Your pharmacy business begins and ends with your people. As a Community Pharmacy, the numbers say that, on average, your people are probably unhappy. Let’s look at how to flip that script.
hands on a table signifying team culture

Get everyone bought in.

What do the numbers say about Pharmacy Culture?

  • Only 17% of Pharmacy Owners think every member of their pharmacy team operates with a unique set of values they want their pharmacy to be known for, according to our Perfect Pharmacy Scorecard.
  • Pharmacy technicians rate their career happiness 2.8 out of 5 stars which puts them in the bottom 15% of careers. (CareerExplorer.com)
  • Just 16% of the 2,694 pharmacy students in a joint study between Health Education England and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society chose community pharmacy over hospital pharmacy.

This doesn’t paint a great picture of working life in a Pharmacy. There’s clearly a disconnect between top and bottom. Pharmacy Owners want their teams performing better, and the teams just don’t seem motivated.

So many pharmacists we speak to cite being short-staffed as the main problem they’re dealing with right now. Couple that with Locum rates being so high, and there’s something of a staffing epidemic in Community Pharmacy.

Changing the narrative

Most pharmacies are currently in a vicious circle. The work is stressful, the employees get stressed and demotivated. A demotivated, depressing environment isn’t appealing for prospective new team members and so you end up stuck with the demotivated, overworked team.

What we want is a virtuous circle. Creating an environment where your pharmacy team loves working makes that environment appealing for job applicants.

So how do we move from that vicious circle to a virtuous cycle? Implementing culture that incorporates your team.

Creating your Pharmacy Culture

Building a positive culture in your Pharmacy team can have numerous benefits, including:

  • Improved patient outcomes
  • Increased job satisfaction amongst team members
  • Reduced staff turnover

Here are 7 steps for building a good team culture in your pharmacy:

1. Clearly define the values and goals of the team

What kind of pharmacy do you want to be?

Remember that values and Pharmacy Culture aren’t about what you do, it’s about the way you do it.

If your team understands and buys into the mission and values of the organisation, their performance aligns parallel.

Your culture comes from the top, from your passion as a leader. This means you need passion for your values! People follow leaders for their passion and because they align with their vision. You’re the driving force of your pharmacy.

Do you show up with passion and drive every day, and lead by example?

2. Foster open communication and transparency

Encourage sharing ideas, concerns, and feedback openly and honestly throughout your team. Giving people agency and control in their role both helps their sense of worth and productivity within your pharmacy.

Do this by sharing your own thoughts and visions for your pharmacy’s strategy with your team. Sharing begets sharing.

3. Show appreciation and give recognition

Let team members know that their contributions are valued and appreciated. This is as simple as saying thank you or recognising their efforts in team meetings, but make sure it’s sincere. This small gesture goes a long way.

4. Encourage personal and professional growth

Offer your team opportunities for developing their skills and advancing their careers. People invest in their own development. Offering development opportunities makes them invest themselves with your pharmacy.

5. Promote work-life balance

Help team members find a healthy balance between their work and personal lives. This can include offering flexible work schedules or providing resources to support employee well-being.

Naturally, if you’re already short-staffed, you might feel this is impossible. You need them to work, right?

You have options.

Investing in technology and automating your team’s most repetitive or time-consuming tasks is a major solution here.

Talk to your team, let them know you’re grateful for their efforts and, whilst it’s a struggle hiring locums and/or new staff, you’re investing in taking the pressure off them.

6. Foster a collaborative and supportive work environment

Encourage team members to work together and support one another. This can include things like providing opportunities for teamwork and building strong relationships amongst team members.

Again, lead by example on this.

The junior members of your team aren’t there to lend the senior members help exclusively – and often the junior members of the team are the ones who need the most help.

7. Lead by example

I’ve said this about three times already throughout this guide, because it’s critical to your culture.

As a leader, it is important to model the behaviour you want to see in your team.

If you never take a break, it makes your team feel like they can’t take a break. That’s not setting the right tone.

Being open and transparent, showing appreciation and respect for team members, and acting with integrity? That’s setting a great tone.


We understand that life in Community Pharmacy is usually high-speed, and can be very stressful. There are external influences that make the job harder e.g. drug prices or the GP surgery not sending a patient’s RX on time. These are not within your control.

However, your “culture” is within your control, and you have the power to shape and nurture that. It’s not easy, but the rewards make it worth it for you, your team and your patients.

This article was written by JP, our Brand Content Editor who has been with PM since the early days and has extensive experience in working with multidisciplinary teams, with the help of Saam, a pharmacist by trade and our CEO, and who has extensive experience in leading teams in both the pharmacy and digital worlds.

