Surprise Is the Spice of Life

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Neil Baum, MD

Clinical Associate Professor of Urology, Tulane Medical School, New Orleans, LA

Author, Marketing Your Clinical Practice-Ethically, Effectively, and Economically, Jones Bartlett Publishers


Whenever you can provide an unexpected perk for your staff, you can be sure that they will appreciate the gesture. For example, for a job well done, you can bring bagels, fresh fruit and fresh coffee for breakfast. A doctor really endeared himself to his staff when he prepared the pancakes for their breakfast after the staff worked very hard a few days earlier. Whenever your staff members extend themselves and perform at a stellar level in spite of difficult circumstances, such as a reduced number of staff, it is important to recognize their efforts in some small way. Otherwise, they most probably will not make the effort again when a situation arises. For example, you might provide a massage therapist at the end of the week when it is clear the staff has been under increased pressure and stress. This is not expensive but clearly demonstrates that you know what great efforts the staff went to in order to make the practice function smoothly.

Bottom line: When employees go above and beyond the job description or the employee manual in order to give the patients a positive experience, then it is important for the doctor and upper management to acknowledge that extra effort in some small way, especially if you want that positive behavior to be replicated over and over again.