You’ve whipped your clinic into shape, beefed up your benefits package, gotten your head in the game, and asked the right questions. Now, you’ve got a rockstar team made up of some very top-tier talent. So how do you keep ‘em happy and committed to your clinic? Here are six ways to retain top talent:
Give your employees a purpose.
Gone are the days when all employees cared about was a paycheck. Today’s employees want to feel like they’re a part of something bigger than themselves, that what they do on a daily basis matters in the world. This especially holds true for individuals who have chosen careers in rehab therapy. Chances are they didn’t get into this profession for the money; they did so to really give back, to help people live their lives to the fullest.
In a smartplanet.com article, author Heather Clancy writes, “It turns out that professionals that are in a position that they feel will make a better world or contribute to society are much more satisfied than their counterparts—by a 2:1 ratio.”
Make sure you’re emphasizing this throughout the day. Don’t make a therapist’s success a numbers game. Sure, you need to make money, and the more patients your therapists see the better, but focusing only on headcount diminishes the impact of your therapists’ work and turns their passion into just a job. And that can quickly lead to discontent—and a stack of resignation letters.
Offer flexibility and autonomy while setting real goals.
In other words, don’t micromanage or require that employees punch a clock. Instead, give your staff big goals to work toward—both individually and as a team—and then step back. Respecting everyone’s personal working and learning style—not to mention time—can increase the respect and loyalty your employees show to both your practice and to you as a boss.
Daniel Pink, author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, writes: "Let people figure out the best paths to the goal, rather than breathe down their necks all the time." This way, while you’re focusing on the end result—the bigger picture— your staff will be focused on how to get the whole team there.
Be a mentor.
Just because employees seek autonomy and freedom doesn’t mean that they want to feel all alone in the workplace. Make yourself available—open door policy—and get to know each employee on a personal and professional level. What are their goals? How can you better help them? What are their thoughts on the company? What do they think would make it an even better place to work? Asking deep questions and really listening to—and acting on—their answers will make a big difference in how your employees view their level of involvement with—and importance to—the practice.
Develop an office culture of collaboration, innovation, and open-mindedness.
Essentially, create an office environment where you want to come to work every day—one where everyone communicates openly, accepts each others’ ideas, and is eager and energetic about tackling whatever challenges arise. How do you create such a magical place? Start by setting a good example. Be collaborative, reward innovation, and stay open-minded and receptive to new suggestions. Issie Lapowsky, author of an Inc. article titled “10 Things Employees Want,” says “you can always foster innovation through employee brainstorming sessions that allow the staff to work with new people and generate fresh ideas.”
It should go without saying here that although employees care about more than just a paycheck, they still care about compensation—and that goes beyond a fair base salary and health insurance coverage. As I discussed yesterday, paid time off, flexible schedules, remote access to documentation, team-building events, and a fun environment all matter—as do a lot of other “perks.” Also consider merit-based salary increases and bonuses rather than those based purely on tenure. Just as the entire rehab industry is moving toward a pay-per-performance model, so is the employment market.
No, it definitely wouldn’t be appropriate to discuss everything about your business with your employees, but the things you can share, do—the good and the bad. Is your clinic leveraging a new marketing technique and you’re expecting a boom? Maybe you’re looking to hire again? Or are you facing a potential loss in revenue as a result of the new MPPR legislation? Talk to your team about it. Tell them what’s going on and how you plan to get your practice—and them—through whatever the change might be. Remember, your employees are tied to your practice, too, on both a personal and financial level. They deserve to know what’s going on around them, and they’re most certainly entitled to ask you questions about the future. Being honest demonstrates your trust in your team, which will only strengthen your employee-employer relationship. That’s huge!
There you have it—a starting place for retaining top-tier talent. Six easy-to-implement—but harder to maintain—ways to make your practice is a place where people want to work. Of course, even if you enact all of the above tips, you won’t always be able to keep every employee happy—and that’s okay. More than okay, actually. It can be a very good thing for not only an employee’s professional growth, but also for your own and that of the industry as a whole. After all, the training and guidance your employees receive from you will only help them be better in their next engagements—and that will continue to raise the bar for the entire therapy industry. So, if your top-tier talent birdy needs to spread her wings, let her—or him—go for it. And try not to take it too personally.
Do you have any success stories? What about lessons learned? What have you done to retain your top-talent, or what has your employer done to retain you? We want to know! Leave your answers in the comments below.