Having already achieved outstanding results in improving patient outcomes through embedding continuous quality improvement, Langpark Medical Centre in Melbourne knew to maintain retention of high quality staff it was time to focus on improving staff morale and internal communication.
With a multi-disciplinary team consisting of nine GP’s, five practice nurses and administrative staff, the team engaged the services of the Improvement Foundation’s personalised quality improvement coaching service, qiCoach, designed to accelerate growth and improve business and patient outcomes. The qiCoach conducted a diagnostic assessment of their organisational efficiency, clinical activity and financial performance. Zeroing in on improving staff morale and retention, the practice team and the qiCoach worked to improve staff performance reviews. Varied methods had been trialled ranging from documented performance appraisal templates, balanced score cards to no reviews, however each method came with data inconsistencies and shortcomings.
The qiCoach outlined the practical steps to produce immediate results and long term changes; additionally the team had access to the Improvement Foundation’s online tools and resources to help with organising, measuring and tracking their activities. The qiCoach helped the team focus on implementing a new solution that was tailored to their unique needs.
Staff had raised concerns in previous reviews regarding interruptions from their work place and lack of privacy to freely voice their feedback, so a one on one coffee and chat performance review system was implemented. The manager now takes each staff member to a local café where an informal discussion takes place that is guided by a set list of questions covering job satisfaction,
training needs, and management support.
Positive feedback has been received from staff about the new process and additionally the team, excited by the new format came up with further ideas for internal improvement including:
- Changing the structure of team meetings to include an element of staff training
- Providing targeted training geared to individual rather than group needs
- Making an effort to give positive feedback on a consistent basis
- Ironing out small things that can be irritating to some – but are easily fixed
Team leaders ensure that there is adequate staff coverage so that the meetings can be held offsite without any interruptions. The meetings are relaxed and informal with the manager taking any constructive criticism on board and solutions to issues are brainstormed together giving staff ownership of the outcomes The chats are an opportunity for staff to have their say in a non-threatening environment and staff are encouraged to mention small things that annoy them that can be easily fixed, and this has resulted in very positive feedback from staff. In fact, staff now are asking team leaders when they can have their next performance appraisal.