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Promoting Positive Work Environments In Pharmacy

Updated: Aug 28


Smoothly operating a business with multiple employees is never an easy feat. You’ve got differences in ethics, opinions, personalities, and culture all coming together - and naturally, often with a bit of turbulence. With a little time and investment, bumps are less frequent, but there are many workplaces where the environment becomes downright unpleasant for those working in it.


This isn’t a pharmacy-specific issue - the negative, and often harmful, culture found in small teams is unfortunately common across the board. And these environments have a domino effect for staff members and leaders alike; the storm of unrest often follows you home.


Customer-facing workplaces can be particularly susceptible to becoming negative work environments - staff working long hours, dealing with disgruntled consumers, and often absent or disconnected managers.


In pharmacy, there’s not only a customer-facing aspect but often a very high-pressure environment causing tension on site. Add in a locum or two who are unfamiliar with the team's “norm”, and you’ve got high potential for unrest.


Pharmacies are no different from any other workplace, they all have a different 'feel' within their dispensaries and shops. This comes about from the people in the business and the roles they play.







Three pharmacy scenarios that can cause a negative workplace environment:


1. The Absent Owner


When we see seniority exercised poorly we often have issues.

It is clear that the absence of a leader in pharmacies can create bad currents. These days the 'owner' tends to own multiple pharmacies and is only present some of the time.

As they buy more pharmacies, they lose their grip on one they may have worked in more often previously. It’s only natural - they’re pharmacists, not superhumans.

Eventually, the “go-to” or 2iC is left in charge. Unfortunately, we often see a team of staff who haven’t had this communicated to them clearly. The fall-out is a nasty environment seething with resentment towards both the person left in charge and the absent owner.

Rifts also start because some staff is aware of what's going on in the business, while others are clueless and confused - cue feelings of rejection and disrespect. We see this often in the 'absent owner' scenario.


The best teams have a good approachable leader who has empathy and personal experience in all areas of the actual pharmacy.


Clear communication goes a long way, and when the whole team is kept in the loop, they feel valued as an integral part of the business. A valued team is a productive team, and a productive team that can work with each member's individual strengths is far more likely to keep a business running smoothly.


If you’re guilty of being “the absent owner”, consider taking some time for regular check-ins with your staff, highlight the positives to boost morale, and keep an eye out for those rifts which may be starting to form!


2. Us & Them

In pharmacy, we sometimes see a mentality of 'us' and 'them' in regards to the dispensary vs the shop staff. This isn’t desirable and certainly won’t foster a positive workplace environment.


Your team can only thrive if they work in unison - without your retail staff, your dispensary team would be far less efficient. Without a dispensary team, the shop staff would be left flailing.


As mentioned above, fostering individual strengths is paramount to success - so let go of the hierarchy mentality and watch your business bloom. We’re often seeing shop staff resenting the dispensary team as a result of the owner or leader treating the two roles differently.


Avoid elevating your dispensary staff - the retail team play an equally important role in your business, and separation will quickly begin to form if all parties are not feeling they’re treated equally.


3. Patience

In pharmacy we mentor students training to be assistants, technicians, and pharmacists and this can become trying to many. It can also be seen as an 'extra' thing to do. People lose patience when they’re expected to train and mentor if it's busy, often causing problems if the owner or senior staff are not seen to help with regards to mentoring. Empathy, patience, and support foster a positive environment - for trainees as well as mentors.


If you were a brand new student in the industry, and your first experience was in an environment full of resentment, impatient mentors, short tempers, and negativity - how would this affect your mindset toward your chosen career? By creating a productive and positive workplace, with great team culture, you’re paving the road to success for future pharmacists.


If you’re in a situation where your team environment has started to slip and you’re struggling to put the pieces back together, we can help. Not all personalities and skillsets gel together - that’s why the hiring process shouldn’t be taken lightly. At Pharmacy Recruit, we pride ourselves on our long-term matchmaking. We’ll work alongside you to find the perfect candidate for your role, ensuring they’re a great fit for your business style and team. Get in touch today to see how we can help you continue to promote and grow positive workplace culture in your pharmacy!







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