Rewarding Employees

How to work within your budget to recognize, reward and retain key workers.
Rewarding Employees

Think of your most valuable employees—the ones who know the ins and outs of your practice, keep your office running smoothly, and are respected and liked by patients and staff. Now suppose those star staffers suddenly quit. How would that affect your day-to-day practice and profits?

Owners of thriving aesthetic practices know that knowledgeable, motivated, long-term employees are key to their success. And it’s not just high turnover rates that can damage a practice. Unhappy, dissatisfied team members can also wreak havoc on your bottom line. “If staff members are not happy, it can come through to patients, which is deadly in a cosmetic surgery practice,” says Miguel Delgado Jr., MD, a Northern California plastic surgeon with offices in San Francisco and Marin County.

So if you are lucky enough to have a great team in place, you’ll want to do everything you can to hold on to each member. The good news is employee retention and job satisfaction is not all about money—in fact, several studies have shown that cash is actually a poor employee motivator. The most effective employee rewards cost very little, yet go a long way towards attracting and satisfying quality workers.

Hire Right

As the saying goes, you can’t make a silk purse out of sow’s ear. So the first step toward retaining top employees is to hire them in the first place. But it’s not easy: According to a 2015 national survey by Physicians Practice, staffing issues are among the biggest challenges facing physician-practice owners. Respondents cited problems such as a lack of training and skills, low motivation and lack of professionalism.

“Looking for new hires on Craigslist was a total bust,” says Patti Flint, MD, a plastic surgeon who manages six employees at her offices in Scottsdale and Mesa, Arizona. “I won’t interview anyone who has a résumé that looks like it was constructed by a rabbit jumping from one job to another.”

She gets far better results from word-of-mouth referrals. And once she finds a promising candidate, she says, “I have my entire staff meet with potential new hires to assess if the new applicant is a good fit for the team.”

Some physicians, such as Jonathan Kaplan, MD, a San Francisco-based plastic surgeon, require candidates to take a pre-employment test. “All applicants are directed to the online test—I use optimizehire.org—which covers issues like motivation, cognition and problem solving. I only interview applicants who score highly.”

Houtan Chaboki, MD, is less concerned about each candidate’s particular skill set. Instead, he pays special attention to their overall career path to determine if an applicant might be a good fit for his Washington, D.C.-based facial plastic surgery practice. “I focus on the reasons the candidates chose their various job positions,” he says. “Why did they make the career decisions that they made? What accomplishments and setbacks have they had in each position?”

Once you identify the right team members to join your staff, you’ll want to retain them. “Training is expensive in terms of time and money for small corporations,” says Dr. Flint. “Consequently, maintaining a low turnover rate is important. It also provides continuity in the patient experience.”

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