Giving Back to Great Staff: a Goal and a Challenge

March 14, 2011

I love my staff, and I want to do right by them. But I have a business to run, and I don’t have indefinite funds.

I love my staff. I really do. Oh, sure sometimes they make mistakes, or forget to do things, or are just cranky. But they are generally efficient and pleasant. Patients often tell me that my “girls” are great. In stark contrast, apparently, to the staff at other offices. I have had patients tell me that they have left other practices, not because of the physician, but because of the staff. 

Patients themselves have told my staff that they like them, and I try to make it a point to relay that information as well. I am well aware that an office’s staff can make or break it. Which is why I want to do right by them.

That being said, I have a business to run, and I don’t have indefinite funds. I provide them with health insurance and pay the majority of the premium. We participate in a dental savings plan, which is inexpensive, but quite honestly, doesn’t cover a whole lot. And our medical plan doesn’t cover eyes. I have considered getting an eye/dental plan, but it’s expensive. As an individual and a family who are (knock wood) healthy, it would cost me more to pay for our insurance than to pay for visits to the dentist and for eyeglasses out of pocket. Throw in premiums for four other people, it just doesn’t make fiscal sense.

I’d also like to be able to pay them when the office is closed for holidays, but let’s face it, a closed office means no income. And sick days? Oh sure, I wouldn’t want them to come in if they are sick, both for their sake and the patients and the rest of the staff (I can’t have them all be sick at once!), but I also don’t have the manpower to cover for them when they are out. They are allotted a certain number of personal days - that includes vacation and sick days. One former employee thought she should have “sick days” in addition to her vacation days. And that was back when I only had two employees.

Retirement plan? Someday, I hope to put one together. Right now, there’s no extra money to contribute for everyone.

I hope my staff hangs around for things to get better financially. My new associate’s patient base is growing and her schedule is filling up. I am hoping that translates into more revenue. Then I can share some of that with my staff.

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