Employee Retention is a matter of great concern for most practice owners and managers at the moment. There are many unfilled jobs, and right now it’s a “buyer’s market” for those who are shopping for jobs. Here are 5 rules – we’ll call them 5 Ps – that will help you find and retain good employees
P = Pay
First and foremost, make sure you’re paying properly. Because it’s a buyer’s market, you have to be sure that your wages are competitive. There are a number of other advantages we can offer as practice owners / managers because our businesses are small. Flexibility is a very attractive aspect of optometric practice. It is possible for us to allow our employees to make small adjustments in their schedules to meet their needs. For instance, it’s not necessarily a great hardship for us to let a staff member take an hour off in the middle of the day to attend a school concert or a soccer game and then return to work. Just being mindful of the demands of family and personal life, and flexing – within reason – can make employment at your practice more enticing.
Another option I offered in my practice was a spending account that we funded, based on the length of employment, that my staff could use to spend any way they chose. Some employees used it as a small charity program to help others, although they could also use that extra cash to purchase supplies for their families. This kind of flexibility builds a positive perception that helps employees regard the office as a good place to work, a business that values them, and cares about and supports their needs.
P = Praise
This recent exodus from the workplace has had an interesting side effect in terms of understanding what employees need. Many employees who left their workplace cited a lack of positive feedback from their employers as one of the primary reasons for their departure. The simple act of saying “thank you” to your staff can change the entire tenor of the relationship. It’s easy to do, and it helps your employee understand that you value their service, bolstering your employee retention.
P = Purpose
Another result of the “Great Resignation,” as reported by many leaving their jobs, was a sense that their jobs are meaningless. I hope you as a business owner have taken the time to consider the vision of your practice. That vision should be big enough to involve not just you, but the others who make up your business. You want your employees to be involved in and engaged with the mission, not just “on the clock.” You must communicate and model the values you want to promote. Share your vision, and help them understand their purpose.
P = Peace
Peace doesn’t come by itself. You have to work hard to preserve and promote it. A hostile work environment will poison your practice culture significantly, but peace promotes job satisfaction, employee retention, positive patient experiences, and a happier workplace where folks like to come to work.
P = Pipeline
Even with all of your Ps in place, there will be occasions when you have to hire a new employee. Staff members leave for lots of reasons, many of them having nothing to do with you. So keep your eyes on the pipeline; be aware of those people in and around your practice who may be good candidates for hiring or promotion.