Staff management strategies for keeping staff engaged

The two staff management questions I hear consistently from optometrists are how to reduce staff turnover, and how to keep employees engaged.

These are staff management challenges that face every business, big and small.

Research shows us that the key to the former is the latter. When your team is motivated, encouraged and supported, they are simply less likely to leave. Research also shows that when staff truly feel they are part of your vision and mission, they are more likely to turn down other, higher-paying job opportunities.

This tells us that it’s not just about money. In fact it’s a common employer pitfall to believe employees are only motivated by dollar signs. Pay is important, but it’s not the only thing staff use to determine where they work and whether they stay. It’s not even necessarily the most important factor. Benefits, morale, growth opportunities, training and development, location, flexible work options are just a few other reasons employees may choose to keep their current employment.

This is great news. It means that independent optometry practices have more ways than one to handle staff management challenges.

Start with these staff management strategies

I’m sharing two short articles I believe each optometrist should read.

The first walks through how to keep your best employees. The second is about how to create a positive work culture.

Like the two staff management issues I opened with, these two articles are inextricably linked: making your practice an engaging place to work is an effective, cost-efficient way to keep your employees.

The advice offered in both articles can readily by applied by optometrists to staff management challenges. Everything shared across both pieces will help you build a great culture. In so doing, these strategies will help you reduce staff turnover.

Here are three of my favourite strategies:

  • Set expectations early. An employee can only meet expectations when the employer and the employee have clarity on what these are. Expectations provide structure and stability. They ensure everyone is on the same page. For the employer, they allow you to easily see whether your staff are missing or surpassing expectations so you can respond and adjust accordingly.
  • Highlight everyone’s talents. As employers, owner-optometrists should want all of their employees to shine. It’s motivational for them, and it’s useful for you. You could have a social media wizard or a former sales superstar on your team whose talents could significantly benefit your marketing or eyewear sales.
  • Believe in openness. If you don’t talk about expectations, if you don’t make time to speak with employees, if you don’t have a culture that encourages feedback, you don’t have an open practice. This is how employers get caught off guard when staff members resign. A fundamental piece of staff management is about creating a two-way relationship with your team. This lets you know what’s working, what isn’t, what they need, and how you can support them. It gives you space too to bring up concerns and re-adjust expectations when needed.

The keys to successful staff management aren’t expensive or complicated. At the end of the day, it’s about what anyone would want in any workplace: to be heard, valued and supported to succeed.

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