HealthDay News — Managing staff is a learned skill, and one for which physicians and other medical practice proprietors are often ill-equipped.

“Employees need to know how what they do adds value to the business and helps both the patient and the physician succeed. They also want to succeed and need to know how to do it,” H. Christopher Zaenger, of the National Society of Certified Healthcare Business Consultants, reported in Medical Economics.

He offered some practical tips and advice for motivating staff to excel, pointing out first of all the necessity of adequate infrastructure. Practices should have clean furnishings, working phones, and other systems; reasonable work flow and function procedures; and written personnel policies, as well as a position list and job descriptions.

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New hires should be thoroughly trained and oriented by a skilled staff member, and problems should be addressed in private with the goal of helping the employee succeed.

“Good orientation and training requires hand-on experience with a skilled staffer showing the way and coaching the new hire. In addition, the new employee will need time to do and learn the task well before adding another task with high expectations,” Zaenger wrote.

Demonstrating expected results, offering ongoing specific feedback and reinforcing positive outcomes are “critical to success” and job satisfaction.

Also, recognize that motivation takes different forms for different employees — new computers, flex time, and consistently saying “thank you” may mean as much to some staff members as a raise. Other incentives include gas and restaurant gift cards and offering professional training or reimbursement for certifications.

Ultimately, it is up to the practice owner to create a creative and pleasant work environment that benefits physicians, staff and patients alike, Zaenger noted.


  1. Zaenger H.C. Med Econ. 25 Sept 2013. Available at: