn from our visit. This was also something that I would discuss with every new receptionist.

A month after our visit I phoned and spoke to the member of staff that had been our guide for that afternoon and he also agreed that things had become a lot better, samples were being sent it properly  labelled, and if there were any queries it was a pleasure to phone and speak to someone who they knew. Our Supervisors also said that communication between the two units had improved a lot.

About 6 months later I organised a similar visit this time around the outpatients department. I took the supervisors along with me again, this time they were shown around the department and how the hospital dealt with a patient’s referral letter when it arrived from the surgery. Again, communication was greatly improved after this meeting.

So, much so we invited a couple of the ladies from the outpatients department to come and spend a few hours with us at the surgery, sitting with the secretaries and the receptionists seeing for themselves just how busy and hectic it was. They too found it an extremely helpful exercise.

They agreed that they never really fully appreciated how busy it was at the surgery, and again communication between the two departments was greatly improved.

The importance of being a good Supervisor or Manager?


Managerial effectiveness is a crucial element in the running of any Practice. But being a “good” manager is not just about hitting targets and working for the company – it is all about managing your staff in the most proactive way you can. Leadership is the only way forward. Here are some points that are vital to a Manager to help manage a good and happy team.

I will use the term “Manager” in this blog but this is also for anyone in a supervisory
role – being a Supervisor you are in a responsible role and lead a team and this is just as important as a managerial role.

LEADERSHIP

In every organisation there is a definite need for leadership. Whether it is a Team Leader, Supervisor or Manager they are vital to the practice. You will need to be goal orientated, self-motivated and possess boundless energy and have to learn how to exert influence effectively in all directions – upwards, downwards and sideways. You will need to show strong leadership both to your bosses and the staff.

You will need to earn respect from your staff and your Partners – and that comes with
time. You need to be seen to be fair, treating everyone with respect and not show any signs of favouritism.

Strict neutrality is also necessary in your dealings with staff. It is hard to maintain a strictly unbiased approach if you are particularly friendly with one or more members of staff.

The role of a Manager can sometimes be very lonely.

TEAM BUILDING

Team building is vital for the whole practice.

Communication plays a big part in Team Building. Get to know your team where possible as individuals. Get to know their strengths and weaknesses, their goals and their hopes. These will help when it comes to yearly appraisals. By knowing your staff and their abilities you are able to place them in the job best suited to them. You might have someone who has great people skills – they will be ideal to put on the front desk, and someone who has great computer skills yet not so good on people skills, they would be great at carrying out admin and computer work. By placing these people in these roles make for happier staff – they are doing something they enjoy  rather than just doing a job given to them.

You need all types of staff to have a team. Someone that is has a great telephone manner, someone who has great people skills and someone who has great organisational skills – use them to the best of their ability.

Team Building is such an important part of your job.

MOTIVATING STAFF

Motivating staff is an essential part of any manger’s work. Most staff seeks not only an
interesting job but usually like to feel that what they are doing is worthwhile and that they have job security. They need to be able to respect their boss(es) and have the respect back. Offer staff opportunities – training, learning new skills, and promotion wherever possible.

Staff are more likely to be motivated if they receive recognition and praise when it is deserved. This can be given to individual members of the team or to the team as a whole.

If you are praising an individual do not do it in front of the other members of the team. This can often lead to embarrasment on the member of staff involved and also cause bad feelings amongst others. Call them to your office and give the praise – if the praise is to the whole team give this at a team meeting – and ensure that staff that are not at the meeting receive the praise. You could verbally give the praise followed up by a memo to all concerned.

Staff will work better if the management of the practice is not only consistent by also seen to be fair.

STAFF MEETINGS

Finding time to have staff meetings is never easy. Especially in Practice as many of the
staff are part-time workers and therefore you never having everyone there at the same time.

Some practices have staff meetings in the evenings; some have “breakfast” meetings before their surgery opens. Others have staff meetings during the lunch break. One thing is for sure if you have a big team of receptionists you will never have everyone attend the meeting. Look at the best times that staff can attend. Send out a memo asking them what they would prefer. Try to rotate the meetings every time so everyone gets a fair change of attending the next one.

But the important thing is to keep staff informed if they are unable to attend. For me the best way was to have each and every meeting has minutes taken and copies sent out to all staff – those that were present and those that could not attend also copy in your manager and the staff Partner. Always keep a copy of every meeting on file for future reference.

It is important to give staff plenty of notice when the next meeting is going to take place. A good suggestion is to agree the next date at the meeting you are holding. This way you can add it to the minutes.

If you have a lunchtime meeting a good idea is to provide lunch – perhaps a nice kind rep would be happy to help.

