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”