Stop Your Employees from Seeking Greener Pastures

Before launching your private practice, you no doubt envisioned an office full of happy, satisfied, and loyal staff members dedicated to their jobs, to you, and, most importantly, to your patients. While it’s fairly simple to manage an office staff of one or two, as your business grows and more employees come on board, personalities begin to clash, work piles up, and overall stress levels soar. And suddenly you, the business owner, may find yourself lying awake at night wondering how to prevent your employees from seeking greener pastures.

On average, each employee costs $6,000 to recruit, hire and train. So it’s essential to your bottom line—and your emotional well-being—to implement steps to keep your employees happy.

According to a survey by Robert Half International, one of the most common reasons given for leaving a job is dissatisfaction with management. There are several simple steps you can take to strengthen your leadership style and create an overall positive environment for your employees.

  1. Open up the lines of communication: According to Saratoga Institute survey results, poor communication is the most frequent reason employees give as to why they’re leaving an organization. They feel disconnected from the people in management. So from day one, you must establish a clear policy about how issues will be communicated and addressed. Whether that’s directly through you or an office manager, employees must feel empowered to express their concerns and complaints.
  2. Develop trust and camaraderie: Hold weekly or biweekly staff meetings and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your business as a team. Ask for counsel from your staff and consider their ideas for streamlining the daily office tasks. Remember, your employees have their fingers on the pulse. Address their concerns and listen to their proposed solutions.
  3. Stay consistent: While you shouldn’t treat your staff like children, you should put policies in place that will serve the common good of the office and, ultimately, the patients. Then make sure everyone—including you—adheres to them. For instance, if you don’t want your employees eating lunch at the front desk, then make sure everyone understands the no-lunch policy and the reason behind it. And then be sure you don’t eat your lunch at the front desk either. Your staff will be more likely to respect and follow your office policies if they see that everyone is held to the same standard.
  4. Provide employee performance feedback on a regular basis: While you may prefer to spend your office hours visiting with clients, keep in mind that taking the time to recognize your staff members for their hard work will pay great dividends in the long run. And your feedback doesn’t have to be delivered in the form of an official evaluation. Establish an Employee of the Month Award or take a well-deserving employee out to lunch once per quarter. Be generous with Christmas gifts and birthday wishes. These are little gestures that will go a long way toward building employee morale, loyalty, and job satisfaction.
  5. Promote work-life balance: Remember, just like you, your employees have lives outside the office. And with today’s family lifestyles operating at a faster pace than ever before, you may need to adjust how you evaluate employee work performance. Start by placing less of an emphasis on your employees’ time cards and focus more on their output, productivity, and quality of work.

These five steps provide a working guideline to help you create a positive work environment within your office. But perhaps Professor Lisbeth Claus from the Atkinson Graduate School of Management sums it up best by offering a few poignant questions to ask yourself as you move forward: Do I tell the truth? Do I keep promises? Do I act fairly? Do I respect my employees?

Private Practice physicians who keep these questions at the forefront of every managerial decision will master the business skill of retaining their employees.

 

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