4 Ways to Improve Staff Retention

April 1, 2010
Abigail Beckel

Love your staff but worry they’d leave at the first sign of trouble? Read on for our suggestions on keeping your staff happy and loyal to you.


Love your staff but worry they don’t love you - or that they’d ditch you in a heartbeat if something better came along? Well, you should worry - retaining good staff is a key to efficiency and patient satisfaction, yet turnover is notoriously high in medical practices. Here are four ways to keep your staff happy and sticking around.

Training & growth

Well-trained employees feel confident and knowledgeable in their roles, and thus happier in their jobs.

  • Make sure your practice has a comprehensive employee manual and everyone has a copy of it.
  • Give each employee a thorough job description on the first day that covers major tasks and expectations.
  • Assign a veteran employee to mentor the new employee.
  • Offer to pay for cost-effective online training programs to encourage your employees to grow professionally.


Communication
Everyone needs to know what to do and how well they’re doing. Seems simple, but good communication in offices is rare.

  • Don’t skip performance reviews. Have full, formal reviews every year.
  • Don’t rely on performance reviews alone for providing feedback to staff; give them encouragement and address their shortcomings regularly.
  • Schedule a regular all-staff meeting where employees hear about what’s going on in the practice and voice ideas or concerns.
  • Form staff-led committees on improving work flow or office policies.


Incentives & benefits
Nothing’s nicer to hear than a sincere “thank you,” especially when it comes with a tangible (if inexpensive) perk.

  • Evaluate your benefits package and see if you can offer extra time off, flexible hours, free parking, or gym memberships.
  • Create an employee of the month program to recognize outstanding work.
  • Set individual or group goals and reward the achievement of those goals with gift cards, gas cards, movie tickets, or lunch.


Team building
All work and no play makes for a dreary workday. Injecting a little fun into the office builds team spirit and makes staff want to be at work.

  • Order lunch or cake and gather your staff to celebrate each month’s birthdays together.
  • Schedule a day or afternoon at least once a year where the entire staff can go offsite for a fun activity like bowling, a sporting event, or a field day.
  • Organize your staff into a team for a charity activity such as a 5K walk, a donation drive, or a soup kitchen shift.

Abigail Beckel is managing editor for Physicians Practice. She can be reached at abigail.beckel@cmpmedica.com.

Erica Lukenich is assistant editor for Physicians Practice. She can be reached at erica.lukenich@cmpmedica.com. This article originally appeared in the April 2010 issue of Physicians Practice.