What challenges do small practices face when trying to build a high-performing PT team?

March 2, 2022

It’s becoming increasingly important for small practices to use the same best practices as large practices as the landscape of physical therapy continues to evolve. Your patient experience, hiring practices and how you manage your PT team are all included in this.

Another challenge is finding a high-performing team that can help boost patient satisfaction. Clinic culture is built around making our patients feel like family, and you should expect anyone who works in your practice to embrace that concept. It’s challenging to find someone who can do that while still being professional and talented.

Many physical therapists don’t seem interested in those kinds of roles, and they might even see them as a distraction from their clinical duties. Instead, they see their job as working with patients and performing treatments. As a result, these trust-building and building-a-family-feeling roles can fall on one or two clinicians who are also managing the practice. There are also other challenges that small practices may face when working to build a high-performing PT team.

6 challenges small PT practices may face when trying to build a high-performing team

  1. Retaining a high-performing team

One of the biggest challenges for smaller practices is attracting and retaining the best team members. You may not attract them all at one time. Some may be on board with your vision; others may only want to do what is in their job description and no more. This dynamic can cause an imbalance among team members that may inspire them to look elsewhere. 

  1. Low budget and resource issues

Small practices tend to have fewer resources, lower pay and less opportunity for growth. Being low on resources can make things more challenging when it comes to developing a high-performing team. It can be helpful to have a clear vision of how you want the team to develop and work toward it overtime. It should be a clear vision that resonates with prospective team members.

  1. Creating a work culture everyone enjoys

Being intentional about creating a culture where people like working together makes a huge difference. Most people want to work in an organization where they get along with their co-workers and feel respected and valued. When this environment is present, it’s easier to develop a high-performing team.

  1. Finding physical therapists with a vision

When professionals are only focused on getting a paycheck, they may not have a vision beyond themselves. Look for practitioners who love their work and who get inspired by helping people. To be sure this is the case, in their interview, you could have them communicate specifics about why they love their profession.

  1. Lack of on-the-job benefits

There are fewer opportunities for cross-training or “job shadowing” at small practices, which can impact physical therapists’ development. It’s often easier to learn from more experienced colleagues when there’s a bigger staff.

  1. Not enough patients 

Low patient numbers can impede the development of a high-performing team because they think they won’t get enough clients, and they may look elsewhere as a result. Physical therapy practices depend on patient volume to stay in business. The more patients you have, the more revenue you’ll get, and that speaks volumes to your team.

For small practices, this can be even more challenging because they don’t have the marketing budget of larger companies. The marketing and advertising strategies used by small businesses need to be creative so that they can generate more business. In turn, this can help them retain physical therapists who share the practice’s vision. 

3 ways small practices can build a high-performing team

  1. Develop consistency — Consistency comes in all shapes and sizes. It can be about being consistent with the implementation of policies, being agreeable with all employees, and regularly communicating your vision with your employees. Do it any way that inspires them to contribute to the vision in a tangible way.
  1. Find people who will help boost patient satisfaction You want to provide the best patient care possible, and hiring therapists who are focused on going the extra mile to help patients can really boost patient satisfaction. They should have a similar affinity for the profession the way many physical therapists do.

During an interview, ask potential candidates about their approach to patient care and handling different scenarios. It would be beneficial to ask how they would handle challenging situations with patients or other staff members to better understand their personality and work ethic.

  1. Look for candidates who have good communication skills Communication skills are essential in any position, and especially for physical therapy jobs. Physical therapists must have a great rapport with patients and other staff because your practice will include a lot of people with different needs.

The big takeaway here is that a high-performing team can only be achieved with well-defined processes that are fully integrated into a practice. You need to think not just from the perspective of the practice but also from that of the PT department itself. Make sure you get insight and feedback from the team.

Ask: How do we manage patient referrals? What is our patient retention strategy? How can we train our team to help increase patient satisfaction? How much do we expect patients to spend each month on treatment? How do we need to reorient what’s not working to be more helpful to our team?

Once you establish your own guidelines and processes, you’ll be much better equipped to attract and retain PT clients for your practice. We can help you move things along. Let us help.

Your practice has been built. Take it to the next level with Alliance PTP

Alliance Physical Therapy Partners provides practice owners with opportunities to realize their dreams by providing the support and resources they need. Some of the resources we offer include: 

  • Direct marketing for PT clinics.
  • HR and recruiting support.
  • Compliance support.
  • Revenue cycle expertise.
  • Financial services.

Additionally, Alliance partners can take advantage of Alliance’s electronic medical record service, Agile EMR. This tool is extremely configurable and intuitive. It was even designed to specifically meet the needs of growing physical therapy practices. You can also receive a 30-day free trial or book a demo!

Get in touch with Alliance Physical Therapy Partners today to learn how you can become a member of our partnership in care.