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How to Support Exceptional Employees in Your Group Practice

By Maureen Werrbach, LCPC on January 24, 2019
How to Support Exceptional Employees - TherapyNotes with Maureen Werrbach

One of your most important duties as a group practice owner is supporting your staff. It not only helps the employees in your practice grow, but it also fosters a positive workplace culture, helps employees feel valued, and enables the practice to have a flow and cohesion that otherwise wouldn’t be there.

In the book Radical Candor, Kim Scott asserts that there are two types of exceptional employees in every business: rock stars and super stars. They both show up differently in a workplace and often are not supported in ways that best suit them.

Rock stars are just that—they are those rock-solid employees that you can count on. They are consistent, trustworthy, and get the work done. They have no desire to move up the ladder, have leadership roles, or start their own private practices. They enjoy the consistency of their work and thrive at it. Often, they're overlooked by their leadership because they are doing the work they are supposed to do, allowing leadership to focus on business management or other staff that need support. Rock stars in group practice look like clinicians who see clients (and need minimal supervision), come to work on time, get notes done in a timely manner, have good client retention, and follow (and know) all of your group practice’s policies and procedures.

Super stars are those employees that consistently go above and beyond. They see their clients, get their notes done, know and follow policies and procedures, but they go even further. They attend consultation meetings, market and network for the group practice, blog, and volunteer their time to things like when your group practice has a booth at a wellness expo. They tend to be the clinicians who come to you wanting to do more. Supervise. Assemble and run groups. Do speaking engagements in the community. Take the workload off of you. They also tend to be the clinicians who leave to start their own practice.

So how do you support these types of clinicians? And what should you not do?

One of the biggest mistakes that group practice owners (or any employer for that matter) makes is they either don’t offer growth opportunities to those that thrive for that upward movement or they provide upward movement to the wrong employees. Rock stars thrive in environments with consistency and stability, while super stars yearn for growth. Promoting a rock star that thrives in his/her current role may be wrong for both them and the business.

Group practice owners are often upset by staff who leave their practices, and although there are times that separation is due to a bad employment fit, a clinician often leaves the practice because group practice owners fail to nurture their staff or they provide growth opportunities to staff who aren’t a fit for that promotion.

Take a look at your staff. Talk to them about their professional goals. Listen to them. Are you hearing that they want more? Have they consistently been going above and beyond to help your group practice? Are you hearing that they feel content with the work that they are doing? Make a list of your employees under the category Rock Star or Super Star. Ask yourself, how are you nurturing each category? The beauty of business ownership is that you can create positions that support the growth of your super stars and supports your business. If you are looking for creative positions that give you support and help those super stars get their needs met, check out this article on creative positions in group practice.

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* 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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