“In this volatile business of ours, we can ill afford to rest on our laurels, even to pause in retrospect. Times and conditions change so rapidly that we must keep our aim constantly focused on the future.” -Walt Disney
As a Pharmacy Owner, you mayfeel the constant obligation to seek new ways to provide your customers with a better experience. The value of quality customer service should never be underestimated. Complacency in any business will ultimately allow our competitors to advance beyond us. In the book Be Our Guest, the Disney Institute emphasizes that we should constantly strive to improve customer service standards and product offerings, especially as the desires and needs of our customers change.
The astounding success of The Walt Disney Corporation is inarguable. It is no wonder that thousands of companies worldwide have sought to learn the secret to these achievements. How does Disney keep its customers not only satisfied, but happy and returning year after year? The answer is simple: magic. Not surprisingly, magic is the edict of every Disney employee and the premise that each of its theme parks is built around. Provide your customer with a magical experience and they will come back for more. You can and should incorporate magic into your own pharmacy business “theme.”
How has Disney been able to establish such an admirable benchmark for magical customer service? By practicing the art of guestology – or the science of knowing its customers better. Disney recommends striving to meet, then exceeding the expectations of your customers every time. As anyone fortunate enough to have visited a Disney Theme Park knows, the memory of the experience lingers for quite a while. The same can be said about a visit to any business establishment.
Whether the experience is good or bad, the customer will remember and talk about that experience long after. (Although maybe not quite to the extent of meeting Mickey Mouse for the first time.) And if an experience is great the customer will return.
The following four components of the Disney’s Quality Service Cycle can help create outstanding customer experiences within your pharmacy business.
1. A Service Theme
A shared vision by all employees, which becomes the motivation behind providing the customer with excellent service. Disney’s Theme is to “create happiness by providing the finest in entertainment for people of all ages…” What’s yours?
2. Service Standards
These provide the basis for successfully implementing the service theme and are critical in keeping our customers happy. While Disney’s standards are universal (safety, courtesy, show and efficiency), a Pharmacy’s could also include reliability, personal attention, etc. When a person’s health is at stake, an atmosphere of trust and dependability is crucial. Education is anotherimportant standard. It is important to be current with the latest market trends and to have well-trained and educated employees regarding these trends. Your own standards will depend on the demographics and psychology of your customer base.
3. The Delivery System
Disney guests have stated that the warmth and charisma of the cast is the chief factor behind an exceptional park experience, and is the number one reason behind a return. It is obvious that the attitude of an employee makes an important difference in a company’s success. Employees are the key element in the delivery system.
The Setting: “Wherever your guests meet you.”
Speaks volumes to your customer. Walt Disney spared no expense in his endeavor to provide guests with the ultimate visual and auditory experiences. His approach to creating the perfect environment was based on the assumption that everything speaks. It is important that your setting is inviting and has pleasant qualities. People gravitate toward anything that is sensory appealing.
The Process: How your business delivers its services.
This includes the manner in which your employees interact with each other and your customers within your pharmacy business. At Disney World, the process begins with the parking of your vehicle. It continues with check-in and culminates in the check-out process. Disney’s process includes line management, restaurant service and involves emergency response factors. Anticipate potential problems and solutions before they happen.
Integrating these elements into your pharmacy business operations will produce smooth, efficient and successful results. You can even try out an Integration Matrix – similar to a tic-tac-toe board, with your service standards on the side and the elements of the delivery process across the top. With the driving force being the psychology and demographics of your customer base and the major delivery component being your employees.
Disney stresses that happy and well-trained employees will always deliver a better customer experience. Each combination of service standard and delivery process represents a service moment of truth and should be carefully considered in determining your own method of providing exceptional customer service.
Tip: Disney recommends storyboarding to provide a visual map of service solutions. In other words, create a picture of every service standard and delivery process. When you can picture a process from beginning to end, it becomes easier to execute.