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LEARN THROUGH VIDEO

LEARN THROUGH READING

Reflection

What are we going to learn?

In this module, we’re going to learn about how to delegate effectively as a pharmacist in a team.

How and why is this learning relevant?

The ability to delegate well is such an important asset for a pharmacist and leader of a team because it can significantly improve productivity in all facets of work. However, mastering delegation isn’t easy. It’s a skill that requires practice, experience and time and is something that many pharmacists struggle with, particularly in the early stages of their career and when starting in a new working environment.

Delegation is an essential part of our work. If we can delegate most of the tasks that do not require our input, our work life will improve remarkably. In this module, I’m going to show you a system I have developed called the R.I.D system, R.I.D meaning getting RID of tasks, which when implemented, will always help you delegate more successfully.

Planning and Action

Why is this learning important?

Let’s break down why this learning is important for you, your colleagues, your patients and the organisation you work for.

Pharmacist – There are so many benefits for you as a pharmacist if you know how to delegate effectively. Delegating more of your tasks to others will free up your time in the pharmacy, reduce your workload and allow you to get things done quicker. It’s a leadership skill that can take you further personally and professionally.

Colleagues – By delegating tasks to your staff, it shows that you trust them to do the job and gives them more sense of responsibility. You’ll be upskilling your team and improving overall performance.

Patients – In a well-delegated team, workplace productivity is improved and this ultimately leads to better patient satisfaction. The happier, more organised we are at work, the better a patient is served.

Organisation – And finally, your organisation is gonna love you. You’ll be seen as a solid leader amongst your team which might open up other doors for you within the company.

What can we do to delegate more effectively?

Know your staff

Before I get into the details of the RID system, it’s worth mentioning this first. If you’re going into a new place of work and want to begin delegating quickly and effectively, the best way to do so is by getting to know your staff on a personal level first. It’s so much easier to delegate a task to a dispenser when you already have a relationship with them because a level of trust has already been established. This is a fantastic reference from CarnegieCoach.com which gives you guidance on how you can build bonds with your staff quickly.

Explain the “REASONS” why the task needs doing

The first part of the RID system is to explain the “reasons” why the task your delegating is important. Too often, a task is given to a dispenser with no background to it and therefore it is:

  • Less likely to be adhered to, and
  • Seen more as an “order” rather than a meaningful task

For example, let’s say you want to delegate the job of completing an annual complaints report for your pharmacy to Jen, one of your dispensers.

Instead of saying, “Hi Jen. I need you to create this report for me, please. This needs doing then that needs doing…”

You could say “Hi Jen. I have this task that needs doing. Now, the reason behind it is that as part of our Clinical Governance requirements for pharmacy, we need to submit all of our complaints to the NHS…”

Jen might turn around and ask more about what Clinical Governance is which is great! She’s clearly interested in the job, happy to learn more and purpose is being built around it.

Outline the “INSTRUCTIONS” involved

Once you’ve explained why the reasons behind the task, you need to give them specific instruction on how to complete it. So, going back to the previous example, once you’ve explained to Jen the reasons the report needs doing, you can say something like:

“To get this done, you need to go onto this site and collate all of the information on a word document as such”.

Write the steps down on a piece of paper if Jen finds it easier and make sure each action has been understood.

Give them a “DEADLINE”

And finally, you need to give them a deadline to get the task done. By giving them a time-frame, it gives the person more responsibility for the task. So once you’ve checked their understanding of the actions involved, you could say something like:

“Great. So, I was thinking this could be done for 3pm on Thursday which gives us time to look over it. How does that sound?”

By making the deadline a question, again, you’re giving them more responsibility and ownership of the task and you can both come to an agreement together.

Trust and Support

One more thing to add here is the importance of trusting them to do the work and making sure they know you’re there for support only. Don’t keep checking up or peering over them to make sure they’re doing it right. Let them get on with it and just be there on hand if they have any questions.

Evaluation

Delegation mastery is no easy feat. It requires practice, dedication and a commitment to make it a successful habit, but applying the principles above can help you achieve this. When you know how to delegate more effectively, your work becomes more enjoyable, your team will be more productive as a whole, and you’ll be developing such an important personal skill that can be transferred into all areas of your life.

If you’re new to delegation, then begin by delegating small tasks such as admin work for MUR’s or some other paperwork you may have, but always remember the principles in this module.

Question time…

  • What problems do you have when delegating to others?
  • Do you have any tips about how to delegate better?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below and if you found this module useful, it would be great if you could share it with your colleagues.

Thanks for visiting and see you in the next learning module!

Saam