Good employees add value to your practice. Great employees can even make it shine.
So, of course, you want to make sure those employees stick around.
But that can be tough in a good job market. It can also be tough right now, since some employees may be concerned about contracting COVID-19 if they return to work.
We’ll look at how to retain good and great employees in a minute—including a way to address COVID-19 concerns—but first let’s look at why they matter.
Good and great employees add both intangible and tangible value to your practice.
In terms of intangible value, patients enjoy interacting with great employees. Other staff members also enjoy working with great employees. And, having great employees helps build the reputation of your practice.
With regard to the tangible aspects, great employees often have the following qualities that decrease practice costs and increase revenue:
- More efficient, meaning it can take half the time for them to complete a given task.
- More receptive to training, meaning it is quicker to train them, they retain the information longer, and they are more likely to put into practice what they learn.
- Better at explaining treatment to patients, meaning patients are more likely to follow through with recommend treatment.
- Creative and contribute thoughtful ideas on an ongoing basis.
All these things can add actual dollar value to your practice.
It’s clear you want to retain your good and great employees.
Now, how do you do that?
Competitive pay and benefits are important, but they’re not everything. Even a bad employer can pay employees well. And employees will often leave for a better workplace, even if it means lower pay.
The Harvard Business Review suggests a set of five ways to retain employees. We’ll call them the 5 R’s of retention.
- Responsibility. Giving your employees meaningful responsibilities shows them you trust them. It also gives them the confidence to develop new skills, which benefit both the employee and you.
- Respect. A general attitude and culture of respect goes a long way to let your employees know they are valued. And if employees aren’t respected, they’ll talk and it may be difficult to hire anyone in the future.
- Revenue sharing. You’ll make money if you have great employees, so why shouldn’t they share in the gains? Revenue sharing also helps you tie employee goals to the practice’s goals. Even better than a raise, revenue sharing helps you show specifically why you value your great employees.
- Reward. We’re talking about things that go beyond just cash here. This can be anything from a birthday party, to a gift, to a handwritten note. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on these types of rewards—that’s not the point and that’s not why employees value them. They just need to be heartfelt and show employees you appreciate them beyond the financial transaction of their paycheck.
- Relaxation time. All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy. And a bad employee. Studies have shown that vacation time actually results in higher productivity from workers. And even short breaks during the day can help employees stay focused and productive. Great employees want to contribute as effectively as possible, and giving them downtime helps with that.
The last one is where we get to retaining employees who are concerned about COVID-19. Many employees have very legitimate reasons for not returning to work while COVID-19 is still a risk. They may have a condition that puts them more at risk, or they may be caring for someone who does.
Giving them extra time off may be tough right now, but it may also be the best long-term option. You not only avoid the need to find a new permanent employee, but you also show your current employee how much you value them. And that will pay dividends for both you and the employee.
Now, you may need to think creatively in order to keep that employee around without breaking the bank. You may need to hire a temporary replacement and the employee may need to forego pay, but there may be other options such as shifting tasks among employees and finding work that can be done from home or outside normal business hours. And you may not need to give them a full vacation, just reduced hours.
Regardless of your situation, retaining good and great employees always makes sense for your practice. The value sometimes seems intangible, but good and great employees will add to your bottom line and keep your patients happy.