Your results can create a multiplier effect on your business. In other words, the value of the whole organization becomes greater than its parts. Never underestimate the magic of exceptional customer service! Your success depends upon it.
Based on the book Be Our Guest! Perfecting the Art of Customer Service, by the Disney Institute
As your pharmacy grows and a larger staff becomes necessary, interpersonal conflicts will be inevitable. It can be difficult to focus on the daily tasks associated with pharmacy ownership if you are constantly mediating employee issues. To reduce time wasted on drama-filled relationships and increase the productive energy needed to manage and expand your business, try following these seven steps:
Step 1: Lead By Example
You will not be successful in reducing pharmacy drama if you are involved in it yourself. As the leader of your staff, the entire team looks up to you and follows your lead. Use your own actions to demonstrate the positive behaviors you would like to see from your staff. If you are a good role model, chances are your team will “mirror” your behavior.
Step 2: Diagnose the Cause
Just as you would not expect an aspirin to effectively treat an undiagnosed disease, you cannot resolve a conflict in your pharmacy until you fully understand the root cause for it. While multiple factors can contribute to negative behaviors and drama in the workplace, here are four common triggers to be aware of:
- Constant complaining
- Cynical attitudes
- Controlling and bossy behavior
- Passive aggressive tendencies
Step 3: Develop a Plan to Confront an Issue
Once you identify the origin of a particular conflict, develop a plan based on the exact situation and employees involved. It may be best to handle the situation in a private meeting, especially if the problem employee is prone to outbursts. When one or more closed-door conversations have already taken place, you may consider making an announcement regarding workplace conflict resolution in your next staff meeting. In some cases, it could become necessary to remove staff members who are spreading negative energy and causing problems on a regular basis.
Step 4: Develop a Friendly Rapport
When meeting with an employee who is prone to conflict, be careful to begin the conversation with a neutral, open-minded tone. Explain the purpose, set the ground rules and be clear about your goals for the meeting. Your leadership will provide a solid foundation for a productive conversation. Set expectations about what you want to discuss and clearly communicate that your end goal is to resolve a problem and move forward.
Step 5: Be Direct and Professional
Begin the difficult part of the conversation with a non-confrontational, respectful phrase that explains the purpose of the meeting. Use facts instead of subjective, opinion-based statements to describe the problem. As the business owner, you should be careful not to leave any room for argument or interpretation. Allow the employee to provide an explanation while maintaining your authority.
Step 6: Obtain Commitment to Change
Finish the meeting by obtaining a solid acceptance of responsibility and a commitment to change. This step demands clarity from both parties on what future expectations are, so it is important to be specific. Instead of saying, “don’t cause drama,” perhaps you can say “don’t complain to others about your problems with the XYZ.” This is also the time to clearly outline the next course of action if the situation does not improve.
Step 7: Encourage New Behavior
While it is important to address negative actions, it is even more critical to reward good conduct to increase morale. Validate your employee’s new and improved behavior with encouraging feedback and a follow-up conversation. A handwritten note is a simple way to reinforce positive performance
These seven steps for confronting drama and introducing authenticity in workplace relationships will help keep your pharmacy productive and growing to its full capacity. Don’t let silly arguments derail amazing potential. Make sure you are prepared to take action before negative behavior and conflict become a problem.
Managing multiple personalities in the workplace while running a successful pharmacy can be difficult, but you don’t have to do it alone. Hundreds of pharmacy owners, who are just like you, use PDS to help lead their staff and find innovative ways to increase profits and stay ahead of the competition. If you would like to join a community of independent pharmacy owners who are committed to industry-wide success, then we would love to speak with you. Click here to request a free pharmacy business assessment today and one of our business advisors will get in touch with you shortly.
Hiring a new pharmacy employees can be both exciting and nerve-racking. Your business is profitable enough that you need help and can afford to pay for it, but do you know where to begin? Where will you advertise the new position? How much can you afford to pay? What questions should you ask during the interview? How will you know if a candidate is a good fit?
