How can I do one on ones with my pharmacy managers when there are constant interruptions by customers, customer phone calls, doctor phone calls, and urgent pharmacy technician questions?

Store visits are the only time I can meet face to face with my pharmacy managers. All coaching and feedback is delivered in a fragmented fashion, where I have to find time between customer/doctor interactions and workflow to speak with my directs. Usually, I can only speak with my directs for 5 minutes at a time before being interrupted. Their attention is needed to verify prescriptions in a timely fashion and to answer pharmacist-specific questions/inquiries from customers/physicians. I would love to meet with them regularly out of the pharmacy, but that's not reasonable to ask since it would be outside of company time and my direct would not be getting paid. I do not have the power to budget for more hours. Is there anyway to hold effective one on ones in this situation?

Thanks for your input!

jrb3's picture
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O3s are business meetings.  These need to be honored like any other meeting, with interruptions held for later.  I expect the managers have lunch or some meal break each day where they are unavailable, are not interrupted, and the business continues without complaint.  Either have them treat the O3 like they treat lunch, or hold it during lunch.

Consider supplementing with other ways to feed them information and contact.  Does each start their days with planning and preparations in their office?  Perhaps write a regular one-page letter weekly for them to read, to pass along information and reinforce training ideas.  Perhaps twice-a-week fifteen minute phone calls where they reach out to you to "touch base".  Try things out and see what is effective.

Tammpharm's picture

I am struggling with this same thing.  I manage multiple pharmacies, they are all busy, they don't get paid to have meetings outside of work hours and, no, they don't get lunches.  Welcome to the world of retail pharmacy.  My pharmacists are lucky if they get to go to the bathroom during their shift.  I will say, I am advocating for my directs to get them lunch breaks and potty breaks, but the company doesn't buy in easily, since they would have to close the pharamcy (lost revenue) or hire another pharmacist (costs money) to allow the current staff to have breaks.  The law says they pharmacist can't leave the floor while the pharmacy is open for business.  

I have tried letters for weekly updates, the overwhelming feedback is that they don't want one more thing to read.

Those are all my excuses.   that being said, 

I have scheduled the one on ones with my very busy directs and I still follow the structure, and I let the direct (Pharmacist) do what they need to do around it.  Since it is scheduled, they know to be prepared at the same time each week (we picked a time that tends to be slower than normal) and i let them dictate how it goes, it sometimes takes extra time, but i allow them the time they need to talk to me.  and i keep my messages for them short, and easy to digest.  I have only been doing this a month, but it seems to be working now.  The pharmacists seem to appreciate the effort on my part to let them be involved and see my effort and dedication to build a relationship with them.

Jollymom's picture

How about preparing surveys or questionnaires for them to narrow down the discussion? That's what we are doing to tackle  issues that needs attention based on their answers. In that way, we can mimize useless talks and be just direct to the point. 

pucciot's picture
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The M-T O3's also suggest that O3s can be done over the phone or Video Calls, so you don't have to visit in person every time.  Perhaps you can try rotating which are in person and which are over the phone or video.

And on the topic of the time..

Who is setting the schedules ?  Is there a reason that they cannot :

* Dovetail their shifts so that there are times there are two Pharmacists there ?

* Schedule to come in early before opening 

* Schedule to stay later after closing

If the supervisor/ manager is setting the shift schedules then why can't they schedule in meeting times, and paperwork times and work planning times. -- and Meal Breaks and Bathroom Breaks.

These are all essential job functions.

I'm sorry to come off too harsh -- but the question is ... 

Who is the Boss here ? 

If the Boss needs meeting times for their staff and they don't make it a priority to schedule those into an employee's shift -  then the Boss has no reason to complain that they can't meet with employees.

If the schedules are so tight and there is no slack for that kind of thing -  then there is an organizational failure somewhere.
It is organizational suicide to be open 40 hrs a week - and then schedule staff for those exact same 40hrs a week.

I worked in retail and we always asked staff to clock in before they hit the floor --- or stayed after the doors closed.

Currently We have shift work in my place -- and When I started doing O3's  I required dovetailing shifts --- or --- they could do the meetings offsite -  even from home a -  and get clocked in for that time.

HR - never told me that I could not pay someone for a 1/2 hour business phone call.  Then I only schedule them for 39.5 hours at the service point .. and a 1/2 hour Phone Call.

I'm sure there are many complications I am unaware of, but the bottom line is that these things are necessary for the functioning of the organization, and somebody must be in charge of the schedules, this responsibility is on them.

I wish you luck