Staff Management

How to Spend < $5,000 Yearly & Implement 3 Office Culture Enhancements

Dr. Capaccioli (center) with his practice team. Dr. Capaccioli says there are easy and low-cost ways to show your team your appreciation and improve the culture of your office.

Dr. Capaccioli (center) with his practice team. Dr. Capaccioli says there are easy and low-cost ways to show your team your appreciation and improve the culture of your office.

Creating a culture conducive to happiness & profitability.

By Davis Capaccioli, OD

Feb. 14, 2024

A positive office culture makes life better for both your practice team and your patients. Here are few low-cost ways to improve your office culture and reap big results.

Presenting Values

Most of us spend more time at work than we do in any other area of our lives, so my desire for a better office culture started as a selfish desire to create a good place for me to spend my time. If I am going to go through all the extra work to do a cold-start, then I want to create I place where I enjoy spending time.

I also practice in a small town, and in finding employees, I am competing against other employers in the area that offer more flexible hours, higher pay and other benefits.

I knew that if I was going to retain good employees, I needed to create a place where they enjoyed working. No matter the industry, entrepreneurs always harp on, as Jim Collins puts it, “getting the right people on the bus.”

Since I am not recruiting nationwide, like many entrepreneurs are, I may not be able to pick the exact right people, but I can make sure that the culture of the bus, and the direction we are traveling, are as intentional as possible. A great way to do that is to be clear on our values as a company. So, in the summer of 2022, we closed the office early, and I led a workshop where I presented our values, which are below:

  1. We exist to exceed expectations
  2. We each contribute to a supportive, trusting, collaborative and accountable work environment
  3. We are committed to giving back to our town
  4. We do not exist to maximize profit, but understand that profit enables us to better fulfill the above values

We then had brainstorming sessions in which my team split into groups and discussed ways in which our team is currently living these values, and also came up with ideas to answer the question, “Over the next two years, how can we further step into the ideas that make us our best?”

Great ideas came from those breakout questions, especially in the realm of collaborative team work and how we can become more involved in the community.

Cost: $2,000 in lost revenue from closing early.

Christmas Party

I decided to host our Christmas parties at my home. I wanted our team to know they are not people I am using to achieve my goals, but that I value them as team members and appreciate their hard work. I also wanted to embody servant leadership, so my wife and I cooked the meal and served them at the table, refilling drinks and clearing plates.

Then I went around the table to talk about what I appreciate about each team member. This was shared in front of their fellow co-workers and their spouses. It was a way for me to make them feel appreciated in front of those they spend the most time with.

Cost: $400

Check-ins with Team Members

Most of my team are Millennials, and as a group, they crave significant feedback. I attempt to do quick five-minute weekly check-ins with each team member to provide positive feedback (always) and suggest areas of improvement (when needed).

If I constantly coach them in encouraging the actions that I value through positive feedback, I can more easily present the negative feedback when the time comes.

I take each team member out to lunch individually each year, and through our conversation, ask them questions about our practice. The questions asked: what do we do best as a practice, and what could we do better? Then I get more personal, asking questions about if they feel appreciated at work, what they would change about their position, and what their five-year personal goals are.

Through these conversations last year, I decided to cross-train an employee in an area I was not previously planning to cross-train them in, and decided to turn over our community-giving program to another employee who expressed an interest in community involvement in her personal goals.

I also learned how much my employees value flexibility in work schedule, and we have since switched to a four-day, nine-hour shift to give more flexibility.

Cost: $1,500 (lunch and lost revenue from expanding our lunch break)

Davis Capaccioli, ODDavis Capaccioli, OD, is the owner of Peak Eyecare in Durango, Colo. To contact him:

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