Even if you’ve done it a dozen times, the hiring process can be a little daunting, but there are surefire methods to make the process run smoothly. Here are 8 common mistakes to avoid when hiring new pharmacy employees:
1. Lack of Preparation
Your potential employee is prepared for the interview and you should be, too. Start by clarifying why you are hiring. Create a job description that includes desired outcomes and competencies that match your pharmacy’s needs. What skills or certifications are necessary for performing the job well and what skills are secondary? If you don’t think of this ahead of time, you may forget to ask important questions while meeting a potential candidate face-to-face.
2. Hiring Close Friends and Family
Use caution when interviewing and hiring friends and family of your current staff members. Remember that even if a candidate is someone you know personally, the same standards for interviewing, hiring and training should apply. Hiring qualified staff to fill a specific role is the first step to building an effective pharmacy team. Selecting an employee based on a personal relationship can be a big mistake.
3. Asking Prohibited Questions
You wouldn’t intentionally break the law during an interview, but it could easily happen if you haven’t been trained in human resources protocol. Some questions related to age, marital status, ethnic background or religious choices may come up naturally in conversation but can create a legal nightmare down the road. To avoid this, make a list of interview questions in advance, ensure they are compliant with the law and stick to your list during the interview.
4. Failure to Conduct a Background Check
When hiring pharmacy employees, trusting your instincts alone is a very dangerous practice. Carefully review the candidate’s resume and check their references before extending an offer. Search online for arrest records and double check their educational certificates. Investing the time necessary to call previous employers can save a lot of trouble down the road.
5. Too Few or Too Many Requirements
For best results, maintain a list of hiring criteria between about six and eight factors. Using less than six elements will make it difficult to eliminate unqualified candidates, while using more than eight requirements will make it difficult to find candidates who meet your standards. Finding the right balance of qualifications will allow you to develop an excellent pool of candidates to choose from.
6. Using Your Own Example as a Template
You’ve done a great job running your pharmacy, but that does not mean you should look for staff with the same traits to fill every role. When using yourself as a model, objectivity is lost and your vision is skewed. Using your own profile as a template for hiring is a major mistake that will result in personality conflicts and incorrect hiring.
7. Lack of Follow Up
An unprofessional hiring process can impact your reputation as a business. In some cases, you may decide to follow up with everyone who applies for a position, even if they are not selected for an interview. Regardless, following up with those who attend interviews should be mandatory. Providing honest and meaningful feedback as to why the person is not a great fit for the position will help them conduct a more productive job search. It will also help you, as a business owner, to build a positive and professional image in your community.
8. Drawing out the Application Process
Don’t assume that your candidates will wait a long time to hear back from you. If a potential employee is actively engaged in a job search, one or two weeks can be too long between rounds of interviews. While you are interviewing other applicants, your most outstanding candidate could be hired elsewhere.
Avoiding these eight mistakes when hiring new pharmacy employees will save precious time and money. If you are interested in learning more about hiring and training an outstanding pharmacy team, watch our free webinar, Hiring Your Best Pharmacy Team
Staff productivity is critical to any business, especially independent pharmacy. As a business owner, you may be confident about your own daily productivity, but what about your staff? Are you positive that you are getting maximum results for what you are paying them? Below are some of the things that you should be doing to improve your pharmacy staff performance:
1. Properly Train New Hires
The road to effective pharmacy staff is paved by smart hiring and training practices. The best employees are trained correctly and promptly from the beginning of their employment. It is important to maintain some uniformity. Each staff member should be provided with the same tools and expectations from day one.
2. Continuously Monitor Performance
After new employees complete a thorough training, the owner or manager should follow up regularly to provide performance feedback. It is important to put quantifiable measures in place and then review them at regular intervals. In many cases, business owners choose to conduct reviews every quarter. Whether the process is formal or informal, it is important for staff members to know that you will monitor them continuously.
