(HealthDay News) — Managing staff is a learned skill, and one for which physicians are often ill-equipped. An article published Sept. 25 in Medical Economics lays out some practical tips and advice for motivating staff to excel.

Author H. Christopher Zaenger, C.H.B.C., points out first of all the necessity of adequate infrastructure. A practice should have clean furnishings, working phones, and other systems; reasonable flow and function; and written personnel policies and procedures as well as a position list and job descriptions.

New hires should be thoroughly trained and oriented by a skilled staff member, and problems should be addressed in private with the goal of helping the employee succeed. Motivation takes different forms for different employees; new computers, flex time, and consistently saying “thank you” may mean as much to some staff members as a raise.

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Ultimately, it is up to the practice owner to create a creative and pleasant work environment that benefits physicians, staff and patients alike, Zaenger notes.