As a Practice you will have to decide if overtime is going to be paid and at what rate or if they can have time in lieu for attending the meeting.

Let all staff have an opportunity of adding items to the agenda. Let them feel that they are part of the meeting.

In my experience most staff are happy to attend meetings if they can see the point of it and a positive outcome with direct action being taken if appropriate.

If you learn to hold successful meetings, you should be guaranteed a good attendance.

STAFF TRAINING

Staff training is vital – it is essential for every Practice to be able to move forward. Well
trained staff are confident staff.

Invest in good training. It does not always have to cost a fortune. There are several options that you can take when it comes to staff training. You can either send individual staff on training courses outside the practice – your local PCT (Primary Care Trust) usually run excellent courses and many of these are free.

You can attend courses and then bring them back to the and train staff.

You can have an outside organisation come into the Practice and train several staff at the same time – this can be some similar to a staff meeting when it can be done during a lunchtime. Again Reps are often able to help in the cost of training.

Ensure that you log all training that staff has been on – keep a training log of their individual training skills in their staff files.

Staff Appraisals

Appraisals are a two-way process. If you need to explain to staff that one of the reasons
why you wish to hold individual appraisals is because you wish to learn from them, how they feel about their particular job and their role in the practice, this should ensure that they begin to feel less apprehensive about the whole process.

For some reason staff always see appraisals as a negative thing. Try to change that.

The appraisal interview should provide a forum for feedback from the employee as well as a chance for the manager to praise past efforts and offer constructive criticism on ways in which improvements can take place. Training needs can be identified and methods of monitoring development can be set up.

It is important that you listen to their views and recommendations and, where possible implement changes that they have suggested. But do not make promises that you will not be able to keep.

And most important

COMMUNICATION

Communication is vital. Staff needs to be kept informed in anything that might involve them. Lack of communication is a good way to start rumours and bad feelings amongst staff. Keep your staff informed of necessary changes within their jobs or within the Practice.

Talk to your staff, feedback when and where possible – staff meetings are good for this as
are memo’s and talking to staff wherever possible.

And remember – there is no “I” in TEAM

                                     

The importance of being a good Supervisor or Manager?


Managerial effectiveness is a crucial element in the running of any Practice. But being a “good” manager is not just about hitting targets and working for the company – it is all about managing your staff in the most proactive way you can. Leadership is the only way forward. Here are some points that are vital to a Manager to help manage a good and happy team.

I will use the term “Manager” in this blog but this is also for anyone in a supervisory
role – being a Supervisor you are in a responsible role and lead a team and this is just as important as a managerial role.

LEADERSHIP

In every organisation there is a definite need for leadership. Whether it is a Team Leader, Supervisor or Manager they are vital to the practice. You will need to be goal orientated, self-motivated and possess boundless energy and have to learn how to exert influence effectively in all directions – upwards, downwards and sideways. You will need to show strong leadership both to your bosses and the staff.

You will need to earn respect from your staff and your Partners – and that comes with
time. You need to be seen to be fair, treating everyone with respect and not show any signs of favouritism.

Strict neutrality is also necessary in your dealings with staff. It is hard to maintain a strictly unbiased approach if you are particularly friendly with one or more members of staff.

The role of a Manager can sometimes be very lonely.

TEAM BUILDING

Team building is vital for the whole practice.

Communication plays a big part in Team Building. Get to know your team where possible as individuals. Get to know their strengths and weaknesses, their goals and their hopes. These will help when it comes to yearly appraisals. By knowing your staff and their bilities you are able to place them in the job best suited to them. You might have someone who has great people skills – they will be ideal to put on the front desk, and someone who has great computer skills yet not so good on people skills, they would be great at carrying out admin and computer work. By placing these people in these roles make for happier staff – they are doing something they enjoy  rather than just doing a job given to them.

You need all types of staff to have a team. Someone that is has a great telephone manner, someone who has great people skills and someone who has great organisational skills – use them to the best of their ability.

Team Building is such a important part of your job.

MOTIVATING STAFF

Motivating staff is an essential part of any manger’s work. Most staff seeks not only an
interesting job but usually like to feel that what they are doing is worthwhile and that they have job security. They need to be able to respect their boss(es) and have the respect back. Offer staff opportunities – training, learning new skills, and promotion wherever possible.

Staff are more likely to be motivated if they receive recognition and praise when it is deserved. This can be given to individual members of the team or to the team as a whole.

If you are praising an individual do not do it in front of the other members of the team. Call them to your office and give the praise – if the praise is to the whole team give this at a team meeting – and ensure that staff that are not at the meeting receive the praise. You could verbally give the praise followed up by a memo to all concerned.

