07 Feb Appreciation: Try One Little Thing

Keeping staff engaged and motivated is a perennial leadership challenge. This is prevalent in the medical practice setting, where your front-line staff are under pressure to perform and and manage incoming calls, patient visits, and other tasks. The typical primary care front desk employee fields 30 inbound calls per day, and handles more than 1,500 patients and 4,300 total encounters per year, according to the MGMA DataDive Cost and Operations datasets.

Often, the suggested solution is to create a formal appreciation program. These can be a powerful tool for engaging staff, but you can also start creating a culture of appreciation with one small behavior:

Check In: It may seem absurdly simple, but employees report that hearing “Good morning,” or “How are you?” from their physicians and managers is nearly as meaningful as formal recognition.

These days, many of us exist with heads down (and usually stuck in our phones or on our computer screens), your blog author included. This is partially due to stimulus overload- we’re constantly bombarded with information while trying to manage a thousand different thoughts whirling in our heads at once.

So we put on perceptual blinders to conserve our energy, allowing us to focus on the task at hand, whatever it may be. For those in direct patient care, there’s the additional pressure of being “on” for your patients.

With that being said, consider the benefits of a simple greeting:

  • It connects us with those around us- we’re social beings who thrive on having positive relationships with other humans.
  • It makes us feel good. Smiling can activate neural activity that leads to positive affect.
  • It takes our minds off our problems if only for a moment. Making eye contact, smiling and saying “good morning” forces us to focus on something other than what makes us sad, angry or frustrated.


Give it a try- you might find it’s more effective than you ever imagined.

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