Typically, businesses—especially small businesses—pick one lucky employee to attend a relevant conference. In health care, the plot thickens a bit, because practitioners need to complete continuing education units (CEUs) to maintain their licenses. Thus, clinic directors and owners jump through all kinds of logistical hoops to ensure that:

  1. their therapists fulfill the requirements necessary to continue practicing,
  2. their practices aren’t short-staffed, and
  3. their appointment schedules are conducive to patient needs.

It’s inevitable in private practice that, at some point, more than one lucky employee will get to attend the same conference at the same time—when the stars align and scheduling (or CEU necessity) allow for it. But that’s not cause for stress; in fact, sending groups to conferences is actually a good thing. And clinic owners and directors should work to make the stars align more frequently. Here are three reasons employees should attend conferences in groups:

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1. It strengthens company culture.

“Attending a conference is a great way for a team to meet outside of work in a relaxed, inspiring environment and still have an opportunity to get some work done,” says Bill Cushard in this Mindflash article. While employees certainly won’t attend every session together, they’ll most likely get together for breakfast, lunch, happy hour, and/or dinner, and with their minds abuzz with the day’s lessons, they’ll likely talk shop—sharing what they’ve learned, bouncing ideas off each other, and brainstorming action-items to tackle back at the clinic. And all of that breeds camaraderie and purpose that’ll last long after the conference.

2. It elevates performance.

Depending on the conference you select, your team will have the opportunity to elevate their game together. For example, if you send administrators and managers to a rehab therapy business conference, they’re all going to learn actionable business strategies, and they can talk about, plan around, and act upon those strategies together. Because they’re all on the same page and speaking the same language, this group can effect change more rapidly within the clinic. And when it comes to your business, the faster the improvement happens, the better.

3. It gets people innovating.

At WebPT, we’re big on encouraging teams to occasionally step away from their day-to-day. Whether it’s a conference, a team-building event, an off-site work day, or simply a round of ping pong, we understand the value a change of scenery—and activity—brings. Send a team of your employees to a conference—where they’re surrounded by bright minds, eager learners, and an electric environment alight with ideas—and that team is bound to think of creative solutions to even your practice’s most tricky problems. And whereas one person with an out-of-the-box idea might not have the confidence to share it, a team rallied behind a concept not only has the confidence to share, but also the power to implement.

Recently, Marge Epperson—the CEO of PT Partners—purchased a dozen tickets to Ascend, the ultimate rehab therapy business summit. And she wouldn’t have had it any other way, because she understands the value of sending teams to conferences, especially one with CEUs available (nine, to be exact). "The Ascend conference provides a great platform with quality speakers,” said Marge. “So much so that we invited every PT Partners clinic owner to attend with us this year." (Want to send your team to Ascend? Use promo code "BringTheTeam" when ordering three or more tickets to get 25% off each ticket.)

PT Partners is dedicated to helping practices elevate their businesses; they can’t very well do that if they don’t have their clinic owners gaining a business education together. But PT Partners isn’t the only organization sending posses to conferences. We’ve seen more and more practices attending industry conferences—like the recent APTA NEXT event—in groups, which means practice owners and directors are putting in the effort to align those stars more often. And that has to keep happening. The more we can better our teams, the more we can better our businesses—and improve the profession overall. Stars aligned on a micro level means greater control of our destiny on a macro level.

Have you attended a conference with your team? How was your experience? Was it better together? Tell us in the comments section below.

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