5 Ways to Improve Employee Engagement in Your Weight Loss Practice

Ongoing positive employee engagement is critical to the success of your weight loss practice.  Thankfully, there are some fun and simple ways to make this a reality.

The benefits of having an engaged team of employees are many.  Some noted benefits include:

– Higher level of productivity
– Lower absenteeism rate
– Increased motivation and creativity
– Greater degree of enthusiasm
– Improved customer service/higher customer loyalty

Yet, with the many changes in healthcare, it can be difficult to attract and retain top talent – let alone keep them engaged and excited to be an integral, long-term member of your team.  Whether your weight loss practice is independent, or part of a multi-specialty group or large health system, nearly everyone has felt frustration when it comes to this topic.

Some practices are still recovering from the many disruptions that came with the recent pandemic. In addition, the competition for skilled team members and overwhelm for those that have stayed the course, filling in as needed, has contributed to leadership and team burnout.

So, what are some practical ways to improve employee engagement?  Below are five effective strategies.
Understand What Motivates Your Employees

Understanding what motivates your employees is a great way to foster engagement and productivity.  When leaders take the time to identify the unique drivers that fuel their employees, they demonstrate that they care about team motivation.  Such understanding can also guide more productive interactions.  Whether their motivators are recognition, a sense of purpose, career advancement, or a supportive work environment, aligning these motivators with your management style and their assigned tasks leads to higher job satisfaction.  This also allows you to cultivate a work environment where individuals are inspired to put forth their best effort.

Create a Positive Work Environment

A positive work environment is the foundation of employee engagement.  When employees feel valued and supported at work, they are more likely to be engaged.  Some factors influencing a positive work environment include:

Open Communication:  Encourage open communication when things are going well in addition to when there are troubling times.  Make sure your team sincerely feels heard and valued.  Provide prompt, positive and/or constructive feedback on their performance.

Recognition and Appreciation:  Acknowledging the hard work of your teams’ accomplishments can go a long way in boosting morale and engagement.  A simple verbal or written acknowledgement makes a big difference!

Work-Life Balance:  Promote a healthy work-life balance by offering flexible work arrangements if possible and respecting employees’ time off outside of work.

Set Clear Expectations and Goals

Sometimes people underestimate the many benefits of clear expectations and goals for team members.  It starts before they are hired and are reinforced throughout onboarding and orientation.  When expectations and goals are unclear, team members can become disengaged and frustrated.  Here are some ways to set clear expectations and goals:

Job Descriptions: Make sure that your job descriptions are detailed and accurate, outlining the responsibilities and expectations for each role.

Delegation of Outcomes:  Try delegating your desired outcome.  For example, two new 5 star reviews each week.  Have a team member take ownership of the outcome, explore ways to attain the outcome, and coordinate implementation and measurement.  Be sure to review their work and provide input as needed.  Challenges, trust, provision of guidance, and any necessary resources helps employees engage, improves their confidence and creates a win-win situation.

Prompt Feedback:  Provide prompt and regular feedback as well as positive coaching to help employees understand their progress and address areas for improvement.

Stay Interviews: If you haven’t implemented stay interviews, you should.  They are a great way to openly and sincerely evaluate how your employees are feeling, what they feel is going well, what needs to be improved, and what their goals are for the future.

Cultivate Employee Development

If team training seems to be a thing of the past, employees may feel unmotivated because they are not learning anything new.  Investing in their development not only enhances their skills but shows that you value their growth.  Offer training programs, mentorship and coaching as well as cross-training as appropriate which benefits the team member as well as your weight loss practice.

Embrace Your Uniqueness, Values and Vision

Engaged employees want to be a part of a bigger vision, rather than just having a ‘job’.  Be sure to share how your practice was developed, what your practice values are, and why they are important and how they fit into your vision. This helps guide their behavior and can set your weight loss practice apart from other competitors.  Your vision is unique.  Embrace what makes you different from your competitors and weave your values into your marketing and ongoing team and patient communication.

By implementing these strategies, you can create a more engaged and motivated workforce that creates success for your practice and your patients.  Engaged employees are not only more productive, but also more likely to stay with your practice, reducing turnover and recruitment costs as well.

About the Author: Karol Clark, MSN, RN, is a best-selling author who has a passion for helping physicians integrate effective, profitable weight loss services and retail sales into their practice while improving patient outcomes and enjoying the journey along the way. Her use of non-traditional (easy to implement) medical marketing strategies, along with her dedication to a positive ROI makes her a uniquely different and sought-after weight loss business consultant. Karol is the CEO of Weight Loss Practice Builder and the exclusive membership program for weight loss practitioners, www.BariatricBusinessAccelerator.com. She has more than 20 years of experience working with surgical and medical weight loss physicians and their teams helping them simplify creation of a profitable and enjoyable bariatric practice.