Employee Engagement: How to Effectively Influence Your Pharmacy Team

To increase employee engagement, it is critical to persuade or “sell” your vision for the company to your team.

A Familiar Scenario:

You’ve completed an intensive, week-long business boot camp. During the boot camp, you’ve learned a new marketing strategy to increase your independent pharmacy’s sales. You’re excited.

You can’t wait to use this new marketing tactic to grow your business.

You say to yourself, “I’m going to tell my team about this right away so we can see results fast.”

You call a meeting and tell everyone about your new idea.

But, you’re met with blank faces and reluctant nods from your team. In other words: you didn’t move them.

“This sounds good, but I’m not sure this will work,” or “This strategy is very different from what we’re currently doing. Should we risk it?”

Does this sound familiar? We’ve all been there.

You have two choices: you can try to do everything on your own, or you can learn how to use influence buy-in from your team to execute on the strategy. This post will explain how you can use the persuasion principles of reciprocity, likeability, and authority by Dr. Cialdini to get your team on-board with your ideas.

Using Reciprocity to Engage Employees in Your Pharmacy

In general, people feel obliged to give or agree to your request, if you gave them something first. You can use this in your business by giving your pharmacy team gifts and other incentives such as paid time off or bonuses.

This doesn’t have to be monetary; the aim is to provide value to the lives of your pharmacy employees. After all, people tend to do more when they feel appreciated.

Here are some ways to give to your employees without denting your wallet:

  • Give advice or teach them something useful that they can take with them outside of your business.
  • Take the time to highlight how a new strategy lines up with the mission and values of the business. This will give your team a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
  • Instill a sense of autonomy and ownership of projects, whenever possible. This will give your employees a sense of control and accountability in their own work and in your company.
  • Print out business cards for your employees. You will be surprised how this simple gesture boosts pride and work fulfillment.

Most of the time, your team wants the same outcomes you do; healthy patients and a thriving business. When your employees realize that you value and reward their work, they’ll be more willing to listen to your ideas.

Leveraging Authority in Your Pharmacy Business

People turn to experts for advice on what to do.

For example, patients listen to doctors’ recommendations and prescriptions because they view them as an expert on the subject.

In your pharmacy business, you’re the expert. You’re the authority figure that your pharmacy team should look to when figuring out what to do next.

Here are a few examples of how you can effectively communicate your authority and build trust without crossing the line into abusing your power.

  • Present Yourself Well – Simply put, your appearance makes a difference. Small changes such as name tags or a uniform color scheme make a difference in the team dynamic. A great example is a uniformed police officer; a more subtle example is a waiter taking your order. Want your exceptional team to stand-out to your patients? Start with how they look when they come to work.
  • Lead By Example – Your team is looking to you for cues on everything from how you communicate with a challenging patient, to how you follow up on tasks. Asking your team to do something you won’t do yourself signals a lack of respect in your team dynamic. Want them to enter data in a specific way or manage a critical workflow carefully? Don’t just tell them, show them, and reinforce it by recognizing and rewarding positive behaviors.

Be respectful and polite, but also, don’t let anyone undermine your authority.

Be firm but fair and soon, you’ll earn your staff’s respect and they’ll be more receptive to ideas you might have.

Using the Principle of Likability to Get Others to Follow You

Ruling through fear might get you loyalty, but it’s cheap. When it’s time to make big decisions, it’ll become clear that your team will follow the motions, but you won’t have their complete buy-in. You’ll feel as if you’re swimming against the current whenever you introduce something new.

Sharing basic similarities and views with your team boosts your likeability factor. Applying this principle isn’t difficult, and if you run a business, you leverage it more than you realize.

For example, smiling and maintaining eye contact when you’re talking to your team or patient.

Complimenting someone means they’ll be more likely to respond positively to a request.

A referral from a trusted friend tends to carry a little more weight.

Improve employee engagement and the time you spend together by building connections. Ask your pharmacy employees about their families, their hobbies, and even how their day is going. Then, share something personal about yourself.

Remember, it’s much easier to like someone if you know things about them.

Showing interest in your pharmacy teams’ lives and building relationships with them will give you more influence and benefit your workplace.

Making the Most Out of Time with Your Pharmacy Team

As the owner, you’re responsible for the success of your pharmacy business. Considering we spend a tremendous amount of time in the workplace, learning to make the most of your time and how to motivate your team effectively is critical. Your team is the most sustainable competitive advantage in your organization.

And it’s your job to learn what makes them tick.

If you use these persuasion tactics, you’ll be able to influence your pharmacy employees and try new things faster than before. But, to maximize your business’s growth in 2019, you also need to learn how to use the other 3 persuasion principles of consensus, scarcity, and consistency.

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