3. Provide Motivation by Rewarding Performance
It is human nature to display better performance when oneis feeling happy, motivated and supported. To get maximum productivity from your staff, set up programs to motivate them. In addition to or instead of financial compensation, you may choose to reward your team with gift cards to their favorite restaurants or e-commerce websites. Do not underestimate the power of small gestures like handwritten thank you notes or public recognition for a job well done.
4. Set Reasonable Guidelines
Every business needs a set of guidelines for employees to follow and your pharmacy is no exception. It is important to set forth a group of carefully thought out rules without condescension. Remove any rules that are archaic or unnecessary and you may see an increase in workplace morale and productivity.
5. Make Work Fun
Nothing ruins productivity like feeling burnt out. In order to prevent burnout, make sure you allow your staff to have adequate time off to spend with friends and family. As a business owner or manager, you can make work more enjoyable by planning team building activities. Organize a team dinner or a family field day. Take the opportunity to reward staff and invest in their professional growth by sending them to out-of-town industry events
6. Manage Conflict Immediately
Personality conflicts, miscommunications, and misconceptions are inevitable in any workplace, but your employees will be unable to maximize their potential if they are distracted. As a manager, you have a responsibility to provide a positive workplace environment by effectively managing conflict as soon as it arises. When employees feel like you have their best interests at heart, they will be able to function at their highest level.
7. Maintain Open Communication
Communication is key in any relationship, including business. You cannot hold a staff member accountable for what they have not been told, so effective communication is critical to pharmacy business success. All of your employees need to know exactly what is expected of them and who to speak with when they encounter challenges.
8. Monitor Computer Usage
The computer is one of the most beneficial resources ever added to the pharmacy industry. We use the internet for research, billing, marketing, record keeping and more. However, computer and internet usage can squash productivity when not managed properly. During the new employee training process, be sure to set parameters for the use of company computers.
9. Offer Flexible Schedules
Some of your staff may be early risers who are most productive in the morning, while others would prefer to work an evening shift and stay up late. Your business may require an overnight shift for stocking new products, but that shift will not be appropriate for everyone. Find a way to schedule your employees during a time that is best for them. Scheduling an employee at a time when they are naturally most productive will help optimize performance.
Motivating a staff with diverse skills and talents can be challenging, but following these nine steps can help ensure that you get the best possible performance from each of them. If you’re looking for more ways to increase your pharmacy’s profits and optimize staff productivity, we would love to help. Among other things, our business advisors are specially trained to help you empower your staff, improve store culture, identify new niches and implement new programs. Click here to request a free business assessment
If you’re worried that showing appreciation to your employees means providing expensive benefits and outlandish gifts, think again! There are plenty of ways to acknowledge hard work and dedication without breaking your budget:
- Introduce an Employee of the Month ProgramAsk your team to nominate and vote for a colleague who deserves special recognition. This kind of collaborative acknowledgment goes a long way toward making employees feel appreciated. To be the most effective, ask staff members to provide specific reasons for their nomination. Then, present the award at a staff meeting. Designate space for the employee of the month photo on the pharmacy wall, so customers can participate in recognizing those who provide excellent service. Patients will be excited to realize that a person who fills their prescriptions on a regular basis is this month’s superstar.
- Implement a Urock ProgramLike a rewards program for a supermarket, the Urock program distributes points to employees for any positive behaviors, such as punctuality. Points may be redeemed for small prizes, gift cards or sought-after privileges like an extra vacation day or a longer lunch break. The introduction of such a program can energize employees and provide a tangible goal to work toward.
- Celebrate AchievementsPlan a surprise celebration for an employee or a team of workers who excelled in a certain task or successfully completed a difficult project. The celebration doesn’t need to be expensive or elaborate – play music and provide ice cream or throw a pizza party. The employees you recognize will be delighted that their work was noticed and appreciated.
- Recognize Your Employees’ Personal AccomplishmentsYour employees are much more than pharmacy staff. Work/life balance has become a huge priority for American workers in recent years, so your staff will be thrilled to know that you acknowledge major milestones in their personal lives. Maybe a member of your staff recently completed their first marathon, got married or donated blood to theRed Cross. They will enjoy your recognition of personal accomplishments, even if it’s a simple announcement at your next staff meeting.
