No-Cost Staff Motivation

Neil Baum, MD

Neil Baum, MD, is Clinical Associate Professor of Urology, Tulane Medical School, New Orleans, LA, and author of Marketing Your Clinical Practice: Ethically, Effectively, and Economically, Jones Bartlett Publishers.


Perform a fair performance review. I believe employees like to know where they stand and how they can improve performance on the job. Motivated staff members want feedback on their progress or even lack of progress. This is because uncertainty draws motivation even more so than negative criticism. The best way to furnish this important feedback is with periodic performance reviews.

I suggest meeting with your employees on a scheduled basis approximately every 3 to 4 months. At that time you can constructive lesion review their performance. Ideas each employee a worksheet (like the example below) before the scheduled review. They are to use the worksheet to discuss what they like best about their work, with a light release, one or 2 areas they would like to improve, and what I, as their employer, can do to assist them in their professional growth and development. I then used the employees completed worksheet during the review. I always end the performance review sessions on a positive note. I tell the employees how valuable they are and how much of an asset they are to the practice. Of course, these meeting should be documented in the employees’ files.

In order to make performance reviews more effective, I allow a roll reversal. Every 3 months, I allow my staff to review me and my performance. I answer the same worksheet just like the employees do, and I have them critique me, just as I do them.

During one employee review session, I was told that wearing a scrub suit in the afternoon when I have no intention of returning to the operating room is unprofessional. My staff reminded me that they were asked to wear uniforms, be properly groomed, and to refrain from chewing gum. They felt that my wearing a scrub suit was not in keeping with the image of our practice.

My staff gave me this criticism in a constructive manner and I could not help but agree with them. As a result, I now make certain that I wear a shirt and tie under my lab coat. I would not have heard this feedback if we had not done a performance review and allowed my staff to contribute to improving my skills as well. 

Worksheet Example:

1. What do you like most about working here?_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

2. What one or two things would you recommend to improve:

_____Working conditions



3. Where do you want to be professionally:

_____Next quarter

_____6 months from now

_____1 year from now

4. What can I do to help you reach your goals?______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

5.What are you going to do to reach your goals?_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

6. Any other comments or suggestions?___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________