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Creating and Sustaining a Workplace Culture for Your Group Practice

By Maureen Werrbach, LCPC on November 13, 2019
Creating and Sustaining a Workplace Culture for Your Group Practice - TherapyNotes with Maureen Werrbach

One of the greatest benefits of working in a group practice is the culture and the connections that clinicians can get make with their clients—and these are things that they may not get the chance to experience as a solo practitioner. A healthy workplace culture also seeps into the work that clinicians do with their clients in addition to the reputation that the group practice has in the community and the overall health of the business. So, how do we create a space for the clinicians in our practice that promotes a positive workplace culture, aligns with the vision of our business, and allows clients to connect with our practice on a deeper level than ever before?

It all starts with knowing the vision of your group practice. What is it that you want your staff, both clinical and administrative, to feel when they are in the office? What is the vibe—the essence that clients should feel when they step into the office? Start with writing a list of adjectives that align with what you want your group practice to feel like. This will help to get you on the right path of understanding what you need to do in order to create a space that emanates those cultural values for your clinicians.

Understanding your vision and the feel of your group practice is the first step. Next, you need to consistently model that culture. If you’ve figured out that your vision and the feel of your practice is down-to-Earth and family-based, then you may find that more frequent group case consultation meetings, staff outings, and the everyday actions of connection (like staff Starbucks runs or luncheons) will support that vision. If you know that your group practice vision is one of refinement, professionalism, and independence, it may look like a boutique space with professional attire, in-house guest expert training sessions, optional case consultation groups, and higher-tech gadgets for your clinicians.

The point is: once you figure out how you want your group practice to look and feel for the clinicians in your practice, the easier it’ll be to know what you need to do to bring that vision to life. The important thing to remember is that this is not something you build and let live. You have to model that culture every day. It’s easy to fall back into the old ways of doing things without the modeling and guidance of you and your team.

Once you’ve figured out the culture and vibe that you want your practice to embody, bring your team together to discuss that culture. Everyone needs to be on board and understand just what it means to model that culture. The Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni is a great book for helping you navigate tough discussions with staff members who are not modeling that culture.

Finally, from this point on, part of the hiring process must include discussions about the group practice culture and your candidates’ role in keeping that culture alive so that it doesn’t fall to the wayside. As I mentioned, culture doesn’t keep itself alive. It is on you to prioritize a positive culture by promoting activities and fostering discussions in the office. It’s important that every potential hire can play a role in modeling and improving that culture and to help the rest of your staff be successful in their pursuit of bringing your cultural vision to life.

Group practices that are clear in their cultural vision and promote that vision consistently bring in members of the community and clinicians from around the area that align with those ideas. You’ll find that clinicians will specifically seek out your practice because of the culture that you’ve created and the buzz that you’ve built around it.

* The content of this post is intended to serve as general advice and information. It is not to be taken as legal advice and may not account for all rules and regulations in every jurisdiction. For legal advice, please contact an attorney.
Maureen Werrbach, LCPC

About Maureen Werrbach, LCPC

Maureen Werrbach, LCPC, is a therapist and owner of Urban Wellness, a counseling group practice in Chicago. She started Urban Wellness in 2012, which has grown into a team of 20+ clinicians with multiple locations. Maureen is also the owner of The Group Practice Exchange (TGPE), a consulting business and platform for current and aspiring group practice owners. TGPE provides guidance for starting a group practice, as well as marketing, organizational structuring, business development, and leadership advice. Visit www.thegrouppracticeexchange.com for more.

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