Are You Causing Staff Turnover?

By Dina Petrutsas, CPA
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

No matter the size of your medical practice, staff turnover can cause problems if there aren’t enough staff members to ensure patient appointment demands are met. Could some of the turnover be prevented if we took a different approach to managing our practice?

MGMA Connection, August 2017, focuses on human resource management. Since most practices do not have an HR manager on staff, HR duties usually default to the practice administrator. We should take every opportunity to read and absorb information regarding trends in managing our staff.

The Gallup “State of the American Workplace” report states that 51 percent of U.S. workers are actively looking for a new job. Do you know who those employees are in your practice? Every time you lose an employee, there is an effect on the operations of the practice, not to mention the additional cost of recruiting, onboarding and training the new employee. The cost is estimated to be between 50 and 150 percent of the position’s annual salary.

Turn Around Your Turnover

An online search about this topic found an article titled “7 Traits of Truly Horrible Bosses” by Jack Fehr, which illustrates why staff turnover occurs. The article identified negative traits for a boss, such as poor communication, being a bully, micro-managing and over working employees, that are easy to fix. We should do a self-assessment of the traits we would not want from our boss, and then translate those “bad” traits into positives to manage employees. Another article titled “7 Common (but Fixable) Causes for Employee Turnover” by Justin Reynolds suggested employees leave because the culture is toxic, there is no opportunity for advancement, it’s not fun and they hate their bosses.

The Gallup “State of the American Workplace” report states only one-third of employees who responded are engaged, 16 percent are actively disengaged and the remaining 51 percent are not engaged ... they’re just there. Think about your staff: How do these numbers match up to your employees’ engagement at work?

Are we regularly telling our employees they are doing a good job? Do you make employees feel like they are contributing to the practice’s vision and they are important? The Gallup report states that most organizations are not giving their employees a compelling reason to stay, and it should be no surprise that 91 percent of the survey respondents stated they left their company to pursue a new position somewhere else. We must make it clear to our employees that we value what they do for our practice, recognize their strengths and encourage them to stay.

Many practice managers meet regularly with their employees one-on-one to discuss topics such as what motivates them to stay with the practice. Ask questions to find out what your practice can do to help further develop their skills, especially if there is an opportunity for a leadership role in the future, and find out how they feel you support them in that effort. These one-on-one meetings, also called “stay interviews” may help you determine if the employee needs more direction to be more effective. The frequency of these stay interviews depends on the number of employees; however, the more frequent the meetings, the better the results.

We all compete to have the most talented employees. Paying the employee a fair rate for his or her position and offering benefits play a role in an employee’s longevity with the practice. Many employees are looking for flexibility in their work schedule to balance their life away from work, although meeting that benefit may be difficult to do in a medical practice setting.

Organizing Your Team Roster

While we will always have some staff turnover, as managers, our job is to minimize the chaos caused by employees leaving us for the “greener pasture.” Understandably, we would like to have all A-team players; however, as we have all seen, we also have a fair number of B- and C-team players. Though it’s important to be fair with our staff, we have to recognize the contributions of the A-team players if we expect to maintain them. We also must understand that the old days of employees staying for their entire career, like baby boomers did, are over.

Dina Petrutsas, CPA

Perhaps we need to change our management approach from “Boss” to “Coach.” Just as a coach in sports focuses on improving the employees’ skills, we must do the same to ensure they are making a better contribution to our practice. And, if we have players who are not contributing to our success, we may decide to cut them from the team. Of course, there is always the possibility that the team owner decides to fire the coach because of ineffective results.

In summary, times are changing regarding people management, and we must make changes in our leadership and management style if we want to avoid high turnover. We highly recommend that you download the Gallup “State of the American Workplace” report to learn what employees want in today’s work environment.

Concordis Practice Management LLC would be happy to evaluate your staff’s satisfaction and evaluate their desire to stay with your practice. Contact us today at 210-704-1014.