Optometric Management Tip # 109   -   Wednesday, February 18, 2004
Marketing to Your Staff: Job Satisfaction

My last few management tips have focused on internal marketing and developing your competitive advantage. I'm a big believer in the power of marketing - which is defined as identifying and satisfying the customer's (patient's) wants and needs. I wrote about developing a patient-centric philosophy, and I recommended you ask yourself tough questions, like why should a patient select your office.

If you are in step with me on the value of all this, the next step is to take the concept further and consider your marketing plan for attracting a different kind of "customer": your employee. When you think of it, employees are the internal customers of a business, and they also have wants and needs. While no employer can completely satisfy all the wants and needs of employees due to cost considerations, many wants and needs don't really cost that much. And satisfying more employee wants and needs breeds stronger staff moral and better attitudes. In a high-service oriented professional practice, that type of staff morale is vitally important. In addition to the better service that is fostered by a happier staff, a practice that positions itself as a top-level employer will retain better staff members and attract better applicants for job openings.

I realize that this weekly e-tip is read by many employees, as well as employers. In either group we'll find doctors, opticians, technicians, receptionists and managers, and we all must realize that employment is a balance, which is ideal when both the employer and employee feel like they are getting as much as they are giving. It is always a give and take, and employees can have a real effect on workplace culture and employment policies by giving more. Who gives more first is debatable.

Since practice owners are generally the leaders of the practice, I recommend they reflect on their staff management style, and review written and unwritten polices. Just as you can ask yourself why patients should select your practice, it is a good exercise to ask why employees should choose to work for your practice over other employment options. The answer is your competitive advantage for staffing.

Here is a list of work-related factors that can lead to increased job satisfaction.
Best wishes for continued success,

Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO
Chief Optometric Editor, Optometric Management