6 Questions to Ask When Dealing with High Staff Turnover in Your Optical Practice

Staff turnover can be a big challenge for many eyecare practices. Also, having employees leave and training new employees can have a big affect on your day to day.

You spend a lot of time teaching and training new employees, your workflow slows down, and patients are introduced to new faces upon each visit. These are all things that could impact your practice's bottom line.

So what can you do to improve on your turnover rate and avoid the consequences that are attached to turnover?

Ask Yourself These Questions to Slow Staff Turnover

Are you hiring the right people to begin with?

It can be easy to hire the first candidate that applies for an open position, especially if you're feeling desperate dealing with high turnover, but this could become the reason you have high turnover. While skills and experience are important pieces of the hiring puzzle, so is determining if the candidate will be a good personality fit with your staff and patients. Ask the right questions during the interviews to find out.

Are other local offices attracting your staff?

Are you competing against other local eyecare providers for the top talent in the area? Maybe other practices are offering their staff something you're not. If this is the case, encourage your staff to be open with you about what's important to them, and what's missing from your office's compensation and benefits package. It's important to keep your loyal employees happy and offer them modern and competitive perks and salaries. 

Are you outlining clear and challenging paths for your team? 

No one wants to feel stuck in their career. Each member of your team should understand the career path they can expect to follow in your optical practice. Setting individual goals and career advancement opportunities will help keep everyone motivated. One example is to outline how each team member is contributing to your overall practice goal. An employee who feels like they are moving forward within a practice is less likely to leave. Plus, it allows everyone to align their goals and work together towards the same outcome.

Are you paying attention to individual needs?

Every employee you manage is going to be different. They'll prefer different work styles and exhibit unique personalities. It's important to treat everyone equally while also understanding that each employee will react and respond to situations differently. They'll showcase preferences when it comes to feedback and recognition of their work. Some of your staff may prefer direct criticism of their work, while others prefer a softer conversational approach to their review. Meeting the individual needs of your team shows high level leadership and will create more inspired employees.

Are you doing your part to strengthen employee engagement?

Creating a positive and collaborative work environment will help keep your practice running smoothly. Recognizing and rewarding the team when goals are met is a great way to build a positive atmosphere. The goal for employee recognition is to highlight the employees that have gone above and beyond to encourage others in the practice to do the same. Highlighting one employee each month could be a great way to showcase this. Remember, employee engagement comes in many forms - never underestimate the power of a handwritten thank you note.

Are you suffering from "Turnover Fever"?

In some cases when one employee hands in their two weeks, it can snowball into multiple employees handing in their notice. One way to prevent this is to conduct an exit interview with your staff before they leave so you can better understand the strengths and weaknesses of your practice and where you can continue to improve to keep your team happy. Once an employee has made the decision to leave, it's likely they'll be more vocal about any issues in your practice.

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Editor's Note: This post was originally published on July 16, 2016. It has been updated for relevance and richness of content on February 9, 2023. 

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