Welcome to question of the day #267

Eyetools question of the day #267

I am an eye specialist and own one practice. I employ four support staff and one part-time eye specialist who covers me for days off. We have been open for one year and already have had a turnover of 10 staff. It takes a lot of effort to recruit and train people on a regular basis. How can I reduce this high level of staff turnover?

Wow, that is a high level of staff turnover. On average that is nearly one person per month leaving which is 20% of your staff. Experts say it’s usually around 0.7% per month so you are way too high and something is going wrong.

Here are my suggestions for interviewing, staff development, and feedback.

When it comes to recruitment focus on the applicant’s personal attributes rather than their job-related skills. Skills can be taught but it is difficult to change a person’s character. During the interview, do they smile, and seem natural and authentic? Will they fit in with other staff? Do they match your practice culture? Will you get on with them? They may be nervous but it is up to you to help them get past that. Don’t have a panel interview. You and perhaps one other member of staff at the most. My favourite interview question is ‘What was the last film you saw? Or what book are you reading at the moment? Hire based on the person and not their current skills. Finding a staff member who will fit in with the rest of your eye care team not only increases the chance that they will remain with your company long-term, but it also enhances the efficiency of your practice by boosting teamwork.

Show your staff how much you appreciate their hard work, through peer-recognition programs, or monthly memos that outline achievement. Highlight those employees who are going above and beyond, while encouraging others to do the same. Employee engagement can come in an array of forms. A hand-written thank you note can be very powerful.

Help staff develop their skills by allowing them to go on courses. This may mean extra expense and time away from the practice and more work for those in the practice but if you spread the development opportunities equally and better informed more skilled staff will help practice efficiency and prosperity.

When it comes to feedback and guidance, you might want to consider going about it differently for each person. For example, some people prefer cut and dry criticism of their work, while others prefer a softer approach to discussing areas of improvement. Meeting the individual needs of each team member shows high leadership on your part, and will create inspired employees who feel loyal to your practice!