Reducing Turnover in Your Practice

Performance reviews and opportunities for growth play key roles in motivating your staff members to succeed. But practices that take the time to develop their team also gain a direct financial benefit: lower turnover. Indeed, employees who work in a positive and productive environment are far less likely to leave.

Owen Dahl, a practice management consultant in The Woodlands, TX, says most medical practices spend between 70% and 200% of a departing worker’s annual salary to recruit and train a replacement. However, those figures don't speak to the burden the process creates for your staff while a new colleague learns the ropes. Here are some simple suggestions that can help enhance staff retention.

Establish a Collaborative Environment

One of the most effective retention-boosting strategies is collaboration, says Jamie Claypool, a practice management consultant in Spicewood, TX. “Employees take more ownership of major changes or decisions when they are involved in the process,” she says. For example, solicit input from your billing staff on the selection of new software for their department and include staff members who will be working with new recruits in the interviewing process.

Talk to Staff Members During Challenging Times

Communicate with your staff members, especially in times of turmoil. If your office is experiencing financial difficulty or conducting meetings with a potential partner, then speak with your team as early as you can. The truth is better than the fear of the unknown, which can result in the loss of your best and brightest employees.

Create Training Opportunities

Employees should be given opportunities to develop their skills through continuing education. “More than anything else, staff members need to feel that they have a chance to develop professionally,” says Claypool, noting that cross-training your team to perform multiple jobs within your office also creates scheduling flexibility when someone calls out sick.

Avoid Micromanaging

However, once they’re trained, get out of the way. “Do not micromanage your staff,” advises Claypool, emphasizing that excessive oversight is among the most common reasons for high turnover. “You should expect a level of professionalism from everyone on your staff. If they are trained well, you do not have to be there to continuously oversee them.”

Excessive turnover and the costs incurred as a result can be reduced by maintaining an open dialogue with staff members and encouraging them to take an active role in your practice.