AOP Awards 2018 – Health and Wellbeing practice finalist – Opticare Opticians
Practice Director, Laura McAlpine, tells us about the importance of motivating staff and making sure they feel supported.

What initiatives do you have in place to ensure the health and wellbeing of staff?
To ensure the health and wellbeing of my staff I encourage everyone to wear fitbits, we regularly have distance walking challenges, and optometrist, Lynn Maclaren, and managing dispensing optician, Anne Allan, also hold weekly swim challenges. Following this, five of our team joined Slimming World and have lost five stone so far.

I have encouraged staff to choose charities to work with and half marathons have been run to raise funds for meningitis treatment and research. Lynn held an Alzheimer’s coffee morning in the practice to raise funds for the charity closest to her heart. We are now organising a fundraising ball and a charity walk along the Great Wall of China for Emily, a patient of ours who needs respite care. This has been a real boost to staff morale and gives us a feeling of pride within our local community. I have also organised group bonding days at a spa to promote the feel-good factor and relieve stress from work.

By supporting my team, they then support each other, feel more appreciated and deal with patients in a more focused and attentive manner

What has been your most successful initiative and why?
The most successful initiative has been introducing staff appraisals last year that have allowed individuals to share how they are feeling and assess any training requirements and career progression opportunities. This has been followed up with regular one-to-one meetings, allowing myself to get to know everyone on a more personal level and give praise where possible. Team morale is now at an all-time high and the positivity in practice is reflected in our patients. Everyone now feels their personal development is considered regularly and they have a say in the running of the business.

Why is it important to motivate and support your staff?
It is important to motivate staff so they can be themselves and have pride in their work and personal achievements. By supporting my team they then support each other, feel more appreciated and deal with patients in a more focused and attentive manner. Everyone feels that they can speak and they will be listened to, therefore any issues are now dealt with at an early stage which has improved morale.

Health and Wellbeing Practice of the year nominee Opticare

What are your three top tips when it comes to motivating staff?
1. Care for their mental fitness by regular appraisals and one-to-one meetings, and allow any small annoyances to be addressed before escalating into a more troublesome problem. Generally, this makes all staff much happier and everyone feels they are listened to within the practice.

2. Encourage a healthier and fitter lifestyle within work and at home. This results in less tiredness as the day progresses avoiding the mid-afternoon wilt and allowing us to remain focussed throughout the day. We are therefore able to give our maximum attention equally to all patients whether they attend early morning, mid-afternoon or later in the day.

3. Encourage staff to support charities and local projects close to their hearts. This promotes a real feel-good factor within the team and with our patients. It makes us feel that we in turn support our local community.

How does it feel to be nominated and shortlisted for this award?
Being nominated for this award is brilliant, the whole team now have an extra air of excitement and anticipation of a good night out ahead of them. It is true payment for the hard work we have all put in.