Promoting Motivation in a Multigenerational Practice

Promoting Motivation in a Multigenerational Practice

The transition of power and responsibility from one generation to the next is a natural progression in most medical practices. When passing the torch, inter-generational tensions can be exposed in a variety of ways. The root causes, however, tend to be one or more of the following:

  • Younger generations may want to exert more authority, while seniors are reluctant to let go
  • Different work and life goals
  • Compensation issues
  • Willingness to implement new ideas
  • Younger generations may lack the depth of expertise to retain the exiting owner’s patients

Overcoming these challenges can be difficult, but certainly not impossible. Self-motivation and accountability are two essential management tools that will help transition your practice from one generation to the next. In this article, we will discuss best practices for incorporating self-motivation into your culture.

Does your culture promote self-motivation?

Are responsibilities clearly defined and understood?  Set them up for success. A one-size-fits-all approach will not work. Motivation depends on many factors, including an individual’s current and future personal, professional and economic objectives.

Can they contribute to the practices’ success while still achieving personal goals? It is important for management to understand what employees want to achieve and how to help them achieve it.

Is the practice overly-administered? Under and overachievers will naturally exist and be blatantly obvious. If given the opportunity, most physicians will perform above average if they are treated with respect. Self-motivation is key and must be a high priority initiative that the practice supports. From an organizational perspective, an overly-administered practice will produce great results however it will not encourage self-motivation.

Are the individual’s goals aligned with the practices’ goals? An annual performance review is a great opportunity to measure individual performance against the practices’ assessment. Personal, professional and economic goals should coincide with the practices’ objectives. If management can establish that the practice and individual have shared values it will help foster a culture of positive self-motivation.

Harvesting a culture of self-motivation will help your practice accomplishes its objectives. The following strategies will help instill self-motivation in physicians:

  • Motivation through delegation of authority

An effort should be made to recruit and maintain an adequate number of qualified associates. Offering a variety of training, evaluation and career development programs is a great way to support the practice. For instance, consider offering opportunities for associates to develop specialties within specific niches. Developing and transferring professional acumen takes time and patience. To assist in this process, consider delegating more authority, as it relates to patient matters, earlier in a physician’s career. Doing so would provide physicians with the opportunity to gain invaluable experience that contributes to their personal and professional growth.

  • Motivation through culture

Your culture is a major element in creating a culture that fosters self-motivation. Providing an environment that promotes openness and a willingness to evolve correlates to performance. Management should show, through actions rather than policy, that they genuinely care for the individual.

  • Motivation through practice management

Across the board, leaders in all industries struggle to motivate and inspire employees to top performance levels. Often overlooked or misused, management’s attitude towards practice management is an important motivational tool. Management should recognize a job well done, just as they would correct an error. While making mistakes is part of learning, it becomes counterproductive if management uses the occasion to exercise their power.

Findings from a 70-year old study reveal a disconnect between what managers think employees want and what employees actually want. According to the survey, managers mistakenly assume employees are motivated by high pay, job security and potential for growth within the organization. However, employees ranked full appreciation of work done, feeling of being in on things and sympathetic help on problems as the top three most important motivating factors. These motivators are within managements control and can be achieved and maintained at little to no cost to your practice.

  • Motivation through strategic planning

Advanced planning can lead to a financially beneficial conclusion and ease the transition of ownership. Plan for the success of your practice by defining goals and objectives. A strategic plan should clearly outline specific actions and next steps for achieving these goals. It should identify both short and long-term goals, with the next generation of business owners in mind. An adequate retirement plan, investment opportunities and reasonable longevity rewards will promote loyalty to the practice rather than the individual.

Self-motivation is a common challenge for multi-generational group practices. If your practice is struggling to retain motivated physicians, consider the action items we have outlined in this article. The future of the practice depends equally on an physician’s ability to perform for their individual benefit as well as the practices’.

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