Eye Care Professionals (ECPs) know how a well-trained staff improves patient
flow and minimizes chair time. That’s why it’s important to make sure staff
doesn’t stumble when answering questions about color contact lenses. Staff
should be prepared for questions about ACUVUE® 2 COLOURSTM Brand Contact
Lenses, and aid patients with color selection by using the color paddle
wheels and point-of-purchase brochures. Educating staff before patients
start asking questions will solidify the ECP as a contact lens expert – and
strengthen the bond between practice and patient.
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.
Fairness; applying polices equally to all
Respect as a person and as an eye care professional
Recognition of good work
Privacy in work-related criticism
Vacation and day-off policies
Perks and non-work related activities
Communication and self-actualization (ability to make a difference)
Work schedule; lunch breaks
Amount of stress on the job
Adequate size of staff
Comfortable working environment
Opportunity for advancement
Best wishes for continued success,
Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO
Editor, Optometric Management Tip of the Week
Dr. Gailmard's new book, Practice Management in Optometry: A Blueprint for Success Based on the Optometric Management Tip of the Week, is now available on Amazon.