How To Create A Positive Work Culture

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What do Apple, In-N-Out Burger, Google, Delta and Lululemon have in common? Other than fantastic products that everyone loves! 📱🍔🔦✈️🏃🏽‍♀️

They all create a work environment and culture that is so amazing, their employees never want to leave!

So how do they do it?? It must be really hard, right? Otherwise, every company would be a total dream to work at.

It’s actually not hard to create a work environment that your people love (phew!), but it does take intention and consistency.

I’m definitely still learning, but I really enjoy creating and maintaining a positive work culture in both my businesses. It makes my life easier and more enjoyable in so many ways and allows my employees to thrive, which makes me feel good.

I’m proud of the fact that people consistently quit their jobs to go full-time with InTune Family Counseling (my group practice, formerly Guilford Family Counseling), and my team over at Productive Therapist are a world-class, happy bunch who love to help each other out and share ideas. I truly have a team to be proud of, but I also know that this didn’t happen by chance.

So how can you create a positive work culture that attracts and keeps the best people at your group practice? 

The 5 Big Reasons people stay with a group practice are:

  1. Money
  2. Training
  3. Community
  4. Leadership 
  5. Structure

Obviously, these reasons are important in different levels to different people, but all five work together to create a truly special, enjoyable work environment.

So how can you maximize these 5 Big Reasons to build a positive work culture in your practice? I’ve spent years picking the brains of experts in personal and team happiness and productivity to learn how to apply these 5 Big Reasons in my businesses. Here are the best-of-the-best tips and suggestions to help you do the same in your practice:

1. Money

Many employers assume that money is the most important factor and driving force behind their employees’ motivation at work, but in reality it consistently ranks behind workplace culture & values, quality of leadership and career opportunities. However, money is obviously still a crucial incentive to work motivation, so follow the tips below to allow your employees to focus on something other than money at work.

  • Pay a fair wage, whether percentage-based or a flat-rate; employees compare their value to others based on their pay
  • Pay enough to take the issue of money off the table in your employees’ minds
  • Develop a healthy mindset around money
  • Prioritize the health of your business – if the company is profitable, everyone wins

2. Training

Many therapists thrive on continued growth and development – they need this to feel engaged and invested in the practice. If you can provide them with ongoing opportunities for personal and professional growth, you’ll have some very happy, very fulfilled therapists on your hands!

Some suggestions to get you started:

  • CEU (Continuing Education Units) stipend
  • In-house trainings
  • Therapists cross-training each other in specialty areas
  • Focusing on and actively encouraging therapists’ professional goals in the review process 

3. Community

Everyone wants to belong and feel part of something, especially something that matters and makes a positive difference to others, like a therapy practice. Use these tips to create a feeling of family and connection in your practice.

  • Promote and protect a positive work community
  • Discipline or fire toxic staff members; don’t allow them to poison the water, so to speak
  • Address interpersonal issues quickly and directly (use Radical Candor)
  • Create ways for staff to connect and build personal relationships
  • Don’t hold back on appreciation and recognition, both public and private
  • Use software and tools to create fun connection opportunities, eg. 

4. Leadership

People don’t want to be managed or dictated to, they want to be led. If you are clear on the difference in your mind and implement these tips and suggestions, you’ll create an environment where your staff feel secure.

  • Establish and maintain strong, clear leadership that is also flexible, empathic and fair
  • Servant leadership – take care of the staff and they will take care of the clients
  • Genuinely care for and support your staff; people are smart – they know when you really care and when you’re just playing a role!
  • Create and communicate a compelling mission, vision and values
  • Listen and respond to the needs of your employees
  • People don’t quit jobs, they quit managers

5. Structure

We need structure to achieve goals and meet standards. Consistency is key – if your staff know what’s expected of them, it will be easier for them to accomplish what you’re hoping for.

  • Provide effective and reliable administrative support
  • Timely & consistent billing and reimbursement for insurance services
  • Create enjoyable and functional work spaces – clean, modern, well-maintained

I hope these tips and suggestions are inspiring and helpful to you!

Building a positive work culture in your practice takes time and commitment, but it can absolutely be fun as well, as your application of each of these tips will be unique to your personality and practice.

I suggest picking one tip at a time from each Big Reason and implementing it – that way, you can make sure it’s working the way you want and not get too overwhelmed trying to do it all at once.

Above all, have fun creating a positive work culture in your practice! I look forward to hearing your success stories and what worked for you! 

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