Getting the most from your staff is integral to the success of your practice. To do so, you must treat staff members with respect, advises Gautam Sehgal, managing director of Reach Recruitment in Toronto.

Recognize that each individual is a valuable member of your team who makes a unique contribution to the growth of your business, he adds.

You should not see your staff as a “necessary evil” or as a means to an end, but rather as individuals who perform roles that are required for the efficient operation of your practice.

For example, Sehgal says, as the leader of the team, viewing junior staff as peers rather than subordinates and involving them in team activities can demonstrate your respect for them.

“Just because someone is ‘junior’ doesn’t mean they don’t have a perspective.” he says.

“In the majority of cases,” Sehgal adds, “staff are not necessarily looking for bigger paycheques. They want to be challenged and be given the opportunity to grow.”

This approach will provide them with job satisfaction, which will in turn motivate them to always be at the top of their game.

Here are some tips to help you get the most from your staff:

> View staff as an asset
Refrain from looking at your staff as a cost. Instead, see them as an investment in human capital that will pay dividends over time. The more you invest in your staff, the greater will be their contribution to your practice.

You can invest in your team through training, personal development programs and other initiatives that support their well-being. What you get out of your team is usually directly proportional to the investment you make in them.

> Set clear goals
Ensure that each staff member has a job description that defines his or her duties and responsibilities so that there is no uncertainty about what they should be doing.

Give them periodic feedback, so they know whether they are meeting your expectations. You also should ask them where they see themselves over certain time frames. This will motivate them to work toward their goals as well as yours.

> Collaborate with your staff
Set an example by working alongside team members and mentoring them to grow in their roles. Collaborate with staff instead of dictating to them, Sehgal says.

Mentoring should be embraced as part of the team culture, Sehgal says, with “guidance from the top.” You can provide intangible benefits, such as flexible working arrangements, or enable staff to participate in working groups or think tanks, through which they can learn from each other.

> Recognize contributions
Make employee recognition part of the culture of your practice. Recognition can be provided in various forms and at an individual or a team level.

“Recognizing staff contribution – even if it simply means saying, ‘well done’ or ‘good job’— can motivate them to perform,” Sehgal says. Recognition is not always about financial rewards, he says. It’s about letting team members know that their contribution is valued.

> Provide competitive compensation
While money is not the main driver of staff performance, Sehgal says, you should offer a competitive compensation package that is in line with industry standards. Staff are generally aware of what their peers make in other companies.

This is the first part of a two-par series on getting more from your staff. Next: Sharing your vision and goals with your team members.

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