As good staff are so hard to find

January 1, 2010

Ensure that your human capital knows how to win loyal patients and can help your practice grow

Key Points

A survey of optometrists across the United States, conducted this summer for Vision Practice Management Inc., showed staff as one of the profession's greatest concerns, extending from how to hire and retain the best staff to how to get them to be productive.

Learn through experience

As a result, I've found principles that have helped make my life easier and allowed me to take lengthy vacations without sacrificing levels of patient care and income. In fact, I recently made a CD titled "Why Not Learn from My Mistakes?" which you can obtain at no charge from the Vision Practice Management Web site at http://www.vision-practice.com/.

There are two subjects in which your staff needs to be educated. The first and most important is how to be a good optometric staff member. The second is how to carry out special duties assigned. You should invest your time and funds in specialized training only after a person has demonstrated that they grasp what you expect from them as a member of your team. What benefit would you get from training a tech or optician whose customer service is pathetic?

Basics of effective training

When your objective is effective training, your first duty is to discover the right ways to do the activities in your office. There is not one duty in your office at which you should not be proficient. This is the foundation for being able to manage your staff. When you know what can and can't be done, the way it should be done, and the desired results, others can't pull the wool over your eyes.

Your next duty is to get your staff to fully understand what you expect from them-and ensure that they do it. This is not accomplished by giving streams of orders, something that will quickly exhaust you and may not result in a competent staff.

Elements of training that have proven effective in my offices:

You do not have time to give a detailed explanation every time you want something done. Work out in advance how things should be done, train your staff to carry out their duties exactly, and your patients will be treated right.

Result-your staff becomes a true asset and you get happier patients who refer more friends. From my experience, this is the best way to do it in an optometric practice.