Retaining high-quality staff members for your practice can be a challenge—and it’s not unique to the health care industry. More and more businesses across the board are experiencing a worker shortage these days. A record 4.3 million people quit their jobs in August 2021, including approximately 534,000 health care and social assistance workers.1
If you thought hiring was hard pre-pandemic when the unemployment rate was sub-3%, it’s even more difficult now. Intense wage competition with amped-up hiring bonuses from institutions larger than yours can make it tough to attract and retain the best talent. However, this isn’t a new problem to solve. The tension between owner and employee regarding wages has been around a very long time, and it’s not going away any time soon.
Define the Unique Value of Working At Your Practice
Who wants to get paid more? Everyone. Who wants to pay more? No one.
In our experience, many practice owners are unprepared to discuss pay because they can’t articulate value—specifically, the value of working in their unique location. What value are you giving your staff members, and what value are they getting from the job? Wages are only a part of that answer; the other part is environment (aka, the “company culture”). Maybe you can’t pay what a large hospital can offer its medical assistants, but we are confident that your smaller, more patient-centric environment appeals to many. Are you?
Ask the Tough Questions To Improve Employee Retention
To uncover your practice’s value, do you know how your current staff would answer these questions:
Why would you recommend someone come work here?
Why do you continue to work here?
How would you answer those questions yourself? And if you say, “it’s because we care more about our patients than that other place,” we’ve found that nearly everyone in health care says the same thing. Get specific. Maybe a lower volume of patients than a GP practice translates to half-day Fridays for your team. Employee engagement surveys show time off is a huge value and is often not included in the highlights of job descriptions.
Some other important questions to consider:
Does your staff know how you measure their contribution?
Have you articulated it to them?
Is there an opportunity to create a bonus pool to celebrate good work?
If you already offer a group bonus, when was the last time you strategized with the team to ensure that they are actively engaged in it?
It requires some vulnerability to ask these questions and to be open to the answers. What you get back will either be testimonial worthy for a job ad, or it may tell you why you’re struggling to hire and retain staff.
In either case, the value is in the conversation. Contact Fuel Medical to learn how we can help you have those conversations with your staff.
1 Cox, J. (2021, October 13). A record 4.3 million workers quit their jobs in August, led by food and retail industries. https://www.cnbc.com/2021/10/12/a-record-4point3-million-workers-quit-their-jobs-in-august-led-by-food-and-retail-industries.html