Louise Bone explores how to make sure you start 2021 with a strong team who are all pulling in the same direction.
This year has been tough, and one that many people will probably be glad to see the back of. And who can blame them?
But among all the challenges, and the terrible sadness inflicted by COVID-19, there have been some positive moments and opportunities.
Loyal team members
One of those silver linings has been seeing how loyal some of your team members really are. Also, how willing they are to go the extra mile for your patients.
There were those who were keen to stay in the loop with what was happening in the business. Those who gave any voluntary help they could within the guidelines. As well as complete training while furloughed or were a supportive listening ear for their colleagues.
It’s under challenging times that some people can really shine compared to during ordinary times.
Of course, the opposite can also happen. Not everyone will flourish. Some members of your team may not have stepped up to the mark as much as others.
We finally get to leave 2020 behind as a new year starts. It’s vital to make sure your team is in as strong a position as possible. Everyone must be focused on achieving your practice’s goals.
If you do have team members who aren’t fully embracing the new way of working or committed to helping to drive the practice forward, it’s worth tackling this directly.
This needn’t be confrontational. The pandemic has been difficult for all of us, but each of us have had our own unique experience.
Some of your team members may well have struggled to cope more than others. This is obviously not something they should be punished for, but it is something you can discuss – particularly if it is impacting their work performance.
It could be worth sitting down with each member of the team and discussing their experiences (personally and professional), how life at the practice has changed and if there is anything they’re struggling with.
It may be that there’s something they didn’t feel they could bring up without prompting, but which you can both work together to find a resolution to.
A two-way process
Give them, and yourself, a safe space to chat about any potential issues. This will enable you to have an honest and calm conversation.
Be open enough to say this is where the business is now. This is what we need to do to be financially viable and keep seeing patients under the new guidelines. Be clear in what you need from each team member to support with this. Ask for their suggestions about how they think they can best help.
Making it a two-way process will help your team to jump on board with any changes and feel invested in the process. It has been a year of changes, and that is often hard for people to handle.
You will have had to make lots of changes within your practice, potentially at very short notice. As we move into the new year, why not hold a team meeting (virtually if you need to), to discuss those changes that have been made so far, which ones you will be keeping as you move into 2021 and new ones that may lie ahead.
You can use this meeting, and regular smaller team meetings, to reiterate your business goals, which may well have shifted as a result of the pandemic, and what everyone can be doing to help reach them.
Now is the time for action
In the first six months of the pandemic, it felt like everything was moving at a hundred miles a minute. It’s understandable that these kinds of conversations were put on the back-burner.
Now, as things become slightly more settled, you can think about how you want your practice to run in 2021. To make sure all those days working longer hours, reading through guidelines and creating standard operating procedures were worth it, you need the support of all your team.
With everyone on the same page and working together, you can start 2021 in the best possible place and keep moving forward from there.