Ask 10 practice owners what they like least about their job and 9 of them will say something related to human resources. With an average staff turnover rate of 15-20%, most optometry practices are faced with replacing at least one staff member per year. When all costs and reductions of productivity are factored in, replacing an employee can cost up to two times the salary for that position. Moreover, patients’ perception of your practice and staff morale can both suffer during the transition.
It goes without saying that you must pay good team members a salary that is competitive and commensurate with the value they bring to the practice. However, there are benefits you can provide, in addition to their compensation, that cost you nothing, and may be almost as valuable to your team.
Free Benefits You Can Give Your Team
- Opportunity to be an important part of a team with a mission. Make sure everyone on your staff understands your mission and buys into it. You must be an effective leader and communicate with your team regularly. Hold meetings with the entire staff monthly and communicate with team members daily even if only via instant messaging or a whiteboard in the staff break area.
- Recognition. Each team member must know how their position contributes to the mission. Recognize staff members’ positive contributions in daily communications and at staff meetings.
- Support. Provide a procedural manual for employees and keep it up to date. This makes onboarding easier and more successful. The manual also assures consistency, which improves the patient experience. Encourage and support education and certification when appropriate for the position.
- Camaraderie. Have some fun! Use games and friendly competition among staff to work toward the goals of your mission while adding interest. Hold celebratory events to acknowledge achievements with staff. Something as simple as lunch at a local restaurant gives employees a chance to interact outside the practice.
Pro Tip: Hold exit interviews with employees who are leaving the practice. Employees are often more willing to share information when they are leaving. The things you learn in exit interviews may help you retain employees, which is critical to your success.