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Kaia Pankhurst

How to Make Each Hire Stick

3 tips & takeaways for staff retention.




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NO ONE WANTS THEIR business to be a revolving door.

Training new employees is a huge investment of your time. The longer they stay, the better your return.

Building a long-term team might seem like an abstract and mercurial concept, but there are steps you can take. Here are three takeaways to improve staff retention at your business.

Finding the Right People

Practices sometimes fall into the trap of panic hiring, bringing in the first qualified applicant. In reality, qualifications won’t guarantee retention. It’s important to think long term. Yes, you may need someone right away. But hiring fast is seldom the right strategy when building a long-term team. Be prepared to wait.

Having the right qualifications gets the applicant an interview. But temperament, core values and alignment with company culture should be what gets them the job.

What Matters to You

Now more than ever, practice culture matters to employees. The term company culture doesn’t necessarily mean holiday parties and team building events, although fun stuff is certainly a part.


Real company culture comes down to who your business is. It includes:

  • Your practice’s core values
  • Your practice’s mission and vision
  • How your team communicates with each other
  • How your team communicates with clients
  • How your team builds relationships
  • How your team handles conflict

Whether you realize it or not, your company already has an internal culture. Every interaction and decision contributes to it. If you want to keep your employees, your culture needs to be positive, nurturing, and most importantly, intentional. Start by outlining core values. These shouldn’t just govern how you treat your clients, but how you treat employees and how they treat each other.

Try polling employees about the traits they want to see in themselves, coworkers, and new staff. Their answers can serve as a framework for your core values.

Create Space to Grow

The term “dead-end job” is really the ultimate insult to any position, and there’s a good reason. Research indicates that a lack of opportunities to grow or progress is the most common reason workers leave a job, second only to poor management.

If you want to keep your staff, you need to give them somewhere to go. That doesn’t necessarily have to mean a promotion. But employees crave autonomy and ownership. They want to be challenged and trusted. By creating opportunities and adding responsibilities, you are choosing to invest in them, and they are more likely to invest in you.

The trap to avoid here is offering your team make-work projects to patronize or pacify them. Give them real growth opportunities. If you’re looking to launch a YouTube channel, task someone with owning it. Make them responsible for researching best practices, setting content standards and getting the rest of the team up to speed. And then, once you’ve given them that power, defer to them. Let them know what you want, and then trust them to make the right choices to get you there.


Empowering your staff like this gives them the chance to grow and learn a new skill, and it allows you to prove that you see value and potential in them.
Most workers are looking for the right fit. By choosing the right people and building an environment that fosters loyalty, you can make every opening the job that someone has been looking for.

Kaia Pankhurst is a Senior Content Strategist at Marketing4ECPs ( where she creates and implements content strategies for eyecare practices all over North America. Outside of the office, Kaia is a musician, activist, and professional wrestler. Email her at


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