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Management and Staff

It can be lonely at the top, but good bosses can always take comfort in providing jobs and a welcoming business culture. Here, owners and managers share their staff troubles, challenges and victories.

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35. What is the top staffing challenge you face?

Recruiting
33%
Keeping staff motivated
25%
Boosting productivity
18%
Retaining top talent
14%
No major staffing challenges
2%
No staff
2%
Training/education/changing billing protocols
2%
Aging staff
1%
Payroll costs/staff insurance
1%
Other
2%
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38. Which staff position is hardest to fill with qualified people?

Insurance biller
8%
Salesperson
7%
Optician
38%
Optical manager
4%
Associate OD
6%
Receptionist
13%
Scribe
1%
Tech
9%
N/A
14%

39-40. If you have full-time employees, did any quit in the last 12 months? If so, what was the reason?

41. What is the average tenure of your staff?

42. How often do you hold staff meetings?

43. Where did you find your best-ever employee?

Online advertisement
17%
Staff reference
15%
Peer/vendor reference
14%
Recruited from another optical store/inherited from ex-owner
10%
Former patient/customer (or referred by)
9%
Recruited from another retail location
5%
Ad in the paper
5%
Family/friend, or reference from family/friend
4%
Employment service
4%
Walked in/cold contact
2%
Career fair/local association/campus
2%
Previous co-worker
1%
Sign in the front window
1%
Served me as a waiter/waitress
1%
Other
1%
NA
9.36%
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44. What techniques do you use in your staff training?

Sessions with sales reps
25%
Lectures/seminars/courses/outside trainers/webinars
24%
Role playing
11%
Buddy training
10%
NA
10%
Staff trips
10%
Outside reading assignments/self-study/personal goal-setting
6%
Mystery shopping
1%
Brainstorming/lunch meetings/’bitch’ sessions
1%
One-on-one with doc or manager
1%
Case studies/scenarios
0.5%
Conventions
0.5%

45. What takes up most of your time?

Patient/customer interactions (incl. pre-testing, CL fittings, exams)
32%
Working on the sales floor
17%
MVP/insurance/EHR/billing/paperwork/general admin.
14%
Managing staff
12%
Strategizing, marketing and planning
9%
Active patient/customer development
7%
Managing boards/inventory/buying
5%
Everything: No individual task stands out
2%
Lab work
1%

*A special thanks to the respondent who replied “Taking surveys…”)

COMMENT: Digging into the findings, it seems the medical side of the industry is the most demanding in terms of staff management; optometric practices were three times more likely to report it as their top time burner than opticals with no OD. Intriguingly, owners of non-OD boutiques were far more likely to spend their time strategizing, marketing and planning; a nod to the ever-shifting shape of today’s retail world?

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46. What’s the most inappropriate or strangest thing you’ve caught an employee doing on the job?

From the sublime (“Unraveling a Bird of Paradise leaf”) to the ridiculous (“Smelling things out of habit”) to the…. even more ridiculous (“Admiring parmesan cheese”), the responses we got to this seemingly innocent question left us a little disturbed. Here’s a mildly alarming snapshot of the things that weirded our respondents out most about their employees. (What’s with all the toenail clipping….?)

The 6 Most Commonly Cited, in Descending Order:

  1. Sleeping
  2. Clipping/painting toenails
  3. Sex/self-gratification/ porn/sexting
  4. Doing drugs/drinking
  5. Applying for another job/secretly working second job on computer
  6. Stealing

Here’s a selection of some of the most memorably weird things employees have been caught doing on the job:

  • “Selling Amway”
  • “Porn in the bathroom connected via bluetooth to headphone in the lab. It was very loud….”
  • “Feeding baby bunnies she snuck in.”
  • “Putting a miniature live frog in her mouth.”
  • “We once had a (short lived) female employee who was dealing with a ‘sensitive health issue in her genital area’ place a fan in front of her chair and sit in it with her legs spread around the fan… all at the front desk!”
  • “We had an employee who was searching for a ‘Second Wife’ on CraigsList. Needless to say, that employee did not last long.”
  • “Eating snacks out of her bra while in the exam room scribing for the doctor.”
  • “They brought a blender from home and were making smoothies in the breakroom on the clock.”
  • “Making sinkers out of metal blocking material.”
  • “Telling a patient that they didn’t need glasses just as patient exited the exam room with a prescription in hand.”

Since launching in 2014, INVISION has won 23 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INVISION's editors at [email protected].

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