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How to...motivate your staff

Top-quality, highly motivated practice staff are crucial to the success of your practice. A strong team ensures the practice runs smoothly and that patients receive good-quality care. So how do you forge a good team?

1Pay them well. This is vital. Most people value things other than money in their work – but money is still important.

2 Provide good working conditions. Also crucial. People like to be treated as human beings and soulless or inadequately equipped surroundings are a real turn-off.

3 Provide regular training. It keeps staff interested and shows you value them enough to develop their careers.

4 Communicate with the team. Keep staff informed about what is going on. But avoid information overload. Regular meetings are obviously useful – as long as they have a point.

5 Promote a sense of 'ownership'. Ownership is a jargon word, but most people know what it means. Staff like to feel that when they are consulted their views are acted upon. They like to feel their input to the practice makes a difference. Financial incentive schemes can be useful.

6 Welcome suggestions. This is part and parcel of ownership. Consider all suggestions fully and either implement them or explain why they have been rejected. Always be honest and reasonable.

7 Delegate. Also related to ownership. GPs who won't delegate not only wear themselves out, they send the wrong message to staff, the implication being that staff are not up to the job.

Why hire people if you don't use them?

8 Keep staff busy. Bored staff make bad staff, and if they're talented they soon leave.

So treat your staff well, pay them well, and let them get on with the job – then they will do their best for you.

Rachel Stark is manager of New East Quay Medical Centre, Bridgwater, Somerset

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