December 29, 2020
Inside: Happy employees are productive employees — use these tips to make your pharmacy work environment great.
You want your pharmacy to be a place employees look forward to going to every day.
Happy employees are good employees. If your staff members are dreading the hot and stuffy pharmacy workspace or the unnecessary stress caused by poor communication, they won’t be able to focus fully on their duties and they won’t be motivated to be productive.
Set your employees up for success by taking these steps to create an enjoyable, low-stress work environment.
While you may like the look of every employee wearing the same pharmacy-branded polo shirt and khaki pants, your staff members will feel a little more relaxed when they have some flexibility.
Harvard Business Review points out that employees can feel stifled by strict norms in the workplace, so think of ways you can accommodate your staff members’ individuality. Relaxing your dress code is a great first step — if a pharmacy tech wants to have pink hair or a pharmacist prefers jeans to dress pants, it won’t change their job performance.
You can still set rules for safety and professionalism, like requiring closed-toed shoes and banning ripped clothing or ratty t-shirts, but giving your employees room to express themselves will make them happier while they are on the job.
Consider improvements you can make to the workspace that will make your employees more comfortable. If the work environment is causing aches and pains, your employees are going to be more irritable and less productive.
Here are a few ideas on how to improve physical comfort:
Don’t forget to implement policies that nurture your employees’ mental health as well as physical health. Be generous with your break time, and encourage staff members to take a walk outside or just leave the pharmacy while they are on their break.
Have mental health resources at the ready for staff members who are stressed or feeling burnt out.
It’s difficult for employees to feel comfortable on the job when the manager is constantly looking over their shoulder, double-checking their every move. That’s why you need to give up the micromanaging habit.
A two-year study from the University of Birmingham found that workers were much happier when they had autonomy in their work. Your staff members want to be able to make decisions based on their own judgment, rather than running to check with the manager.
If you are a chronic micromanager, it will probably be difficult to let go of control, but remember that if you’ve trained your employees properly, they should have no problem completing their job without hearing a running commentary from you.
In order to create a great pharmacy environment, you have to put the right people in the right positions.
That starts with taking the time to hire the best person for the job. A thorough hiring process involves posting jobs in multiple places, so you can attract as many high-quality candidates as you can. Involve current employees in the interview process as well — they might see something in a candidate that you didn’t.
Once you’ve made a great hire, set them up for success. Give them thorough training so they can be confident in the job and look for opportunities for them to grow. If you see a front-end employee that has the potential to be a great manager or pharmacy tech, nurture that. When you invest in them, they will invest in you in return.
When people are in jobs they are well-suited for, morale and productivity both get a boost.
Poor communication can be a serious source of stress for employees, so for a better work environment, improve your communication.
Communicate often, and be specific. Employees aren’t mind readers, and if you give vague instructions, your staff could be left feeling frustrated and out of the loop.
Remember that communication is a two-way street, so work to build rapport and be authentic. When you build good relationships with employees, they should feel comfortable coming to you when issues arise. When that happens, listen carefully and don’t cut them off or try to guess what the staff member is going to say next.
It’s also crucial to realize that not everyone communicates the same way. Make an effort to learn each staff member’s unique communication style and tailor how you deliver your messages to them.
For a sense of camaraderie in your workplace, make sure your employees have a shared purpose. Start with vision and mission statements that make it clear what the pharmacy’s values are, then set goals based on those values.
These goals should be public, so all your employees know what they are working to achieve. Use the SMART goal method to develop goals that are realistic and achievable.
Then, make it clear to each employee how their job duties fit into the bigger picture of the pharmacy’s goals. If employees know that what they are doing day-to-day has a higher purpose, duties that could feel like a rote task will have new meaning. In turn, they will feel more satisfied and accomplished with their work.
When your staff meets pharmacy goals or even just get through a particularly stressful time with grace, celebrate with your employees. Praise the accomplishment, throw a party, or give staff a small token of appreciation. Marking the occasion with genuine enthusiasm lets employees know that their efforts weren’t in vain.
Also remember to recognize accomplishments by individual staff members. When you praise someone’s good work, make sure you do it in public, so others can give congratulations as well.
Make it a habit to compliment and celebrate small wins as well as the big ones, and create a culture of praise in the pharmacy. That is the kind of work environment staff members want to walk into every day.
PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy side of their business. The member-owned company serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, expert contract negotiations, proprietary purchasing tools, distribution services, and more.
An HDA member, PBA Health operates its own NABP-accredited (formerly VAWD) warehouse with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products.
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