Where does a great clinic culture come from? How do you build and sustain a culture that needs fixing?
I’ll demystify how to build an awesome clinic culture in 11 easy steps that have allowed us to build our multi million dollar clinic.
But first, who am I and why should you listen to me?
Hi, I’m Kate Durnin. I own a multi-disciplinary clinic in Calgary Alberta with my husband, Evan, that does multi millions a year. Plus, our patients love us and we currently have almost 300 5-star Google reviews.
After working with our business mentor (Rick Lau), we grew over 39% this year, and we're finally able to unplug from the business so that it can run profitably, without us having to be there all of the time.
Rick helped us do this by using proven systems, implementing a clinic director, and leadership strategies.
He also helped us develop and learn these 11 easy steps to building an amazing clinic culture, which I’ll reveal in this blog post.
But first, what is culture and why is it so important?
It's the feeling your patients and staff get when they walk into your clinic. It’s also the feeling they have when they leave your clinic.
For example, have you ever walked into a place whether a restaurant or store, that just didn't feel right? You just didn't have a “good feeling” about it?
That's what clinic culture is all about. A great clinic culture energizes your staff and patients when they walk in.
Instead of your staff dreading going to work, suffering each day as they go through work that makes them cynical, weary, and frustrated.
The reason clinic culture is so important, is that more than ever, employees want to have an impact. They want to feel like they are apart of something bigger than themselves. They want to feel supported and valued. A great clinic culture is what separates good clinics from great ones.
But how can clinics truly create a place where your team wants to show up versus needs to show up?
It comes down to these 11 steps that we've used and shared with other clinics in our community on how to ignite passion in staff, without giving them a raise.
So let’s get started...
1.) Craft Your Culture Document
You need to write down your personal core values as a leader and as a team. This creates alignment in your clinic. You also need to to give this document to all new hires during the onboarding process.
2.) Create Trust With "Permission Slips"
It can be difficult to give up control, especially since you know you can do it better than anyone. However, in order to grow, you have to let go and pass on the responsibility to someone else. This will free up your time to focus on other important things in your clinic.
One way we successfully did this was by implementing what I like to call a "Permission Slip". In the past, our staff would have to ask us first before making a decision, even when they were more than capable of making the right decision. Permission Slips gave our staff freedom and autonomy to make a decision based on an acceptable risk level we established.
This shows employees you trust them. When you give your staff room to fail and allow them to learn from each failure. They will grow and your clinic will grow too.
3.) Get Personal And Know Their Why
You and I are always busy and can sometimes forget to show staff that we care. One of our core values is "Care” not only do we implement this value with our patients, but our staff too. Get to know your team on a personal level, find out their spouse's name, kid’s names, and what is one thing that they truly value (aka Their WHY). Also, take time to stop and just say “thank you” and share a high five when passing one another.
4.) Personalized Hand-Written Card
This is one of the most powerful things we've implemented in our clinic. Every week we sit down to write a handwritten card to one staff member, talking about how awesome they are and how grateful we are to have them on our team.
5.) Know Your Staff's Bucket List
We sit down with every member of our team to find out what drives them. What are their life goals and dreams?
We learned this from Rick's Mentorship and it’s been incredible.
You'll often be surprised that what really drives them, is the opposite of what you assumed. This gives us key insight into what they truly value most so that we can work towards helping them achieve their life goals. Your staff will love you for this.
6.) High 5 Fridays
Every week we celebrate our staff wins, patient wins, and clinic wins.
We do this using our Slack channel. We write a few paragraphs with some images acknowledging and recognizing all the awesome moments that happened that week. This is an excellent way to reinforce the behaviours you want. Plus, when you acknowledge others in front of their peers, this lets your team know you appreciate them. They will respect you more and love you for this.
7.) Team Parties With Spouses
Twice a year we host a big team party to further build team chemistry. We have friendly and fun competitions between teams. We always eat some delicious food and have some drinks to unwind. This lets staff get to know each other better, to further build the culture.
One important thing you should do at these events is always invite the spouse. By doing this, you get the spouse on your side. So when your staff goes home stressed out or complaining about work. The spouse can pick them up and back you up.
8.) Clinic Rounds Every 4 Weeks
This an interesting thing we discovered that our staff really enjoys. Every 4-6 weeks we host structured clinical rounds. This is where staff learn from each other about a clinical topic that they’re an expert in. During these rounds, we have great food. The reason we do this is it shows staff that their opinion is valued and that we all have unique strengths. Also, that we are best when we work together.
9.) Create An Organizational Structure With Your Staff
Not only does this allow others to take on leadership roles, but your staff will feel that they have growth opportunities within your clinic. In fact, most of the time clinicians respond best when other clinicians are leading them instead of the boss dictating the rules.
Plus, by letting your team build the organizational structure with you, they will feel that their input is valued. So when you implement company-wide changes there will be far less resistance. New changes will be viewed positively, instead of just another rule they have to follow.
Meet Kevin, our recent Clinic Director (on the right)
10.) Lead By Example In Clinic Policies
When you implement clinic policies you need to follow them. There is no policy that the leader doesn't have to follow. You need to lead by example. Park where they park, eat where they eat, clean up after yourself and others.
11.) Show Appreciation
Always let staff know how much you appreciate them. Don't walk out of the clinic without giving a high 5 or a big thank you. Especially to the most under-appreciated staff, like front-end managers. They are the engine that drives your ship so make sure they feel appreciated.
There you have it, 11 easy steps for building a great clinic culture that lasts and motivates your staff to work harder.
To learn more about Kate and her clinic. Go here to check out her Instagram:
ABOUT KATE DURNIN
Multi-million dollar clinic owner in Calgary who started her multidisciplinary clinic less than 8 years ago with her husband. As a husband and wife team, they had a dream of creating a clinic that challenged the norm of how rehab is viewed, and creating a multidisciplinary team that always put the patient first, offering nothing but the best, and leading in the care provided and the results derived by the patient. Their vision has evolved to create a company that values its people, promises to succeed together, and is a family that has each other’s backs, with the ultimate goal of helping their patients, team, and community achieve more