Most physical therapists enter the field because they love working with patients and helping them receive the care that achieves their optimal health goals. It’s what they went to school for and it’s where their passion lies. However, the business side of running a private practice requires a different set of skills to master. As the owner of your private practice, it’s your job to build a strong company culture.
Sure, a healthy business is usually measured on revenue, amount of patients, returns on investments, etc., but this all starts in one place: With your people! Nurturing your staff to be happy, productive members of the team directly affects everything else about your business.
It’s no surprise then that a positive company culture helps you recruit and retain staff, increase employee satisfaction and reduce turnover, which improves your bottom line. Implementing these company culture tips in your physical therapy startup will pay huge dividends over time.
What Is Company Culture?
Company culture defines what it means to work at a particular business. This includes attitudes, vision, behaviors, and social norms of working for a given company. Salary, benefits, staff beliefs and attitudes, leadership style, and client interactions all play a role in the company culture at your physical therapy practice.
One thing to note: Company culture is not what you SAY it is, it’s what it ACTUALLY is. Meaning, you can say that your culture is strong, but if there’s a disengaged workforce actively creating a toxic environment and staff begin leaving, it’s clear your culture is the opposite.
A negative company culture doesn’t just decrease staff morale. It also increases burnout and turnover. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, the average cost to replace a salaried employee is 6 to 9 months salary. That means thousands of dollars lost, in addition to the time and money of finding and training new staff.
How to Improve the Company Culture in Physical Therapy Practices
Improving company culture in physical therapy practices is all about setting reasonable expectations and following through. As you begin to hire the best team for your physical therapy practice, consider the following company culture tips to improve your workplace:
- Have a vision and mission.
Every physical therapy practice needs a mission statement. This sets the framework for what you value and who you serve. Having a strong sense of mission keeps your staff members engaged with their work and ensures that they are enthusiastic about working for your company specifically.
- Set expectations for each employee.
Employees thrive on clear expectations and follow through. If you haven’t already, create standard operating procedures and a clear employee manual that defines expectations and consequences. This includes providing frequent and specific feedback to each employee, which is associated with better retention.
- Increase transparency.
It’s natural to want to keep some details to yourself as a business owner, but increasing transparency can go a long way toward improving company culture. Operating in secrecy breeds gossip and resentment. Be straightforward with your staff about your plans and the company’s future to keep them invested.
- Operate with high personal integrity.
As an owner, it’s your reputation on the line. The Center of Executive Excellence explains that the “Law of Imitation” proves that people mimic their leaders. Your actions, behavior and attitudes are replicated by your followers, which means you need to set an example for personal integrity and professionalism. Avoid any situation that could give the appearance of unethical or illegal behavior.
- Create opportunities for personal and professional growth.
Employees stagnate if not given opportunities for creativity and growth. In a small private practice, it’s your job to know each team member’s strengths and goals. Use this information to work collaboratively with each staff member to improve their skills. For example, front office staff might appreciate being given more managerial responsibilities, while a clinician may want to offer a new service to a different patient population. Overall, we’ve seen growth opportunities increase retention and job satisfaction.
Set Your Private Practice Culture Up for Success!
If you’re not sure where to start, sit down and sketch out a vision of how you want your physical therapy practice to look in 10 years. Think about the types of employees and atmosphere you want to cultivate. Use this to make changes to your current practice model to improve your company culture.
Our physical therapy practice management coaches are happy to schedule a free assessment to talk through those goals and develop a plan of action to see them through!