Staff will work better if the management of the practice is not only consistent by also seen to be fair.

STAFF MEETINGS

Finding time to have staff meetings is never easy. Especially in Practice as many of the
staff are part-time workers and therefore you never having everyone there at the same time.

Some practices have staff meetings in the evenings; some have “breakfast” meetings before the surgery opens. Others have staff meetings during the lunch break. One thing is for sure if you have a big team of receptionists you will never have everyone attend the meeting. Look at the best times that staff can attend. Send out a memo asking them what they would prefer. Try to rotate the meetings every time so everyone gets a fair change of attending the next one.

But the important thing is to keep staff informed if they are unable to attend. For me the best way was to have each and every meeting has minutes taken and copies sent out to all staff – those that were present and those that could not attend also copy in your manager and the staff Partner. Always keep a copy of every meeting on file for future reference.

It is important to give staff plenty of notice when the next meeting is going to take place. A good suggestion is to agree the next date at the meeting you are holding. This way you can add it to the minutes.

If you have a lunchtime meeting a good idea is to provide lunch – perhaps a nice kind rep would be happy to help.

As a Practice you will have to decide if overtime is going to be paid and at what rate.

Let all staff have an opportunity of adding items to the agenda.

In my experience most staff are happy to attend meetings if they can see the point of it and a positive outcome with direction action being taken if appropriate.

If you learn to hold successful meetings, you should be guaranteed a good attendance.

STAFF TRAINING

Staff training is vital – it is essential for every Practice to be able to move forward. Well
trained staff are confident staff.

Invest in good training. It does not always have to cost a fortune. There are several options that you can take when it comes to staff training. You can either send individual staff on training courses outside the practice – your local PCT (Primary Care Trust) usually run excellent courses and many of these are free.

You can attend courses and then bring them back to the and train staff.

You can have an outside organisation come into the Practice and train several staff at the same time – this can be some similar to a staff meeting when it can be done during a lunchtime. Again Reps are often able to help in the cost of training.

Ensure that you log all training that staff has been on – keep a training log of their individual training skills in their staff files.

Staff Appraisals

Appraisals are a two-way process. If you need to explain to staff that one of the reasons
why you wish to hold individual appraisals is because you wish to learn from them, how they feel about their particular job and their role in the practice, this should ensure that they begin to feel less apprehensive about the whole process.

For some reason staff always see appraisals as a negative thing. Try to change that.

The appraisal interview should provide a forum for feedback from the employee as well as a chance for the manager to praise past efforts and offer constructive criticism on ways in which improvements can take place. Training needs can be identified and methods of monitoring development can be set up.

It is important that you listen to their views and recommendations and, where possible implement changes that they have suggested. But do not make promises that you will not be able to keep.

And most important

COMMUNICATION

Communication is vital. Staff needs to be kept informed in anything that might involve them. Lack of communication is a good way to start rumours and bad feelings amongst staff. Keep your staff informed of necessary changes within their jobs or within the Practice.

Talk to your staff, feedback when and where possible – staff meetings are good for this as
are memo’s and talking to staff wherever possible.

And remember – there is no “I” in TEAM

                                     

Receptionists Training: What NOT to say.


When working within a team it is vital to work with and support your fellow workers.

A good “work person” never blames his/her tools – and your team are your tool.

Here are some things you should NEVER say to a patient visitor or another member of your team.

  • You’ll have to………………………………..
  • Those people in …………………………… don’t know what they are doing.
  • That sounds like another problem we have been having
  • You shouldn’t have
  • YOU! (In its accusatory form)
  • It wasn’t me who did that it was …………………………………. (and name a person)

If a patient, customer or member of staff approach you and you identify a problem that you are unable to sort out – seek the advice or help from another member of your team or speak to your Team Leader/Supervisor or Manager – do not put the blame on someone else.  Support your fellow team members

and remember there is no  “I” in TEAM

 

Managers Training: The Other Side of the Desk


When managing staff it is always good to give them feedback. Yearly appraisals are a good opportunity for this but why leave it once a year?

Here is a little exercise I used to carry out on my Reception staff.

Sit in your Reception area at the busiest time of day. Observe what is happening in your Reception area – see how the receptionist deal with patients how they cope with the busiest time of day and how they copes with the pressure that the busy time can bring.

Put yourself in the place of a patient – see it from their eyes and ask yourself how do they see our Surgery?

Have a note-book with you and take notes – but the most important part of the exercise is not only to pick up on any negative issues but also highlight the positive issues too.

