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Maximizing Team Performance in Community Health Centers


This article complements our latest webinar, featuring key panelists Scott Rosenthal of NEO Health and M. Jayson Meyer of Synergy Billing. To watch the webinar on demand, click here.

In the realm of Community Health Centers, the importance of team performance cannot be overstated. These centers serve as crucial pillars of healthcare access for underserved populations, and the effectiveness of their teams directly impacts the quality of care provided. Even these vital centers in our communities have not been immune to a major challenge much of the country is facing today: The Great Resignation.

The Challenge

The Great Resignation, a term coined to describe the significant increase in job resignations during the COVID-19 pandemic, saw a record number of people leaving their jobs. In November 2021 alone, a record number of 4.53 million Americans quit their jobs. Over a certain period, nearly 33 million people left their positions, which is over a fifth of the total U.S. workforce. It has never been more challenging to recruit, retain, and engage employees, especially in a nonprofit environment.

All too often, the non-profit tax status of an FQHC is misunderstood by its employees. Not-for-profit is a tax status, not a business strategy. When employees misunderstand the concept of not-for-profit, they are less concerned with costs, budgets, and productive output. How can FQHCs stay true to their mission while maximizing the productivity, motivation, and success (and retention) of their team?

Let's dive in.

Finding the Right Team Balance for Community Health Centers: Attracting, Retaining, and Engaging Employees

Images (Website)At the heart of every successful CHC lies a team that is not only skilled but also deeply engaged in the organization's mission and values. Vision is key to attracting and retaining such individuals. Fine-tuning the organization's vision, mission, and values ensures that employees are not just working for a paycheck but are driven by a shared purpose, leading to increased engagement and productivity.

So, let's talk about employee engagement. In 2019, the Harvard Business Review published an article on employee engagement called "Why Are We Here?" This article was rooted on the notion that purpose is the key to motivation and that motivated employees are what makes a company thrive. Making those things click can come with finetuning your center's values. Therefore, when thinking about your FQHC's' key vision and values, here are some questions to consider:

  1. What are our core values?
  2. What is our core focus?
  3. What is our 10-year target?
  4. What is our marketing strategy?
  5. What is our three-year picture?
  6. What is our one-year plan?
  7. What are our quarterly rocks?
  8. What are our issues?

Other tactics for retaining top talent could include creating a supportive work environment, offering opportunities for professional development, and promoting open communication. Moreover, understanding the difference between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation is crucial in shaping recruitment and retention strategies. While competitive compensation and benefits are important extrinsic factors, targeting mission-driven individuals who resonate with the organization's purpose fosters a deeper level of commitment and engagement. 


Productivity Metrics and Benchmarks: Assessing Performance and Enhancing Operational Efficiency

Images (Website) (1)Productivity metrics serve as invaluable tools for evaluating team performance and identifying areas for improvement. Determining if an employee is productive involves measuring their performance against specific, intentional goals. Productivity can mean different things to different employees. The more aligned an employee is with the mission of a company, the more "vested" and productive they tend to be.

Adopting a thoughtful approach to coaching conversations, such as using the G.R.O.W. method (Goal, Reality, Options, Way Forward), enables managers to provide targeted guidance and support to their teams.

  • Grow: What are you trying to achieve? Why is this important to you?
  • Reality: What is your current situation? What obstacles are you facing?
  • Options: What options do you have? What are the pros and cons of each option?
  • Way Forward: Which option is best for you now? How will you measure success?

Additionally, identifying key performance indicators (KPIs) specific to CHCs allows for a more nuanced evaluation of performance. Benchmarking against industry standards provides context and highlights areas where improvement is needed. Implementing systems for tracking and analyzing productivity data empowers organizations to make data-driven decisions and implement strategies to enhance operational efficiency.

And don't be afraid to think outside of the box when it comes to operational efficiency. ​​Incentive compensation can increase productivity and employee motivation. The most effective incentives reward both individual contributions as well as team contributions.

Motivating Healthcare Teams: Understanding Intrinsic and Extrinsic Factors

Motivation plays a pivotal role in driving performance and fostering a culture of excellence within FQHCs. Understanding intrinsic motivation and aligning work with purpose and values is essential for cultivating a passionate and engaged workforce. In addition to intrinsic factors, offering competitive compensation, benefits, and incentives ensures that employees feel valued and recognized for their contributions. 

Intrinsic Motivation: 

  • Intrinsic motivation refers to engaging in an activity because it is inherently satisfying or enjoyable, and individuals find personal fulfillment from the activity itself.
  • The driving force behind intrinsic motivation comes from within the individual. People are motivated by internal rewards such as a sense of accomplishment, enjoyment, or personal growth. 

Extrinsic Motivation: 

  • Extrinsic motivation, on the other hand, involves engaging in an activity to earn external rewards or avoid punishment. In this case, the motivation comes from outside factors rather than from the activity itself.
  • Extrinsic motivators can include tangible rewards such as money, praise, or social approval, as well as avoiding negative consequences such as criticism or punishment.
  • While extrinsic motivators can be effective in driving behavior, they may not always lead to long-term satisfaction or sustained engagement, especially if the rewards are removed. 

Extrinsic motivation can be effective in the near term; however, intrinsic motivation has lasting effects. How can your team become more intrinsically motivated?

Promoting a culture of recognition and appreciation reinforces positive behaviors and motivates employees to strive for excellence. Providing opportunities for skill development and career advancement not only enhances employee satisfaction but also strengthens the organization's talent pipeline. Encouraging teamwork and collaboration fosters a supportive and cohesive work environment where employees feel empowered to achieve common goals. 

Motivation, Productivity, Success

Images (Website) (2)Maximizing team performance in FQHCs requires a multifaceted approach that addresses recruitment, retention, engagement, productivity, and motivation. By fine-tuning your vision, fostering a supportive work environment, implementing productivity metrics, and motivating your teams, leaders can enhance performance and ultimately improve patient care. It's time for health centers to embrace these strategies and unleash your full potential, from motivation to productivity to success and beyond.





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