Insights From Our Editors

Keys to Improving Staff Productivity & Retention

By Mark Wright, OD, FCOVD,
and Carole Burns, OD, FCOVD

August 18, 2021

Over the last year our practices have made many changes. These changes impacted our team (including doctors). We should drill down to understand these changes. Workhuman conducted a survey of U.S. workers, aged 18-75+, across a broad range of industries, departments and titles (entry-level to CEO).i

Here are the results of that survey, so you can compare it to what you are experiencing in your own practice, and be proactive in improving business outcomes such as productivity and retention.

Please & Thank You
Twenty-seven percent of the survey respondents said they are concerned that the in-person office dynamic will never be the same. Twenty-six percent feel work-life flexibility will be reduced going forward. The survey data revealed that 27 percent of the men said they always received a “thank you” from their employer and/or colleague, while only 19 percent of women said the same. Discrepancies like this have consequences. The research found turnover rates were higher among women than men during the pandemic.

The pandemic disruption took a toll on the mental health of our team. Many, if not most, are feeling less human connection since the pandemic began. The survey results showed that creating a more human workplace begins with nurturing a sense of gratitude and positivity. Even a simple gesture – such as saying “please” and “thank you” – has a big impact.

Years ago we did what we thought was going to be a simple exercise of making sure all team members said “please” and “thank you.” It took three months of repeated effort to get to the place where it became a habit for all team members (including doctors) in the office to say “please …” and “thank you.”

The result was amazing. People became nicer to each other as well as being nicer to patients. There were more smiles in the office. The attitude of the entire office was elevated. It was a definite improvement in office culture.

In your office, does every team member (including doctors) say “please” and “thank you” every time, every day?

Team Response to Practice Changes
The disruption of the past year forced us to adapt. Our experience and the survey results show adapting has been easier for some than others. Here are the results from the survey respondents.

What actions have been implemented in your office to address these issues with your team?

How Are Employees Adjusting?
Twenty-seven percent of survey respondents said it has been very difficult or difficult to adjust to a new way of working. The question asked was: What has been the most difficult adjustment you’ve had to make since the start of the pandemic?

Notice that managing uncertainty was the number one answer. We’ve had to make many changes over the pandemic. And in some practices we are still making changes. Change is unsettling to many of our team members.

The number two answer is finding work-life balance. Changing office work schedules, changing team members and changing job responsibilities are all contributing to this problem of finding work-life balance.

What are you doing in your practice to address change issues facing your team members?

How to Create a More Human Workplace
Marketing 101 is to ask people what they want, then provide it. The survey respondents were asked about the specific tactics employers can use to create a more human workplace. Here are their answers.

Looking over this list of what the team members feel would improve the workplace, these are all things that each of us should be working toward in our practices.

What is the Reason You Don’t Feel Appreciated in the Workplace?

Knowing what the team is thinking is important to know. This is valuable information.

What are you doing in your practice to address each of the answers to the question, “what is the reason you don’t feel appreciated in the workplace?”

Take this week to make sure you are addressing in your practice the issues discovered in this survey.

i. One Year Into COVID: The Pandemic’s Impact on How We Work

Photo credit, top of page: Getty Images

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