The Secret to Happy Employees: Engagement

By Mary Hollis Stuck February 18, 2021

They say good help is hard to find, and that may be true. However, more importantly, once you find good help, it’s important you focus on how to keep them around. Employee retention is more than just competitive compensation. Increasing your employees’ engagement can lead to increased retention, more devoted employees, and higher production in the office.

Image result for educational conferenceOnce you go through the headache of finding your dream team, it’s important to train them properly. If a new employee is thrown into the mix without the proper training, it can lead to frustration and discontent with their position. Sometimes discord with one employee can spread throughout the office. Whether you have a busy practice, or are just starting out, it’s important to create a strong foundation. Successful practices focus on making sure employees have the training they need, and additional to keep them at their best. These resources can be anything from an in-depth employee manual to continuing education conferences and paid training programs. Sure, it can be expensive to send even one employee to a conference or meeting, but if they are given the opportunity to learn more about their position and craft, they are more likely to maintain a higher level of productivity in the practice. In this day and age, in the midst of a pandemic, it may be difficult to send employees to in-person training. Online options are becoming available, contacting your sales reps and learning about current offerings will show your employees that you’re invested in them and their growth. There are some free courses that usually come with a bit of brand advertising, but the knowledge gained can still benefit your employees and give them a better understanding of the importance of their position.

After your team is well trained and performing well, you should have a plan in place to keep them engaged with the practice. All employees want to feel like they are being valued. Engage with them, making sure they are comfortable coming to the practice owner or management team to discuss new ideas, theories, or issues that arise. Even if every suggestion doesn’t get a green light, making someone feel heard can be invaluable in creating a high quality work environment for all involved. During staff meetings, don’t simply talk at your team; allow time for response and conversation. Open up the room for discussion about any issues that may have occured and encourage your staff to speak up with ideas for resolution or betterment of the practice. Discuss numbers and goals with your entire team, not just your management staff. By informing the entire staff of what you’re reaching for as a practice. Together, setting weekly, monthly, or annual goals that are actually attainable, give employees an idea of what to work towards.

Image result for employee pizza partyCreating attainable goals can be challenging. Don’t simply set lofty goals, such as getting 100 five-star reviews on Google within a month.Create small goals, such as handing out 100 cards to patients asking for them to take their time to review your practice online. Reward your staff for glowing recommendations. You received ten five-star reviews in February? Buy your employees pizza for lunch. A patient wrote a glowing review stating that Betsy in optical gave her the best customer service and fit her with an occupation lens she didn’t even know she needed? Betsy deserves a gift card to her favorite coffee shop. These gifts and rewards can be nominal. A $50 pizza party at lunch will be a drop in the bucket for your bottom line and can make your staff feel as though their hard work has been noticed. Getting noticed and acknowledged will just increase their willingness to engage with you and your patients, providing a better patient experience, and boosting revenue.

Of course, in this day and age, it’s difficult to take your staff out for a special dinner or go bowling after work to celebrate reaching your revenue goal for the quarter. Getting your team involved and staying in touch with them throughout the pandemic or shifts in workload helps to create a cohesive, motivated team. Be creative and include your staff when setting goals. Being a practice owner or manager comes with the responsibility of creating a comfortable and safe work environment for your team. By incentivizing your staff and having direct conversations with them regarding the goals of the business they are a part of, you can create invaluable relationships with a team that will want to stay by your side and see your business succeed. Don’t shirk your responsibility to them and to your business, and you will see a rise in both workplace environment and practice revenue. 

Mary Hollis Stuck

Mary Hollis has been in the optical field since 2005. She has filled many roles within optometric practices and is a billing guru. She is passionate about providing excellent customer service for patients, which she helps to achieve while finding ways to increase practice productivity. Currently, Mary Hollis manages the billing department at Eye Associates of Cayce, a multi-doctor private practice in Cayce, South Carolina.

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