- Write a Formal Letter
This a simple, free and heartfelt method for recognizing awesome employees. Write a letter or card explaining in detail why you appreciate their hard work. Deliver a copy to the employee and place a copy of the letter in the employee’s file.
- Set Up a Suggestion Program
This can be as simple as setting up a suggestion box or as thorough as completing a company-wide survey. Ask for ideas on everything from building employee morale to improving inventory procedures. Employees who believe that their opinions and ideas are taken seriously are more likely to feel invested in your pharmacy’s success.
Recognizing your team doesn’t have to be elaborate or costly. With so many easy-to-implement ways to acknowledge your staff, there’s no reason for any pharmacy employee to feel invisible or underappreciated. As the owner, you can use these six methods to foster a supportive, productive workplace that will make your pharmacy more enjoyable for everyone. As your staff morale improves, your customer service will inevitably follow suit.
Introducing new processes in your pharmacy can be intimidating whether it’s for an employee of the month or a new synchronization program. Luckily, we’ve put together an eBook outlining the best course of action to implement any new program in your pharmacy. Click here to access the free eBook, “The Pharmacy Owner’s Guide to an Exceptionally Effective Implementation”
Staff meetings are an important part of running any business successfully, yet many employees report that they dread them. Pharmacy meetings should never be thought of as boring or a waste of time. On the contrary, meeting time with your team should leave your employees feeling excited and empowered to do their very best work.
Here are 5 ways to run more efficient and effective pharmacy team business meetings:
1) Keep Meetings Brief
Sixty minutes is generally the longest amount of time that workers can remain truly engaged, so do not schedule meetings over an hour if you can avoid it. If you regularly run the meetings and have a reputation for being someone who keeps meetings brief, you will be amazed at how many employees will make every effort to attend and give you their full attention.
2) Only Invite Essential Personnel
Before scheduling a mandatory meeting, consider who needs to attend. When people feel that what’s being discussed isn’t relevant to them, they view their attendance at the meeting as a waste of time. If you’re announcing a change, invite the people who are affected by the announcement. If you’re trying to solve a problem, ask the people who will be good sources of information for a solution. There are certainly times when it is important to invite the entire staff to a meeting, but those are probably few and far between.
3) Commit to a Schedule
Write down exactly what needs to be discussed and assign a length of time to each topic. Print and distribute the schedule or place it on a screen. This will keep attendees focused on you and prepared for upcoming topics instead of wondering how long the meeting will last and scrambling to respond when it’s their turn to speak. Most importantly, once you’ve created a schedule for your meeting, make sure you stick to it. Your staff will appreciate your efforts to respect their valuable time.
4) Limit Meeting Hijacking
Nothing derails a meeting faster than one person is talking more than his or her fair share. If you notice someone monopolizing the conversation, put an end to it immediately. You can do that by saying, “we appreciate your contribution and would like to hear input from others before making a decision.” Establishing ground rules early on will create a framework for how your employees will respond during your meetings.
5) Recap at the End
Spend the last five to ten minutes of the meeting recapping decisions and discussing action items. If only managers and supervisors attended the meeting, be clear about what information should be disseminated to each of their respective departments.
When done correctly, meetings can be an integral part of increasing productivity and building an exceptional pharmacy culture. If you’re looking for more ways to empower your staff, develop new leadership skills as a pharmacy owner or identify profitable new niches, PDS can help!
Talk to a pharmacy expert today. It’s the easiest way to get immediate, personalized advice for transforming your business.
