With Valentine's Day around the corner, it is never a better time to tell the people in your life that you care. And who else is in your day to day life more than your clinical research site family!
Showing employee appreciation has been shown to boost productivity, solidify company loyalty, and generally increase workplace morale. In fact, employee recognition programs are often heralded as wise and impactful management techniques to increase communication and performance! Do a quick Google search and you will find endless resources. Although you should always be treating your clinical research coordinators with compassion and respect, Team CRIO has compiled a list of ways to make your CRCs feel the love this time of year.
Recognize Your Clinical Research Coordinators as the Individuals That They Are
Some site directors fall into the unfortunately, yet common, management trap of viewing their staff as their position, instead of as individuals. If you fall into this trap you may be, consciously or not, treating your CRC as a disposable tool. Employees can easily pick up on these sentiments, which reduces feelings of self worth, and results in more turnover and less quality work.
Just like you, your CRCs have lives outside of the clinical research site. It is worth getting to know your employees-- what environment do they best work, how do they like to be managed, even what sort of hobbies do they enjoy? Make a point to have general knowledge on who your research coordinators are, including their goals/aspirations (bonus knowledge from a management standpoint!). Building a strong, professional relationship will increases ease of communication and will make your coordinators feel more valued.
Be Intentional with Your Daily Interactions
Showing your coordinators that you care about them can come in more subtle ways, including in your daily interactions. This Harvard Business School article emphasizes that, when it comes to managing people, "what really matters in the workplace is helping employees feel appreciated."
So, when speaking with your clinical research coordinators, don't be afraid to praise them if they have done a good job! Manners still matter, even in the workplace-- if your CRC went out of their way to do something, or even if they just did something helpful, be sure to thank them for their efforts.
Challenge Your CRCs
Every job comes with responsibilities that are less than glamorous. However, it is important to balance out completing endless paperwork with some challenging assignments. When your clinical research coordinator is stuck doing a repetitive task that "anyone" could do, you are conveying that you don't really need their unique, individual talents. Conversely, when assigned a more challenging task, you are showing your CRC that you have trust in their ability to complete the job well.
Whether it means coming up with new projects for your coordinators, in addition to their day to day responsibilities, or tasking particularly competent coordinators with the role of training new hires (show them this guide!), challenging your coordinator demonstrates trust in their abilities.
Give Your Clinical Research Coordinators Opportunities for Growth
It is important to invest in your coordinator's personal and professional growth. Pay for a certification by industry organizations, such as SoCRA or ACRP. Provide lunch-talks (lectures held during lunch) or training courses that may not seem outwardly relevant to the day-to-day tasks of a coordinator, but are valuable to professional growth. Get your coordinator certified in project management, or software expertise, like eSource. Send your coordinators to conferences and meetings. Not only will your coordinator feel valued and connected to the team, but he or she will also gain knowledge that may benefit your site.
Encourage Clinical Research Site Staff Feedback
Communication is important, and should go both ways. Consider holding weekly meetings where site employees are free to voice concerns.
Maybe hold occasional one-on-one meetings, checking in with your coordinator. Or, send out a questionnaire or survey to take the morale pulse at your clinical trial site.
In addition, considering giving your staff a platform to share stories, tips, or methods. Whether it be a newsletter, time set aside at a meeting, or an organized event, the ability to contribute to a platform can boost self-esteem and feelings of community.
Host an Event
It takes a lot to run a successful clinical research site. When something good happens, like an important milestone is reached or a study is awarded, consider marking the occasion with a small event. Whether this means a doughnut breakfast, or a company lunch, hosting occasional events rewards good performance, allows for interactions outside of a professional setting, and boosts team morale.
Anna Krauss is a Project Manager at Clinical Research IO. She has experience in the health field through her work as a Research Assistant with the MaineGeneral Hospital system, Hospital General de Agudos Bernardino Rivadavia in Argentina, and through her experiences working as an EMT.