I don’t have to tell you the price you pay for high turnover in your clinic.
Or do I? We all know constant hiring can be a major hassle. But in my experience, practice owners sometimes underestimate just how disruptive, expensive and damaging turnover really is.
A revolving door of employees:
- costs you money and puts the high quality of patient care and patient experience at risk
- challenges the productivity and happiness of the rest of your staff
- creates constant stress and overwhelm for owners and managers
- limits your ability to expand, treat more patients, increase revenues, and broaden your impact in your community
In our industry, we’re experiencing an incredibly competitive market for physical therapists, as well as for aides and assistants. And expert administrators are always in high demand. No PT owner can afford to be in constant hiring mode. You need to find great people AND be able to keep them onboard.
That calls for a hiring strategy AND a retention strategy.
With both hiring and retention systems in place, practice owners spend less time having to hire, and more time working with an energized, cohesive team. Your focus stays on the mission of your business—not on patching holes in your organization. The longer your employees remain with your clinic, the more they know, the more they can contribute, the more value they have. That’s value delivered to your patients in seamless, exceptional care. It’s also value that goes right to your business’ bottom line.
Building a business that better serves your patients is the best way to grow your bottom line. I share my proven strategies for strengthening the connection between patient service and profit in my FREE, downloadable guide: 3 Simple Things That Will Get You More Patients and Make You More Money Right Now.
What does a PT retention strategy look like? It’s built a few key fundamentals: communication, trust, and opportunity. Developing trust and alliance with employees, communicating frequently and with transparency, and providing opportunities for growth and challenge are places all PT owners should start.
Here are 3 ways every PT practice—no matter its size or budget—can start to build a retention plan:
Make learning a priority – every day
The opportunity for advancement is a huge incentive for employees to accept jobs, and a big reason why they stay—or leave. A 2017 LinkedIn survey found that concerns about lack of advancement was the single most common reason employees changed jobs.
Advancement can mean promotion, expansion of responsibility, and management opportunities. It can mean training in new skills and new technologies. Advancement is also found in a culture of learning that’s integrated throughout your practice, and attached to every task your employees undertake day after day. Encourage your team to ask questions. Give them a supportive forum for examining errors and knowledge gaps, so everyone can learn and improve. Promote a growth mindset that prioritizes learning in your clinic.
Ditch the performance review
The annual sit-down to discuss employee performance is awkward, outdated, and doesn’t work in today’s business world. To the contrary: it can actually do harm, depressing employee morale and turning owners and employees into adversaries, rather than the allies you need to be.
A better practice? Stay connected to your employees through ongoing conversations about their work. You’ll be alerted to issues problems that need to be addressed before they become crises. You’ll put yourself in a position to support your employees toward success in a more meaningful, collaborative way. Commit your time and effort to engaging in real dialogue on a regular basis. Ask open-ended questions. Listen actively. Respect and reward honesty and transparency in your employees.
Develop as a leader
It’s not easy for those of us in ownership roles to hear, but issues with leadership is another big reason employees jump ship. In that 2017 LinkedIn study, dissatisfaction with leadership and management was second only to lack of advancement as the reason employees changed jobs. Your leadership defines your organization and its culture. If your leadership style is reactive, if you lack focus and clarity about your practice goals and methods, if you don’t know when to get involved and when to step back, you will send employees looking in other directions.
Take a close, honest look at your leadership habits. Leadership is a skill, just like any other. As business owners, we need guidance and training in leadership skills just as we did in developing our clinical skills. That’s how you’ll learn to excel as a leader and keep a great staff in place.