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.
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.