6 Key Steps to Support Your Pharmacy’s Staff
When it comes to building a successful pharmacy, your team lays the foundation. Whether behind the scenes or at the front counter, your team of pharmacists, technicians, and support staff works hard to keep your pharmacy up and running. On a daily basis, they juggle many responsibilities: from filling prescriptions to stocking inventory to compiling reports. Most importantly, though, they provide your patients with the care they need and ensure that they have a positive experience in your pharmacy.
For community pharmacy staff, this can mean working long hours, missing time off, and undertaking tasks that go beyond their job descriptions. Often, their good works and extra efforts are done without notice. In order to properly acknowledge all that your team does, it is important to notice, and more importantly, thank them. In any field, but especially in pharmacy, appreciation matters. Taking a few moments to express appreciation to your team can help them feel like they are valued by your pharmacy, and that the work that they are doing matters. In the process, it can lead to greater feelings of satisfaction and promote optimal mental health.
Appreciation also has a positive effect on performance. In fact, a study performed by the University of California at Berkeley found that when staff felt appreciated and valued by their team, they were not only more satisfied in their positions but also 43% more effective and productive. Thus, appreciation is important in both acknowledging your team and ensuring that they serve patients to the best of their ability.
Whether you are a pharmacy owner, manager, or team member yourself, you can transform your work environment and promote positive outcomes with a quick show of appreciation. Here are a few ways that you can get started:
For a classic show of appreciation, write a formal letter to each of your pharmacy staff. Before drafting, think about each team member and what impresses you about them 一not only professionally, but also personally. If they are optimistic and encouraging, for instance, detail that in your letter. If they go out of their way to make patients feel at home in your pharmacy, mention that. If they bring a smile to your face, write it down.
As you begin working on each letter, be careful not to take a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, do your best to personalize every letter and make your statements genuine. Whatever you decide to mention, though, make sure that you emphasize one thing: you value the team member as both a person and a professional.
And, while your priority should be to write to each of your team members directly, you may also consider writing a letter of recommendation or an endorsement for them, as well 一 particularly for students that may be moving on to new endeavours soon.
Just as you can highlight patients on social media, you can do the same with pharmacy staff. On your favorite social platform, take the time to post staff spotlights and say thank you in front of your followers. In your post, include a photo of the team member, a description of their role in the pharmacy, and what it is that you appreciate about them. A public show of your appreciation like this one can be one of the best ways to show that you care.
Staff spotlights can also help your patients get to know your team in and out of the pharmacy. Surrounded by familiar faces, they will feel more comfortable in your store, which gives you a good start to building strong relationships. In this case, a social media spotlight can serve many purposes that benefit staff and patients alike. For inspiration on staff spotlights and other creative content, look to our Social Media Assistant.
To thank your team for the work that they already do, and to encourage them to continue to do it well, consider starting (or suggesting) an employee rewards program. A rewards program sends the message that your team’s work is being noticed, appreciated, and incentivized, leading to greater satisfaction and higher performance.
To get your program started, first develop criteria for the rewards: performing a certain set of tasks, meeting with a set number of patients, or getting positive customer reviews. Then, think about the rewards that completing each task merits: a free lunch, time off, or tangible prizes. Once you have developed the proper outline, advertise the program to your team and strategize ways to keep them engaged in it.
As you recognize your team’s achievements in the pharmacy, pay attention to what they accomplish outside of it as well. Part of making your staff feel valued on a personal level is noticing the work they do and the milestones they meet in their own lives.
Whether they are trying out a new hobby, buying a new home, or starting a family, pay attention to these milestones and make note of them. You may also highlight professional milestones such as gaining new certifications or skill-building achievements. Then, with the help of your team, celebrate them together: in your next staff meeting, in an after-hours celebration, or on your pharmacy’s social media accounts. Doing so will not only help each team member to feel more valued, but it will promote better relationships within your team as a whole.
As they begin to notice co-workers’ milestones and achievements, your team members will get to know one another beyond the pharmacy and on a deeper level. In the process, they will develop better communication, collaboration, and teamwork as a whole.
In addition to showing that you appreciate your team’s work, you should show that you appreciate their input. By placing a high value on input, you will help them to feel that their voice matters, and by extension, that they matter in your pharmacy. With this in mind, encourage your team to provide feedback, offer suggestions, and help develop ways to improve how your pharmacy runs. Whether it is at the organizational or operational level, give your team the opportunity to share ideas for improvement.
There are a number of ways to do this. For one, you can ask your team members directly, whether in a normal conversation or a designated meeting. You can also create surveys online (which can be anonymous) to get more targeted answers and suggestions. Or, you can make use of platforms like Officevibe, Culture Amp, and 15Five for quick and easy use in your pharmacy.
No matter how you decide to do it, put in the time and effort to create an environment where your team feels comfortable sharing their opinions 一 and where they know those opinions will be taken seriously.
Your effort to show appreciation shouldn’t just stop at you. Instead, get your patients involved and work to say thank you on an even bigger scale. If your team has provided patients with good experiences in the weeks, months, or years that they have frequented your pharmacy, this task should be easy. You simply have to ask them to get involved and give them the tools they need to do it.
There are several ways to get started. For one, you can ask your patients to write an encouraging note to a team member of their choice, either in person or on social media. You can also ask them to nominate an employee to feature in the pharmacy and grant an award to. Or, for added fun, you can host a party on a special occasion 一 like National Pharmacist Day 一 that centers around saying thank you to those who keep your pharmacy up and running. Your patients will appreciate the invitation to get involved, and your team will appreciate the extra effort to recognize them.
A strong team is the foundation for a strong pharmacy. If you want to see success, help your pharmacists, technicians, and support staff to feel appreciated. A few simple shows of gratitude can give them the energy they need to keep caring for your patients and running your pharmacy well 一 making it one of the most powerful tools you can use. Appreciation is easy, but more importantly, it is effective.