What should you be looking for:

  1.  Is patient confidentiality being broken? Can people in the waiting room hear conversations from the Reception Desk? Patient confidentiality it vital in any Practice – and more so at the front desk.
    People in the waiting room can often hear conversations at the front desk. Make
    sure you staff use as little personal information as possible. Make sure that
    all your staff has the appropriate training on Patient Confidentiality. (see
    blog on A Quick Confidentiality Checklist. http://t.co/S3E94mU8)
  2.  How does the Receptionist interact with the patients? Do they have good eye contact? Are they polite and always helpful? It is easy to be short with patients when you have a queue of people at the front desk. Training in dealing with such times is vital – train your staff in dealing with such times –
    how to move patients on quickly without being rude or appearing that they are
    not caring. A smile and a thank you go a long way.
  3. How does the Receptionist answer the phone? Is it answered quickly enough? Does the Receptionist deal with the call efficiently? Always make sure that your staff answers the phone with good morning/good afternoon – the name of the surgery and their own name. Staff than give their name takes ownership of the call more than those that do not give their name. Again, if they are in ear shot of the waiting room it is important that they remember Patient Confidentiality.
  4. What are the other staff doing whilst the busy time is happening – are they helping out?  Often in Surgeries you have Receptionists at the front desk and others doing other things such as admin, typing, prescriptions – have you got a contingency plan for such busy times – if someone is busy on the front desk or on the phone do you have someone who can come and help out for short periods of time.
  5. Can you hear conversations between Receptionists behind the desk? When the quieter times come Receptionists often will have a little chat – but they should be made aware to be careful on what they are chatting about – I had an incident where 3 Receptionists were discussing a TV programme that was on the night before. They were discussing the programme about Breast Cancer and about a lady having terminal Cancer – they talked in-depth about the programme – talking about people who had lost relative/friends to the horrible illness. What there were not aware of was a patient was sitting listening to them in the waiting room that had just recently been diagnosed with Breast Cancer – she found the conversation very upsetting. Whilst I was doing
    this exercise I also heard Receptionists discussing an issue that could have
    upset a patient in the waiting room.
  6. Is the Reception area being kept clean and tidy? It is important to
    keep your reception area clean and tidy. Not just for a good impression but for
    Health and Safety reasons too – magazines, children’s toys left lying around on
    the floor is dangerous – someone could easily slip and fall.
  7. Are the patients kept waiting for long periods of time (often a problem in surgeries) This unfortunately happens in every surgery. Observe how your patients feel about it – and how your Receptionists deal with the patients if they come back to the desk to complain/enquire about their appointment running late. Do you have a policy on Doctors/Nurses running late?Do you have a surgery policy about Doctors/Nurses running late?

After you have done your observation bring them to your next staff meeting.

I always find the best way to approach this is to tell your staff that it was not an exercise to “catch them out” but an exercise to find if and where improvements can be made.

Always start with the positive notes you have:

  •  How well you thought the receptionist dealt with a certain patient/incident.
  • How good their telephone manner is.
  • How lovely and tidy the reception areas looks.
  • How pleased you were to see others helping each other at the
    busiest time.
  • How good they are with dealing with confidentiality.

Then

If there are any (and I am sure there will be) go onto the negative things that you found – discuss them and ask your team to give their opinion. Ask if there is a better way it can be dealt with. Include them in any decision-making. Include them in your findings.

Staff do not like change so I always used to say – we can change it, try it and if it does not work we can look at it again.  This always used to work.

Make minutes of the meeting – ensure that you record any changes that are going to be made and ensure that everyone has a copy – including those that were unable to attend the meeting.

Turn those negative into positives.

The importance of being a good Supervisor or Manager?


Managerial effectiveness is a crucial element in the running of any Practice. But being a “good” manager is not just about hitting targets and working for the company – it is all about managing your staff in the most proactive way you can. Leadership is the only way forward. Here are some points that are vital to a Manager to help manage a good and happy team.

I will use the term “Manager” in this blog but this is also for anyone in a supervisory
role – being a Supervisor you are in a responsible role and lead a team and this is just as important as a managerial role.

LEADERSHIP

In every organisation there is a definite need for leadership. Whether it is a Team Leader, Supervisor or Manager they are vital to the practice. You will need to be goal orientated, self-motivated and possess boundless energy and have to learn how to exert influence effectively in all directions – upwards, downwards and sideways. You will need to show strong leadership both to your bosses and the staff.

You will need to earn respect from your staff and your Partners – and that comes with
time. You need to be seen to be fair, treating everyone with respect and not show any signs of favouritism.

Strict neutrality is also necessary in your dealings with staff. It is hard to maintain a strictly unbiased approach if you are particularly friendly with one or more members of staff.

