How to Eliminate Staff Resistance to Change

There is a reason we get into private practice – it’s to live our dreams as business owners, and treat patients the way we know best.

Some Facts You Can’t Ignore

Fact, your physical therapy business private practice MUST be flexible and creative in how it generates new referrals, while maintaining the loyalty of your present and recently discharged patients.

Fact, to be competitive and to enjoy the freedom and financial rewards that consistent growth in your practice brings, you MUST routinely update your systems and workflow practices; implementing them quickly and in the most cost effective ways possible.

Fact, to exist as a private practice in 2013 and beyond, you MUST educate yourself and your staff on all of the latest governmental  policy changes, requirements and compliance deadlines.

Fact, as a private practice owner, you can ill-afford to neglect any of these things, nor take weeks or even months fighting an uphill battle with your staff to get them on board and implementing the vital changes necessary for your practice to not only survive, but to thrive in this Obamacare economy.

The Obamacare economy era has forced physical therapy business for private practice owners across the country to implement policy changes that affect the whole staff, in order to increase efficiency, streamline processes and to become compliant with new governmental regulations.

Added to this mix are often the unexpected and frustrating hurdles of communicating these changes clearly so that everyone understands the reasons behind them, as well as dealing with staff resistance to these important internal changes.

Reasons Why Staff Often Resists Change…

  • They don’t have a clear understanding as to why changes are being implemented and the beneficial impact these changes will have not only for the clinic, but upon themselves as well.
  • There is a failure to communicate upcoming changes in a clear and timely manner that can create a culture of skepticism and mistrust within the clinic. Once your staff loses trust in management, it is difficult to get it back.
  • Staff members are often intimidated by change. They usually have a very different view of policy and procedural changes than management, even if they will ultimately benefit from it.

Getting Your Staff To See Your Vision …

Getting your staff on board and motivated is essential to any successful implementation of new policies and procedures. Without it your practice could be in BIG trouble!

Quite simply, you must get your staff to change their habits and behaviors.

You must…

  • Explain clearly the rationale of any change and then keep everyone impacted by the change abreast of all developments.
    Communicate changes in terms of benefits to your staff. The benefits expected both for the practice and the individual need to be articulated clearly.
  • Have your staff involved positively in the design and implementation of any changes when possible. If staff are not engaged in change and instead have it ‘thrust upon them’, they are much more likely to resist it and respond negatively (peer pressure, or even the spreading of unfounded rumours).
  • Take the time to understand what people are really thinking and feeling. The key here is to understand the nature of the resistance. Give the affected staff member a reasonable voice in how and the timing of proposed changes to policies or procedures. If a staff member believes his or her voice means nothing they can shut down.

Human Nature

It is human nature to want to maintain the status quo. This is especially true if everything is working well. Without proper support from you, your office manager or clinical director, your staff will revert to their old and familiar ways of doing things because it is natural and easier for them.

Remember, gaining staff acceptance and compliance with the adoption of new policies and procedures stems from good internal communication so that people understand what is going on and how it applies to them.


P.S. Knowing how to minimize your staff’s resistance to internal changes within your clinic is just part of a very important equation. Smart private practice owners are staying ahead of the curve by attending webinars like the Obamacare Economy webinar series; exploring new software practice solutions like In Touch EMR and In Touch Biller Pro that help you to get paid more and faster.

Committed to your success,

Nitin Chhoda PT, DPT

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