Celebrating Unsung Successes Is a Key Part of a Thriving Culture

Everyone likes to win. We’re not talking about the giving-everyone-a-trophy kind of winning, but rather success that is nurtured, acknowledged and celebrated. Fuel’s Professional Development team answers a question about success in workplace culture: How can I enhance employee success in my practice to reduce employee burnout and help employees feel engaged on the job?  

Being successful is important to everyone. That includes the employees in your organization. They want to find success at the individual, team and organization levels. Most importantly, success should be nurtured, acknowledged and celebrated. That means you need to take time to publicly recognize wins, both large and small, as they happen. Waiting a month after the fact isn’t as powerful as celebrating wins in the moment.

How Can You Be Intentional About Employee Success?

Celebrating success, such as big milestones for your organization, is important. However, we find that it’s just as impactful when you keep talking about small successes, too. These are often easy to find in most practices. For example, sharing or posting patient reviews for everyone to see is a great way to celebrate and share successes. You can share the reviews in an email or on a bulletin board. Better yet, share them in a team meeting where you can recognize individual employees or the entire team.

Oftentimes, your front-line employees, like schedulers or the front desk staff, don’t hear about or witness the success of individual patients. They hear all about the problems on the front end but often don’t hear about happy endings or get to see how patients’ lives are changed.

What’s an Example of Employee Success?

Jim Fedio, director of professional development, hears many success stories from Fuel Medical’s members. In a recent member visit, he noticed a particular patient coming in to see the audiologist. It was clear that this was not her first visit—she was one of those patients who was challenging to work with, and everyone knew it.

This patient was very demanding and inflexible when scheduling her appointments, and she could be a little rough when working with the front office team during check-in. She was the patient that everyone dreaded when they saw her name on the schedule. The front office team did not look forward to her frequent visits to the audiologist. And from the stories they shared, Jim could appreciate where they were coming from. 

For the purpose of the story, let’s call this patient Mildred. Most practices have at least one Mildred that they work with. You might even be able to picture a “Mildred” that visits your practice.

Mildred was seeing the audiologist for the fourth time after being fitted for hearing aids. Every time she came in, nothing was going well, and nothing was making her happy. According to her, the hearing aids didn’t work the way they were supposed to. She felt she was given false information and was frustrated with her overall experience. The reality was that she was so difficult to work with that people just wanted to avoid interacting with her altogether.

Until this visit.

This particular visit occurred on the first anniversary of her husband’s death. None of the staff knew she had recently lost her husband until she broke down while talking to the audiologist. She talked about how her husband had always handled all of her medical appointments and she felt completely lost, confused and helpless. Upon learning this, of course, the paradigm shifted for the audiologist.

To make a long story short, the audiologist took a different approach with Mildred. In the end, they became good friends, but not before the audiologist took it upon herself to go above and beyond to help Mildred navigate her medical appointments.

Interestingly, when this story was shared with the front office team, the entire practice changed its approach when engaging with Mildred. We understand that today when Mildred comes to see the audiologist about her hearing aids, whether she needs to or not, she brings homemade cakes, cookies and pies. By taking the time to get to know Mildred, the audiologist showed Mildred that she was valued. When that success was shared with the rest of the staff, everyone took the time to get to know Mildred. This became a success that the entire practice could celebrate.  

How Can You Find and Celebrate Employee Success?

One way to celebrate success is to set up individual goals. Goals can be short term or long term. For example, you can set up a system where employees can share their weekly goals at the start of the week. This could be as simple as a to-do list. At the end of the week, check in with the employee to see what they accomplished. Celebrate the finished items and discuss ways to manage the other items for the following week.

Another way to celebrate success is through rallying around a cause. For example, if you’re running a marketing campaign, get the whole practice involved, set goals and then celebrate wins. A practice that we worked with decided to promote Better Speech and Hearing Month and ran a “friends and family promotion” for the entire month of May. They gave employees incentives to invite their friends and family to come in and get a hearing test. They set goals for how many appointments they wanted to book each week and kept track of them. It gave the whole staff something to rally around for an entire month and generated a ton of excitement as friends and family got VIP treatment. The employees who booked the most visits were recognized at the end of the month. 

Why Should I Focus on Employee Success?

Celebrating employee success elevates the employee experience. They can focus on a goal that aligns with the organization’s purpose, so employees can see how their job connects to the big picture. This helps reduces burnout because they are energized about the goal or activity. If you’d like to hear more success stories, contact Fuel Medical’s Professional Development Team.

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