The role of a Manager can sometimes be very lonely.

TEAM BUILDING

Team building is vital for the whole practice.

Communication plays a big part in Team Building. Get to know your team where possible as individuals. Get to know their strengths and weaknesses, their goals and their hopes. These will help when it comes to yearly appraisals. By knowing your staff and their bilities you are able to place them in the job best suited to them. You might have someone who has great people skills – they will be ideal to put on the front desk, and someone who has great computer skills yet not so good on people skills, they would be great at carrying out admin and computer work. By placing these people in these roles make for happier staff – they are doing something they enjoy  rather than just doing a job given to them.

You need all types of staff to have a team. Someone that is has a great telephone manner, someone who has great people skills and someone who has great organisational skills – use them to the best of their ability.

Team Building is such a important part of your job.

MOTIVATING STAFF

Motivating staff is an essential part of any manger’s work. Most staff seeks not only an
interesting job but usually like to feel that what they are doing is worthwhile and that they have job security. They need to be able to respect their boss(es) and have the respect back. Offer staff opportunities – training, learning new skills, and promotion wherever possible.

Staff are more likely to be motivated if they receive recognition and praise when it is deserved. This can be given to individual members of the team or to the team as a whole.

If you are praising an individual do not do it in front of the other members of the team. Call them to your office and give the praise – if the praise is to the whole team give this at a team meeting – and ensure that staff that are not at the meeting receive the praise. You could verbally give the praise followed up by a memo to all concerned.

Staff will work better if the management of the practice is not only consistent by also seen to be fair.

STAFF MEETINGS

Finding time to have staff meetings is never easy. Especially in Practice as many of the
staff are part-time workers and therefore you never having everyone there at the same time.

Some practices have staff meetings in the evenings; some have “breakfast” meetings before the surgery opens. Others have staff meetings during the lunch break. One thing is for sure if you have a big team of receptionists you will never have everyone attend the meeting. Look at the best times that staff can attend. Send out a memo asking them what they would prefer. Try to rotate the meetings every time so everyone gets a fair change of attending the next one.

But the important thing is to keep staff informed if they are unable to attend. For me the best way was to have each and every meeting has minutes taken and copies sent out to all staff – those that were present and those that could not attend also copy in your manager and the staff Partner. Always keep a copy of every meeting on file for future reference.

It is important to give staff plenty of notice when the next meeting is going to take place. A good suggestion is to agree the next date at the meeting you are holding. This way you can add it to the minutes.

If you have a lunchtime meeting a good idea is to provide lunch – perhaps a nice kind rep would be happy to help.

As a Practice you will have to decide if overtime is going to be paid and at what rate.

Let all staff have an opportunity of adding items to the agenda.

In my experience most staff are happy to attend meetings if they can see the point of it and a positive outcome with direction action being taken if appropriate.

If you learn to hold successful meetings, you should be guaranteed a good attendance.

STAFF TRAINING

Staff training is vital – it is essential for every Practice to be able to move forward. Well
trained staff are confident staff.

Invest in good training. It does not always have to cost a fortune. There are several options that you can take when it comes to staff training. You can either send individual staff on training courses outside the practice – your local PCT (Primary Care Trust) usually run excellent courses and many of these are free.

You can attend courses and then bring them back to the and train staff.

You can have an outside organisation come into the Practice and train several staff at the same time – this can be some similar to a staff meeting when it can be done during a lunchtime. Again Reps are often able to help in the cost of training.

Ensure that you log all training that staff has been on – keep a training log of their individual training skills in their staff files.

Staff Appraisals

Appraisals are a two-way process. If you need to explain to staff that one of the reasons
why you wish to hold individual appraisals is because you wish to learn from them, how they feel about their particular job and their role in the practice, this should ensure that they begin to feel less apprehensive about the whole process.

For some reason staff always see appraisals as a negative thing. Try to change that.

The appraisal interview should provide a forum for feedback from the employee as well as a chance for the manager to praise past efforts and offer constructive criticism on ways in which improvements can take place. Training needs can be identified and methods of monitoring development can be set up.

It is important that you listen to their views and recommendations and, where possible implement changes that they have suggested. But do not make promises that you will not be able to keep.

And most important

COMMUNICATION

Communication is vital. Staff needs to be kept informed in anything that might involve them. Lack of communication is a good way to start rumours and bad feelings amongst staff. Keep your staff informed of necessary changes within their jobs or within the Practice.

Talk to your staff, feedback when and where possible – staff meetings are good for this as
are memo’s and talking to staff wherever possible.

And remember – there is no “I” in TEAM