A new Harvard Business Review blog post spotlights the benefits of friendships between team members in increasing employees’ commitment to their work and their organization’s mission. A wide range of organizations — from Southwest Airlines, to Google, to Zappos — were noted as examples of companies that had achieved a high degree of comradeship, even a family-like culture, by instilling a sense of shared mission and purpose. In turn, this creates higher performance and lower turnover — not to mention a workforce that gets excited about showing up every day and contributing.
The idea that a shared mission can enhance teamwork and performance is great news for medical practices! Employees are often drawn to the healthcare field because they share a sense of service to patients. This common sensibility gives practices a big head-start on building bonded teams.
Choosing employees who connect with your practice’s culture and mission — whether it be integrative medicine, leading-edge research, superstar surgery, sports medicine, community service, a high-touch, concierge model, or any other defining practice identity — is the first step to creating a team that gels naturally. From there, the key is allowing teamwork and bonds to form, and encouraging them as they develop. Creating projects that allow staff to participate actively in extending your practice’s objectives — special clinics, marketing programs, patient satisfaction goals, etc — is a great way to extend and build on natural connections between team members. Be sure your team feels they have both the means to contribute to the mission and a voice, and you’re on your way to creating the esprit de corps that is a hallmark of a high-functioning team.