As the owner of an independent pharmacy, you need to make sure your staff is properly positioned and trained, so they can deliver top-quality service to your customers. The first thing you need to do is to hire excellent people who believe in your company and share your values. Then, you must provide an environment where they can improve their skills. It isn’t enough to hire capable candidates and put them to work. As an outstanding employer, you will get the most from your staff when you empower them and learn to develop their existing talents. Fortunately, getting proper training in place may be easier than you think. Here are 5 ways to train your pharmacy employees:
1) Hire an External Consultant
With your everyday workload, training new hires may seem too time-consuming. For this reason, many pharmacy owners opt to hire a consultant or HR rep to come in and do the training process on their behalf. Having a productive staff will pay for itself in the long run, so it’s a good idea to keep the big picture in mind when considering this financial investment.
2) Provide Online Resources
As an alternative to hiring an external consultant, supplying your staff with online tools is a very cost-effective solution.Webinars and training videos bring the external consultant to you, often free of charge or for a nominal fee. With the flexibility to complete them whenever and wherever you want, online trainings can also be a great way to keep current staff engaged and up-to-date.
3) Setup Mentoring Relationships
Positioning new hires to be trained alongside your most trusted, seasoned veterans is a great way to introduce them to company processes. Since mentoring is such a powerful form of job training, your new talent can quickly gain valuable knowledge, attain new skills and learn best practices as they apply to your business. It can also increase and expand employee relationships, ensuring that a new person will experience a seamless transition onto your pharmacy team.
4) Encourage In-House Trainings
When an employee attends anexternal seminar, training or industry conference, company policy should dictate that the employee will relay the information they learned to the rest of the team. A brief, in-house training session will allow staff members to take ownership of what they learned, while promoting employee development and the dissemination of new ideas.
5) Start a Book Club
A book club is a great way to promote employee development and idea sharing. Combining the book club with a regularly scheduled staff meeting will ensure participation and allow your team to apply new concepts immediately. Ask one employee to choose the book and lead the discussion, while other team members collaborate in open dialogue. Here is a list of book topics that may be helpful for your pharmacy staff, both at work and in their personal lives:
- Improving Customer Service Skills
- Budgeting and Finances
- Developing Leadership Skills
- Understanding Government Regulations
- Accepting Change
- Learning about New Computer Programs
- Developing Highly Effective Habits
Training your staff properly is one of the most important things you can do to keep your pharmacy running smoothly and profitably. A huge mistake pharmacy owners make is thinking that employee training is a one-time event. Don’t forget – if you want to stay ahead of the competition, both pharmacy employees and owners need to learn and grow constantly. This industry is always evolving. The choice is yours – will you keep up with the changes or get left behind?
The best way for an independent pharmacy owner to remain on the cutting edge is to attend the industry-leading conference. The 2016 Independent Pharmacy “Together Toward Tomorrow” Conference will provide the most up-to-date information on industry trends, as well as the best training for pharmacy owners and team members alike.
Pharmacy ownership shares many traits with more traditional business ownership. While every industry has it’s own niches, nuances, and problems, everyone can relate to the struggle of staffing their companies. Offering a candidate a fair wage and a free uniform is no longer enough. Many workers view their jobsas more than a paycheck and rather something they and even . You’ll never find a more productive, loyal, and profitable employee than one who feels appreciated, needed, and is genuinely happy to come to work.
According to a survey conducted by the staffing firm Manpower Group, nearly two-thirds of the American workforce are not happy with their current jobs. That’s two-thirds of employees who dread going to work, dislike their boss, and more often than not, make it blatantly evident to customers. Think about the last time you had poor service – did it make you want to go back?
You naturally want your staff to love working for you and research shows that you’re justified in seeking ways to make this happen. Here are five ways to create employee satisfaction and turn your employees into brand ambassadors who love your customers:
Be Willing to Step In
As a company owner, you must be willing to get your hands dirty. Your time is ultimately best spent operating your pharmacy, but opportunities will arise that will allow you to lead your team in the best way eg; by example. Your team members need to know that you can and will step in and provide support when they need it. Leading by example creates an environment where everyone is willing to pitch in and help no matter how hard the job is. This technique will create a culture of accountability and mutual support and will help propel your business toward greater success.
