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Spark ASC Staff Motivation & Culture: 3 Core Concepts

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A positive culture and motivated staff are essential to overall ambulatory surgery center success. Tracey Harbour, BSN, RN, administrator of Surgery Center of Pinehurst (N.C.) and Douglas Lutz, MBA, administrator of Lafayette (La.) Surgicare describe the process of creating a strong staff culture and maintaining motivation.

Build staff culture
From the front desk all the way to postoperative nursing, an ASC's staff will color a patient's entire experience. The culture of a successful ASC will have staff members prepared, and more than willing, to create the best possible environment. Traits to look for include:

•    Positive attitude
•    Strong work ethic
•    Team work
•    Caring attitude

TraceyHarbourA center's culture is contingent upon the people that work there. Finding the right people begins with the hiring process. "Ask the interviewees how they would respond to conflict, how they would deal with difficult co-workers and patients and try to determine if they are leaders or followers," says Ms. Harbour. "Also pay attention to what is not being said by the interviewee." Always check references to gain a comprehensive view of how a potential staff member would, or would not, contribute to a positive employee culture.

Listen to the staff
A motivated staff will feed on a positive environment and contribute to it, but culture cannot be dictated. Actively engage staff to understand how an ASC's culture works. Hold monthly meetings and encourage staff suggestions. Ask if they have everything they need to do their jobs to the best of their ability. "Offer words of praise for a job well-done and for good patient satisfaction scores," says Ms. Harbour. "Ensure pay is competitive and benefits are good."

Lines of communication between ASC leadership and staff should always be open. Any potential areas of staff dissatisfaction, which could lead to decrease in motivation, can be identified and rectified quickly.

Doug LutzEmpower staff members
A shared sense of responsibility is a powerful tool for inspiring motivation. "It has been my experience that facilities that incorporate some sort of employee engagement or advisory group have had far more success in addressing employee issues and creating an environment of trust and cooperation within the ASC," says Mr. Lutz.

Employee advisory groups, which include a staff member from each department in an ASC, discuss non-HR issues such as:

•    Employee engagement
•    Cost savings ideas
•    Suggestions for improvement submitted by staff members

The advisory group is able to communicate these issues and ideas to ASC leadership and spark change. "This type of employee involvement perpetuates a feeling of belonging, ownership and pride in the facility," says Mr. Lutz. "The feeling of pride translates into higher quality of care, happier employees and lower employee turnover."

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Eliminate Staffing Overlaps: 7 Strategies to Run a Lean ASC
Selling ASC Real Estate: 5 Things to Know for Flawless Transactions

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