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John Marvin

The 5 Necessities for Hiring and Retaining a Loyal Team

Follow these easy and inexpensive tips to create loyalty and teamwork.

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“There are many ways to motivate people to do things, but loyalty comes from the ability to inspire people.” – Simon Sinek

SPEND ANY TIME at all talking to ODs who own their own practice or opticians who own their own shop and you will hear their frustrations about hiring staff. For some reason, two years of a global pandemic has made it more difficult to find people to hire. You combine that with the long-time problem of high turnover of staff in optometry practices and you have a mess. How do you build loyalty? Here are five ways:

1. Hire to a culture. People accept a job for a lot of reasons. They are looking for more money, a job closer to home, certain hours. They stay at a job for one reason: they like the culture of the place. A friend of mine once said, “People will do for love what they will never do for money.”

2. Keep your culture consistent. When owners expect something from their employees that they do not practice, employees will not be loyal. If you expect employees to be on time, then you need to be on time. If you are constantly running behind when seeing patients, you are letting people know that being late is acceptable. Don’t get upset when they show up 10 or 15 minutes late.

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3. Set the values of the practice. Sit down with your office manager and key employees and let them know what you consider to be the values of the practice and why they are important. This will require you to take time and determine what those values should be. Every business operation has and demonstrates values, usually without thought or intention. It is important to your employees that they know what these values are and can recognize them in ownership.

4. Communicate, communicate and communicate. Start each day with a “huddle-up” where you review the planned schedule for the day. Give yourself and your employees 30 minutes each morning for recognizing recurring problems, discussing solutions and getting agreement to work together. Once a week, hold a staff meeting with an agenda where performance metrics are reported versus the goals that were set. The more your employees know about these metrics, financial and otherwise, the more invested they are in a successful outcome.

5. Reward performance. People like their performance to be recognized. This can be done in a number of ways other than money. Don’t misunderstand, you should financially invest in good people but do not let this be the primary way you recognize employees. Reward and recognition should come each week, much like a coach will award a “game ball.” Each week during your employee meeting, award your own version of a game ball. Combine it with a $50 or $100 gift card. It is not so much about what you do, rather that you do it at all.

All of these things create loyalty. They are easy and inexpensive to implement, and only require two things from the owner, sincerity and consistent follow through.

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John D. Marvin has more than 25 years of experience in the ophthalmic and optometric practice industry. He is the president of Texas State Optical and writes about marketing, management and education at the practiceprinciples.net blog. You can email him at [email protected]

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