Management advice from Rebecca Johnson

Good employees can be hard to find. Here are ways to keep them happy.

This article originally appeared in the September 2015 edition of INVISION.

The best way to keep your employees is to let them know that you appreciate them. Don’t be like the man who had been married 50 years. On his 50th anniversary, his wife said, “Honey, I have had a very happy life with you, but something has been bothering me for years: How come you never tell me that you love me?” The man replied, “Doris, I told you that I loved you 50 years ago. If anything had changed, I would have let you know.”

Remember: A paycheck and a “thank you” are not the same thing. People need to know they’re appreciated. You can show appreciation through a gift card or a heartfelt “thank you” at the end of a long day.

A good manager will check the “burnout” temperature of his staff on a regular basis.

People also need to have sense of fulfillment and accomplishment. Just because an employee does a great job does not mean that he feels fulfilled. When a normally prompt and effective employee begins to come in late, leave early and show a general slackness in job duties, he is putting up a red “burnout” flag.

It is possible that the employee is overworked and needs help — or maybe an afternoon off to recharge. But it’s also possible that the sense of accomplishment is gone because the job has lost its challenge. A good manager will check the “burnout” temperature of his staff on a regular basis by watching for red flags and looking for ways to provide relief, challenge and a sense of accomplishment.

People tend to stay longer in a job that is considered a career. The best way you can help an employee view his job as a career is to promote growth through ophthalmic career certification. Encouraging certification is a win-win: The employee commits to learning and the doctor — the whole business — reaps the benefit of the knowledge gained. And as the American Optometric Association website puts it: “Optometrists who support and reward staffing training and certification aid the progression of the field of optometry by requiring competency and a recognized level of knowledge throughout their office. Certification can result in higher staff retention when the value of a certified paraoptometric is apparent in the practice.” Learn more at

Last, remember that the team that plays together is more likely to stay together. Encourage a fun work environment, both on a daily basis and with occasional offsite team building activities. For some ideas, check out my earlier column at

REBECCA JOHNSON is a 30-year veteran in the eyecare business. She is the executive director of Business Consultative Services for GPN and owner of EyeTrain4You, an ophthalmic staff training and development company. Contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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