Many practices are always looking for new ways to keep their staff motivated and happy at work. One of the best ways to achieve this long-term is through a company culture that inspires. A company culture is the values, beliefs, symbols, and rituals that a company develops over time. Everything from your mission statement, to your practice logo and the accomplishments you celebrate contribute to your culture. Your practice culture effects the way you and your employees think, feel, and act in the office.
One way to think about a practice culture is tri-fold:
Creating the perfect culture for your practice can be a challenging task to take on. There is not an exact formula for creating a culture, because every practice is different, meaning that your culture can be unique as well. We can give you some steps to get you thinking about what you want your culture to look like, and how to get your staff to opt into your practice's customs. Having a staff that is invested in the same goals and keys to success will help create a more unified team.
1. Step Away From Tradition
Your practice is unique, and your culture should follow suit. It is okay to move away from traditional ideals of what an office culture should look like. And just because you're in healthcare doesn't mean you can't have a little fun in your office. We encourage you to have fun when coming up with your own ideas of how to embrace culture in your practice. What can you do for your employees that other practices aren't to help ensure that you're getting the best talent in the area?
2. Understand Your Purpose
Do you remember the reason you decided to enter the eyecare industry in the first place? Think beyond the financial reasons, and get back to the true reason you decided to work with eyes. Understanding your purpose for doing what you do is a great way to begin forming a mission statement for your practice.
3. Check Your Alignment
Do your core values match your purpose? If you can't confidently say they do, you should consider mixing some things up. Everything about your practice culture should fit together in perfect alignment; otherwise you run the risk of confusing your staff and sending them mixed signals about the decisions they make on a daily basis and the goals you're looking to accomplish.
4. Hire the Right People
Finding the right people for your practice doesn't mean just hiring people like you. While you want to look for staff members that fit in well with your culture, it is important to look for a diverse range of talent that will help round out your practice. A candidate that improves the skills of your current staff and the culture of your practice might end up being more valuable than the candidate with the most experience.
5. Continuously Communicate
Having a mission statement and core values written on a piece of paper filed away doesn't help anyone. You should constantly communicate what your practice stands for to your employees. They should have no doubt on your practice culture. You want to create a dedicated and motivated team in your office, not just a bunch of individuals who show up every day to do their job.
6. Lead the Way
A practice culture is shaped by how the leaders in your office act, and ODs aren't exempt from aligning with the practice culture, so you should focus on being a great example for the rest of your staff. You can also assign someone like your office manager to be in charge of practice culture and have them serve as the main example for the rest of your staff.
A reward system is an integral part of having a culture that is successful in motivating staff. Rewarding employees who embrace the values of your practice encourages the continuous practice and growth of your culture, which leads to a strong practice that offers great patient care.
8. Know When to Evolve
Knowing when adjustments to your culture need to be made is important to keep a practice that is relevant and productive. As industry standards change and technology advances, you might need to adjust your culture and expectations. It is necessary to make changes over time.
Creating the perfect company culture for your practice is extremely important, and should never be rushed. Take your time and in the end, you'll have the practice, and staff, that you've always wanted.
Want more tips for managing staff and your eyecare practice? We made an ebook for you.
Originally published in July 2015. Updated in April 2022.