Holding On to the Right People, Part I

Now that you’ve found the staff with the right stuff, here’s how to hold on to them.

A clear job description. Include tasks, duties and responsibilities. Also, identify what knowledge, skills, and abilities that person must have to perform he job satisfactorily. Develop a file of descriptions and refer to them when necessary.

Develop performance standards. Build in expectations and accountability. Quantify what is considered satisfactory performance in each area of the job description. Defining expectations paves the way for employees to perform satisfactorily.

Adequate training programs. In today’s competitive environment, take the time to develop your employees into competent staff members who become practice assets. Consider providing frequent, training opportunities. The best employees are interested in improving skills and advancing. Be sure to present training as an opportunity and a benefit to the employee. Let your optical employees know it’s an expense to send them to a large optical convention or meeting, but that you think it’s well worth it. Subsidize any costs associated with certification, and even offer paid time to study for exams. Do careful research into course options through optical seminars or information sessions. Consider lab seminars, courses at professional meetings and in-office training provided by frame and lens reps. Videos and seminars on sales skills are also options. Consider assigning a mentor whom will guide a new employee. This can be you, the office manager or an experienced employee who has completed the training.

Maintain a pleasant work environment. Keeping an office clean and attractive will set the mood for a staff that’s happy and proud to work at your office.

Work hard at maintaining an environment of mutual respect and commitment. When someone contemplates resigning, it can be hard to leave a pleasant work environment  behind.

Prepare the rest of the staff for the new member’s arrival. Discuss the purpose for hiring a staff person, especially if the new employee will assume certain duties of the current staff.

Set goals for the entire optical staff each week. If the employees meet these goals, all of them get this bonus, too. A bonus pool for the entire office staff may be based on a percentage of net operating profit. This encourages employees to control costs as well as increase sales.

Article reprinted with permission of practice management blog, Practice Principles. For more on practice management, visit www.PracticePrinciples.net.