There is currently so much focus on the struggle to find great talent that the importance of reducing team turnover in your weight loss practice can be overlooked.
If you have an open position in your practice, you have likely experienced frustration finding talented team members that are willing to work the hours you need at the salary you are prepared to offer. Or, you may have employees who are being actively sought after for other opportunities resulting in the need to make counter-offers that can create angst for everyone involved. Bottom line, recruiting, hiring, onboarding and training as a result of team turnover is costly.
The healthcare industry has been adversely affected when it comes to availability and longevity of quality team members – a predicament worsened by the Covid-19 Pandemic. In fact, Elsevier Health recently researched and compiled their ‘Clinician of the Future’ report with current problems, predictions and ways to bridge predicated gaps in the healthcare industry. These gaps are largely created by the almost shocking finding that 47% of U.S. healthcare workers plan to leave their current role within two to three years.1
To further support this state of affairs, another study shows that ‘if the current U.S. healthcare workforce trends continue, more than 6.5 million healthcare professionals will permanently leave their positions by 2026, while only 1.9 million will step in to replace them, leaving a national industry shortage of more than 4 million workers’.2
Now more than ever, retention of excellent team members is critically important. Here are three proven ways to retain talent and reduce team turnover in your weight loss practice.
While team members may be motivated differently when it comes to loyalty and longevity, knowing that they are doing a good job, a valued member of your team, and actively making a difference for patients means more than you may realize. Yet, acknowledging their accomplishments can be overlooked as the ‘busyness’ of the day takes over.
Studies find that employee recognition and acknowledgement is tied to increasing retention by 41%. In addition, it increases employee engagement by 34%.3 If you have had the pleasure of experiencing this firsthand, you understand the power of taking the time to acknowledge the accomplishments of your team. This sincere communication helps create the high performers you need in your practice.
The main reason acknowledging accomplishments works is simply because it makes people happy and happy team members are much more likely to be loyal to your practice. They also tend to be more positive and likely to go the extra miles for the patients they serve.
Coincidentally, acknowledgement does not need to be a grand expensive gesture. What tends to mean the most is timely, sincere feedback on a job well done. This can easily be done during a one-on-one formal or impromptu discussion, publicly in a meeting, written in an e-mail or ‘old-fashioned’ card, sticky note or quick internal text. Additionally, peer-to-peer acknowledgement for team members going ‘above and beyond’ or simply ‘making a difference’ has been shown to be extremely effective.
Gone are the days of training your team only for the position they hold today or upon hire. If you are hiring ideal team members, they will not only want to excel today but take on additional challenges and learning opportunities to grow personally and contribute to your practice vision and goals in greater ways.
It is meaningful to them when you are willing to invest in their personal and professional development. This includes mentoring them, providing additional training or certifications via in-house, virtual and in person events, as well as providing team building experiences. Demonstrating a sincere interest in their personal and professional growth tends to increase a loyalty towards you and your practice.
You can accomplish this in a variety of ways. First, you can take the time to meet with your team members and ask them a couple of questions (similar to a ‘stay interview’).
• What do you really enjoy about your position here?
• What is your top one or two frustrations?
• Do you have any ideas/ways to help solve those frustrations?
• Is there a way we can better support you in your position here?
• Where do you see yourself in 1 year?
• Where do you see yourself in 3 years?
Second, when you have new leadership or program development opportunities in your practice, look within first. Determine if there is someone who has an interest and talent for the new position. This also applies to stepping up your social media or marketing endeavors. Often, you will have a creative team member who is better able to capture the success of your patients and the uniqueness of your practice and then showcase it to attract new patients and celebrate current patient success.
Third, once you are aware of your team members goals, continue to support them and, at the very least, inquire about their progress. Investing in your team pays high dividends in the form of loyalty and longevity. And, if they are working towards a degree or passion that doesn’t fill an opportunity in your practice, they become ambassadors for your brand and can often recommend the perfect replacement while facilitating a smooth transition.
Ambiguity creates confusion, misunderstandings and often a great deal of dissatisfaction. Your team needs – and wants – to understand your vision, practice goals and how they fit into the bigger picture. Essentially, they need to understand what ‘success’ looks like for their position and how they can contribute to make a positive impact. This starts in the interview process and continues through onboarding and ongoing communication channels.
Communication creates positive (or negative) human interactions. In your practice, clear communication ensures that your team has the information they need to perform well and helps them prioritize to minimize inefficiencies. However, this is not just about one-way communication. It is about creating an environment – and expectation – that allows and encourages your team to share their ideas, questions, and suggestions. When your team members are engaged, they are more productive and tend to stay longer with your company.
While you may not want to share everything, it is important to be as clear and transparent as you can with your team in good times and in challenging times. As a result, they are better equipped to celebrate the good times and problem solve in challenging times.
In addition to these three ways to lower team turnover, some other impactful initiatives include: critically evaluate your hiring process to ensure you are hiring the right people in your practice; review compensation and benefit packages and update as necessary; support a healthy work/life balance; be inclusive; demonstrate your company values while expecting the same of your team; and cultivate respect.
It all comes down to your team feeling valued, supported and able to contribute their talents for practice, team and patient success.
Another way to support your team is through an all-in-one online (customizable) system to calm the chaos of tracking your patients from inquiry to surgery, improve your conversion from inquiry to established patient, and streamline all patient communication in one HIPAA compliant software solution. For more information or to schedule a free practice assessment, click here.
About the Author: Karol Clark, MSN, RN, is a best-selling author who has a passion for helping physicians integrate effective, profitable weight loss services and retail sales into their practice while improving patient outcomes and enjoying the journey along the way. Her use of non-traditional (easy to implement) medical marketing strategies, along with her dedication to a positive ROI makes her a uniquely different and sought-after weight loss business consultant. Karol is the CEO of Weight Loss Practice Builder and the exclusive membership program for weight loss practitioners, www.BariatricBusinessAccelerator.com. She has more than 20 years of experience working with surgical and medical weight loss physicians and their teams helping them simplify creation of a profitable and enjoyable bariatric practice.