After working with many companies in more than 30 years in the health care industry, I frequently hear owners, managers and supervisors telling about
by Louis Feuer, MA, MSW

After working with many companies in more than 30 years in the
health care industry, I frequently hear owners, managers and
supervisors telling about employees who are not motivated. They
talk about those staff members who seem to lack interest in what
they are doing, do not care if the task is completed or have little
concern about reaching the goals that have been set for them.

It seems so easy to blame one single person. It is simple to
pick out a problem employee and begin focusing on what has caused
him or her to lose interest or motivation.

But if you are going to sell anything and meet customer needs,
you might need to do some group analysis of your company. In an
industry that often requires up to five people to have a product
delivered, many reasons can cause problems in productivity.

One serious problem may be related to the function of the team.
This can be the billing team, operations or sales, etc.

Sometimes people are unmotivated simply because those around
them are failing to do their part, carry their load or do not
understand the significant role they play in the successful
operation of the company. If the problem is motivation, it could be
in the form of a virus that is being spread by another employee.
This “lack of motivation virus” is often contagious and
can spread quickly throughout any company.

While the virus can be fatal, it is treatable. It is best,
though, to take a preventive course of action so you are not asking
yourself whether the problem is motivation or team work — and
who's to blame.

Now is the time for prevention. Consider taking these

  1. Make sure that each department in your home care company
    meets weekly
    . There are too many excuses why you cannot meet,
    and most are unacceptable. Gather together to share stories, build
    rapport and understand the need to communicate. Sales are built not
    from the work of one person but from the efforts of the group.

  2. Let meetings focus on successes as well as problems. Make
    sure you let people know what is working, what is appreciated by
    patients and referral sources and what has helped build

  3. Always leave time for staff to offer suggestions for
    improving operations
    . Employees want to feel that they are a
    part of the organization, and they want the opportunity to
    contribute to the growth and success of the company.

  4. Stop blaming people and consider ways that will help people
    work together and complete tasks successfully
    . In their hearts,
    employees want to be successful. They want to get it right. They
    want positive recognition for their work. It is the role of their
    colleagues and managers to help make that happen.

  5. Set reasonable goals. While it is great to keep
    challenging your sales team or billing department, unrealistic
    goal-setting not only hurts productivity but also sends a message
    to staff that no matter what they do or how hard they work, they
    will never be successful.

  6. Treat the ego. Everyone in the company, from sales and
    marketing people to clinicians and delivery staff, have egos
    — and they do need care. People want to be recognized and
    appreciated. Never believe that people “just know they are

    You may have worked alongside another staff member for years who
    continues to help you when you are swamped — and is just
    waiting for you to say “thank you.” Acceptance by those
    who work and live with us is very similar, and we all want it from
    the workplaces in which we spend more hours than we do in our

  7. Any good message gets shared. Make that a company rule.
    Anything good we hear from a patient or referral source should make
    headlines at your next meeting. Don't be too quick to focus on
    complaints and fail to highlight your successes.

So, is the problem motivation or is it teamwork? I'll bet more
often it's teamwork.

Treasure it, honor it and recognize its value. If you do, your
revenues will exceed projections, and your employees and colleagues
will ensure their own success.

Louis Feuer is president of Dynamic Seminars & Consulting
Inc. and the founder and director of the DSC Teleconference Series,
a teleconference training program. He can be reached at or by phone at