Define Pharmacy Goals
Defining goals doesn’t automatically sound like something that would cause your employees to love you, but a simple display of forward-thinking shows them how much you care about them. When a company sets, strives for, and achieves their goals, everyone wins. Devoting the time to create a business roadmap will help create an environment of security. An owner who cares enough to keep their eye on the horizon is one that deserves the loyalty of his staff.
Create Continuous Improvement Plans and Education
The vast majority of people don’t come to work every day to fail, or to feel like they’re failing. Develop personal growth strategies for all of your employees, but especially those who are facing difficult times personally or professionally. Be clear about what you need from them while they’re on the clock, but lead with empathy. If an employee needs additional training, resources, or a little more time and you believe they can become a valuable asset, help them. When things turn around for them, they’ll be one of your most loyal employees.
For your employees who excel, foster continuous education plans for them. Develop career tracks that allow them to train for higher positions. Investing in their future is investing in your future.
Be Diligent About Hiring
The single greatest asset your pharmacy has is your staff. Show them how much you appreciate them, by being diligent during your hiring process. Take into consideration how a candidate would fit in with your current team dynamics. Do they have the skills your team needs right now? You may not always make the right decision, but the mere fact that you carefully vetted candidates will earn you the respect of your employees.
Never Stop Showing Gratitude
Yes, you pay them a fair wage for a day’s work. But, you should always be grateful for the excellent team you have. Don’t simply take your rockstar employees for granted, thank them. Show them your gratitude, let them know that you appreciate and need them. Beyond money or fancy gifts, employees want to know that they are making a difference in your pharmacy and their community. Tell them, show them and do it often.
Creating a culture of happiness in the workplace starts with you, the pharmacy leader. If you put the right framework inplace, you are setting yourself and your pharmacy up for success. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty, work alongside your team, and clearly define team goals. Offer career advancement opportunities, avoid hiring the wrong people, and show your team that they are appreciated and valued. Follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way to creating an enjoyable work environment and being an admired pharmacy owner.
Interested in making some changes in your pharmacy to create a better work environment? Download our free ebook The Pharmacy Owner’s Guide to Exceptionally Effective Implementation
“Culture” has become a huge buzzword in business lately, and it’s hard to ignore its importance in your pharmacy. From higher employee retention to more satisfied customers, cultivating a strong culture in your pharmacy can no longer be an idea, but a mission. Everyone has their own definition of what it means to have a successful company culture, and there’s no right or wrong when it comes to defining a culture that works for your store.
The good news is that you don’t need to be a Fortune 500 company to define and cultivate a great culture. You don’t need to have a slide in your pharmacy or give away lunches every day either. Although these extra perks are nice and often feel like a a great assets, they can distract you from building a true lasting culture.
Your pharmacy’s culture is your vision of who you are, how you treat your employees and customers, and all that you strive to become. It’s what makes you a desirable employer, and it’s what compels people to work for your pharmacy.
If you’re looking to build your pharmacy culture from the ground up, here are four tips to follow:
Create a Compelling Vision
There’s a good chance that you have all of these ideas in your head, so be sure and get them down on paper and define your vision. Putting your vision in writing will make it successful, allowing your team to have a reference point of what they’re working toward. The goal of a vision statement is to define your pharmacy’s purpose. It also provides direction and inspiration for your employees, and serves as a guide for your culture. Your vision statement should be short, memorable, and concise.
Determine Your “Why”
It’s not enough to define what you do. You also need to understand why you do it. If your business exists solely to make money, your employees won’t stand behind you for long. Your “why” is your passion behind your business and the reason you wake up every morning to go to work. It’s the reason you do what you do. It’s important that you determine your “why” and convey it to your team. Your “why” should benefit your company and your community. If you have a strong enough “why”, you will attract passionate employees who want to help you fulfill your company’s purpose.
