One of the most challenging issues facing any business is staffing. This is especially true in our industry, where we need trained eye care professionals to help our excellent patients. You can have the best product or service in the world, but if you don’t have the right people to deliver it, then your business will suffer.
So how can you avoid staffing issues in your eye care practice? The answer lies in treating your employees fairly, offering competitive salaries and benefits, upholding and adhering to laws and regulations, and maintaining professionalism. By doing so, you will create a workplace that is attractive to potential employees and encourages the retention of existing staff.
Planning is key.
Avoiding staffing issues comes down to planning. You must identify your practice’s current and future needs, anticipate possible staff shortages, and create strategies to counter them. Perhaps you need a part-time yet cross-trained employee to help during busier times.
Develop a staffing plan that is flexible and meets the needs of both the practice and employees. Get input on the process from your existing staff and use their knowledge to understand the expectations of potential new hires.
Additionally, create incentives for potential and existing employees, such as additional benefits, work-at-home days, or training opportunities. In doing so, you can create an attractive workplace and ensure a steady influx of qualified staff.
Have a robust recruitment process.
Having a well-defined recruitment process is essential for avoiding staffing problems. Invest the time and resources into creating a robust, thorough, and transparent process. Your approach should include carefully assessing candidates’ credentials and qualifications and an onboarding system to outline expectations and set employees up for success. Additionally, check references and follow up with candidates after an interview to assess their level of interest in the position.
When my husband started this company, his goal was to help the industry find exceptional personnel for their practice, and one key component was that everyone he has brought on is in the eye care industry, not someone that lacks the knowledge of the difference between an Optician, Optometrist, or Ophthalmologist. We understand what you need as we know the complete operations of your establishment.
Promote from within whenever possible.
If a position opens up in your practice, it may be beneficial to promote an existing employee, and you should constantly train your staff horizontally or vertically. Not only does this encourage employee loyalty, but it can also save time and resources in the recruitment process. However, the decision to promote from within should not be taken lightly.
Assess the employee’s qualifications, compare them to those of other candidates, and provide additional training if needed. Ensure that each candidate has the same measured criteria and guidelines to avoid discriminatory practices or prejudice. Doing so helps ensure that the position will be filled by the best candidate and reduces the potential for staffing issues.
Offer a competitive salary and benefits package.
Eye care practitioners face stiff competition for qualified staff. Offering a competitive salary and benefits package can be a great way to entice potential employees and keep existing staff loyal and motivated.
Trust us, we understand that small practices have a more challenging time with the benefits packages, but be creative and maybe offer more paid time off or a better work-life balance.
Make sure to research competitive salaries for similar positions in your area and evaluate the benefits you are offering annually to ensure they are competitive. Additionally, consider offering additional benefits, such as flexible hours or remote work opportunities.
Create a positive work environment.
One of the most effective ways to avoid staffing issues is to create a positive work environment. Take the time to learn each employee’s strengths and weaknesses and pay attention to their concerns and feedback.
One bad apple can spoil the barrel 🍎
Additionally, make sure to invest in the overall well-being of your employees. Offer mental health services, if necessary, create a culture of appreciation, and ensure employees have the resources they need to do their jobs. Doing so will ensure that employees feel valued and motivated to do their best.
Communicate openly and often with your staff.
Open, honest communication between employees and employers is essential for avoiding staffing issues. Take the time to get to know your employees and understand their needs and expectations. Make sure to provide feedback regularly and be available for questions and concerns.
Additionally, communicate clearly when it comes to changes in the practice, such as policy changes or new techniques. Doing so will help ensure that your staff is on the same page, making them feel valued and respected.
Have a clear and concise mission statement.
A “mission statement” is a set of guiding principles that outlines your practice’s goals and values. It should be clear, concise, and easy to understand. A strong mission statement will help attract suitable candidates to your practice and set expectations for employees and patients. Additionally, share the mission statement with your staff and ensure they understand and follow it.
Invest in your employees’ professional development.
When I speak to individuals who are infants in this industry, they have yet to learn of the growth process. When I explain that becoming a Certified Technician should take about six months, they are eyetastic! Plus, now I am helping the industry by promoting licensure and certification👁️💗👀
Investing in employee development is a great way to retain existing staff and prevent staffing issues. Encourage employees to attend professional conferences and seminars and provide additional training and resources when needed. You could even schedule a paid lunch meeting in the office and watch some great training programs from Spexy or Laramy-K.
Additionally, provide feedback and offer incentives for employees who take advantage of other training opportunities. Doing so will help ensure that your employees are up to date on the latest trends and techniques.
Allow employees to provide feedback.
Encouraging employee feedback can be an effective way of preventing staffing issues. Allow them to provide input on critical decisions, such as policy changes or new equipment purchases.
Aim to be open-minded and not shrug the employee off. They came to you for support, so please return the favor and respect their concerns.
Additionally, provide an avenue for employees to report any issues they may be having. Doing so allows you to address problems and ensure that employees feel heard and valued.
Be flexible when possible.
Flexibility in moderation is crucial in preventing staffing issues. Too much flexibility could cause favoritism among the workers, so please be fair (and do those stay interviews!). When possible, try to accommodate changes or requests from your employees, such as switching shifts or taking time off for personal reasons.
Additionally, be open to suggestions from your employees. Doing so will help create an environment where everyone is on the same page and reduce the potential for staffing problems.
Avoiding staffing issues in eye care practices requires careful planning and attention to detail. From investing in your employees’ professional development to creating a positive work environment to communicating openly and often with staff, there are many steps you can take to ensure that your practice runs smoothly and efficiently.