December 12, 2017 — Blog Posts

Seven Ways to Celebrate Your Practice Staff During the Holiday Season

By Maureen McKinney

The holiday season is in full swing and for many medical practices, that means it’s time to recognize staff for their hard work and dedication throughout the year. Does that mean a Secret Santa gift exchange or an all-staff trivia night? A thoughtful gift or an extra day off? Every practice is different, of course, so with that in mind, here are seven suggestions to help you celebrate your employees this month.

1. Give out bonuses

A bonus check is a tried-and-true method of rewarding staff and showing appreciation—and it’s one that can boost employee morale and retention. But as medical practices face increasingly tight margins, many are moving away from automatic, across-the-board monetary bonuses. One option to make bonuses more financially feasible while motivating staff to focus on practice priorities is to tie bonuses to agreed-upon performance measures. This trend is gaining traction as a growing percentage of physician revenue is in value-based care arrangements. If you do go this route, make sure your staff knows well in advance that holiday bonuses will be based on performance, as well as the measures that will be used.

2. Throw a holiday party

A holiday party is another fun, go-to way to recognize staff. While some practices hold their annual bash at their office, others choose to book an outside venue, like a restaurant or banquet hall. If budget is a concern, a holiday potluck can be a nice way to celebrate the season without busting the budget, and it gives staff a chance to show off their culinary skills. It’s important to remember that these events should be inclusive to ensure that everyone feels welcome.

3. Go on a team outing

It’s not for every organization, but some practices have eschewed the usual holiday party in lieu of a fun group activity. Again, it’s important to make sure that staff are on board and feel included, particularly those who have physical limitations, but an out-of-the-office team-building activity like a scavenger hunt, laser tag, room escape game or bowling event can be a great way to boost camaraderie and make staff feel valued.

4. Give time off

Time off is a gift that everyone will appreciate. Allowing employees to take extra time away during the holidays sends a clear message that they are appreciated and valued—but it can be challenging during such a high-traffic month. Consider giving extra vacation days to be used in January and February, when the practice isn’t as busy, or offering bonus pay to those who volunteer to work during the holidays.

5. Create holiday traditions

Holiday traditions can help strengthen your organization’s culture and give your employees something fun to look forward to during the busy end-of-the-year season. Some practices decorate the office together or have an annual employee gift exchange with an affordable spending limit.

6. Donate a charitable gift

Giving back to the community is another good way to spread the holiday spirit and make staff feel connected to your organization’s mission. Consider giving your employees a list of local charities and letting them vote on which one to donate to that year, or consider making a smaller donation to each employee’s favorite charity. Some practices give back by sponsoring and participating in a local fundraising event, such as a race or blood drive.

7. Provide training opportunities and additional responsibilities

Far better than giving out fruitcakes is offering your staff opportunities to learn new skills and take on new responsibilities. That can be tough when staff have so many tasks on their plates already, but streamlining some of those processes can help to alleviate the burden and free up time. Consider delegating management of your practice’s social media accounts to a technically savvy employee or enlisting a front-desk employee to help with care coordination and patient outreach.

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