Aside from getting patients through the door, the single biggest challenge faced by physicians in private practice is hiring and retaining qualified staff. Staff performance and morale can have a big impact on the patient experience in your practice, and turnover can be a huge challenge for a practice that’s trying to “run lean.” Whether you’re hiring your first staff before you open your doors or adding staff as your practice grows, it may be helpful to think about the following:
- Compensation vs. other local opportunities. It can be hard for a small business to compete with the benefit packages offered by hospitals and large healthcare organizations, but there are other ways to incentivize qualified candidates. In addition to determining what you can realistically offer in the way of health insurance benefits, small practices can offer quality of life benefits that larger organizations cannot. Creating a work environment where staff are respected and heard can go a long way toward attracting qualified candidates.
- Consider outsourcing some HR functions. If you use a major payroll vendor (like ADP or Paychex) you can outsource some HR management functions, reducing administrative burden for you and/or your office manager. These payroll vendors have solutions for time tracking, benefits administration, job posting, background checks, performance management, etc.
- Hire slow, fire fast. Spend the time to get to know candidates in the interview process and ask lots of questions. Have a solid employee handbook that lays out expectations and create a thorough training/onboarding process. And if it’s not working out, make sure you document shortcomings and hire candidates on an “at-will” basis so you can part ways if it doesn’t work out.
Your staff are often the first people with whom a patient interacts and it’s critical that they reflect positively on you and your practice. And there are lots of great MAs, receptionists, nurses and office managers out there! If you need help refining your staffing model, employee handbook, or you need help filling critical roles, we can help.