Set the Tone with Your Leadership
In the beginning, your pharmacy’s culture is mostly shaped by how you and other leaders in your pharmacy act. It’s important that your leadership team embodies everything you want your company culture to be. If teamwork is important, it’s essential that your leaders actually work as a team. If transparency is important, your leaders need to be transparent, even when it’s difficult or uncomfortable. Culture starts at the top and works its way down to your team. If you don’t embody your pharmacy’s culture, you can’t expect your team to embody it either.
Communicate your values, vision, and culture both internally and externally. It’s important that your team not only understands your culture but also knows why it’s important. Be transparent with your employees about your expectations. Reward those who work to advance and embody your culture, and be honest with those who don’t. The only way that your entire team will be able to understand your culture is if you communicate with them openly and honestly, every step of the way.
Building a strong culture in your pharmacy isn’t something that happens overnight. It takes time to craft your vision statement and to explain your vision and culture to your team. However, by following the four tips above, you will be able to build a stronger culture in your pharmacy.
Want to learn more about building your pharmacy’s culture and running a successful pharmacy business? Register for our free webinar: The Roadmap to Pharmacy Business Success.
As an independent pharmacy owner, you will find that your pharmacy, like any other business, will go through periods of change or adjustment. These modifications to your business will be necessary for your pharmacy to grow and stay competitive, but they may be scary for your employees. Managing the fears of your personnel may be difficult and definitely not something you learned in pharmacy school. However, you don’t need a business degree to navigate the challenges ahead. Here are a few suggestions to help you and your team through a period of disruption:
Discuss the Changes
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to NOT communicate that change is coming. If your team doesn’t hear it from you, they may come up with their own version and spread inaccurate information. A change to someone’s job responsibilities should be explained professionally by a supervisor. Don’t let your valued employees hear gossip from their co-workers which will lead to confusion and possibly combativeness. Hold a meeting and articulate exactly what changes are coming and how this may affect your team.
During the meeting, share any details you can. This includes addressing the who, what, when, how and why. Eliminate as many unknowns as possible and you will eliminate worry and speculation.
Be Available for Questions
Even after you present your message clearly and professionally, your employees will most likely have questions. Be available for questions, and consider holding “office hours” each week where your employees can come talk to you. Listen to them with open ears and provide any additional information and reassurance your staff may need to accept the coming changes. Be prepared to answer any concerns as honestly as possible. Worries like “Will I still have a job?” and “Does this affect my salary” are merited, so don’t avoid the tough questions. Your employees will thank you for your openness and professionalism which will ease the transition for everyone.
Focus on the Positive
Any significant change comes with its own pros and cons. Be sure to convey the benefits of the change, and stay as positive as possible. If you remain upbeat and optimistic, your employees are more likely to follow suit. Is the change to a new computer system one that will simplify their job? Or is there a new process geared at making closing the pharmacy easier at night? Whatever the change may be, showcase how it will benefit your employees in their day-to-day routine.
Hold Training Sessions for New Programs
Everyone knows the change is coming. Now what? Your employees are much more like to willingly accept change if they feel prepared for it. Make sure to provide ample training and support to set your staff up for success. If the change is a new billing program, train them on how to use the software. If you are offering a new vendor service, ask the third party representative to come and explain the product to your team. Whatever it takes to educate them will be well worth it when all of your employees are learning new skills and improving production.
Reward Employees Who Take Charge
Some of your employees will naturally take to changes better than others. Reward them! Making an example of those that are doing what you expect is always a good idea, but in a period of change it is even more paramount. It may be a financial reward, extra time off from work, or simply verbal recognition. Whatever you decide the reward should be, make it meaningful for your staff and you’re much more likely to see others follow suit.
Regardless of what is changing, most people prefer to maintain the status quo rather than try something new. But a pharmacy, like any business, cannot remain stagnant. New computer software is released, new drugs come onto the market, and new laws go into place. You can’t change human nature, but you can make it easier for your staff to move from fear to acceptance during periods of transition. Looking for more helpful tips on how to implement change in your pharmacy? Download our free eBook “The Pharmacy Owner’s Guide to an Exceptionally Effective Implementation”