Keeping Talented Staff at Your Medical Practice

August 14, 2015

By: Steph Weber Employing top-notch staff is vital to running a smooth medical practice, but retaining them can prove difficult. Here's how you can make it happen.

While a knowledgeable physician is central to the success of any medical practice, acquiring highly skilled office and clinical staff is perhaps even more essential. As the first people patients typically encounter, talented staff really makes a difference.

Yet retaining good staff members can prove challenging. Here are a few suggestions to entice your best employees to stick around longer.

Communicate with employees
Employee retention methods don't always equate to tangible incentives. Rick N. Weinstein, an orthopedic surgeon at Westchester Sport and Spine in White Plains, N.Y., said that communicating with employees increases long-term bonds. "Keeping good people is difficult, but critical, to running a healthy, efficient practice, so I spend time listening to and talking to my employees," he said. "This shows them that I care, not only about them, but about their opinions too."

And Weinstein has found these conversations to be mutually beneficial as well since employees' opinions and suggestions have been the catalyst for several practice improvements.

Praise publicly, critique privately
Public recognition is a powerful tool in retaining talented staff. In fact, 83 percent of employees find recognition of their contributions more rewarding than any gift, according to a 2013 study by Make Their Day, an employee motivation firm

Mara L. Shorr, vice president of marketing and business development for Florida-based medical practice consulting firm The Best Medical Business Solutions, agreed wholeheartedly. "When somebody does something special, recognize them at monthly staff meetings, publish it in an e-newsletter, or capture it on video and display it in the reception area so that everyone can see it," she said.

And while public praise, especially in front of peers, is a great motivator, it's crucial to remember that criticisms should be handled differently in order to avoid demoralization. "If an employee does something wrong, I give them constructive feedback privately," said Hossein Joukar, emergency medicine physician and medical director and CEO of RiteCare Medical Centers in Miami.

Quota payouts
Setting internal goals for staff can be incredibly motivating, especially when rewards are up for grabs.

Let's say the physician has challenged employees to complete 50 patient enrollments for the patient portal this month. If the team reaches the quota, the physician will provide lunch for everyone.

Shorr said providers can go a step further and reward the top performer too. "Give out a day of PTO or pay for a staff member's cell phone bill for the month. Recognition goes a long way, especially when it's done amongst peers," she said.

Free healthcare
Providing free healthcare to employees is another powerful retention incentive, and also an effective marketing strategy for physicians. "A happy, healthy staff member will tell everyone they know about the company they work for and all of its perks," said Shorr. Physicians should consult their healthcare attorney or accountant before initiating such a program though. Retaining talented staff at your medical practice certainly takes targeted efforts. However, taking the time to determine the most influential incentives is well worth it.

Steph Weberis a freelance writer hailing from the Midwest. She writes about healthcare, finance, and small business, but finds her passion for the medical field growing in sync with the ever-changing healthcare laws.