The Secret to Practice Growth – Invest in Your Employees
One of the biggest struggles I see doctors having in practice today is hiring and maintaining a strong team. Although we are small businesses, thinking like a big business and following the examples of successful companies when it comes to building a team will help you flourish in practice. What successful companies know is that happy employees help business thrive. And losing employees costs money (advertising, interviewing, training), time with lost productivity, and increases customer service complaints and errors, which impacts your other employees, and more importantly, your patients.
Last week, a friend visited her chiropractor and, once again, there was an unfamiliar face at the front desk. She commented that, for the past year, each time she goes into her provider’s office, the clinic has new staff. She has been a patient in the clinic for a decade but admits that she is annoyed each month when she walks in and sees someone new. Although not all turnover is avoidable, there are some things that we can do as business owners to increase employee engagement.
1. Make your employees feel like assets, not just expenses, to your company.
Doing so helps your team to feel secure in their jobs. Assign them goals and responsibilities so that they can see how their contributions are making an impact on the business. For example, our front desk CA is responsible for collections and patient appointments. She reports weekly on the number of cancellations and rescheduled appointments. Additionally, she reports on the total fees collected each week. You would be surprised how quickly different aspects of your business improve when they become the responsibility of your employees.
Good employees want to please you, and when you set clear expectations and goals, they will work hard to meet and exceed those expectations. This follows a simple principle. Whatever can be measured can be improved. Set goals and expectations for collections, specifically for those made at the front desk versus insurance collections. A few years back, in staff meetings, we were seeing 20 to 25% missed appointments and we focused on getting the number lower, but no matter what we did, it still seemed to hover in that range. I then suggested: let’s not focus on the negative, let’s focus on our KEPT appointment ratio. Now we were focused to get the number higher each week, and it worked! There is something that happens in our brains when we change our perspective and try to raise a number versus lower a number. It seems counter-intuitive, but it worked.
2. Provide and encourage opportunities for training and career growth.
A 2018 study on employee engagement found that 86% of millennials would stay with a company that offered career training and development. There are plenty of opportunities for online training on everything from customer service to billing and coding. Take your employees to conventions and seminars. This offers you the chance to help expand their knowledge and encourages team bonding. Nothing gets my team more pumped about growing and building the practice than interacting with other clinic employees from across the state or country.
3. Make them feel appreciated. Monetary bonuses are nice, but recognizing them for a job well done goes a long way toward creating loyalty.
Make them feel that their contributions to the practice are essential. When employees feel unappreciated and undervalued, they look for employment elsewhere.
Sit down and evaluate your employees and ask yourself, “What can I do to help them succeed? Do they feel appreciated? How can I help them be better at their jobs?” When you start by taking care of them, they will go above and beyond to take care of you and your patients. Changing your mindset to seeing them as business assets, and not business expenses, will improve employee engagement and satisfaction and help you achieve practice success. Looking for free online resources for you and your team? Check out the ChiroHealthUSA weekly webinar series.