28 Jun 14 Steps for Keeping Eye Care Staff Happy, Engaged & Productive
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced people to re-evaluate what they want and need from their jobs. Money is definitely a factor, but eye care staff are increasingly considering things like mental health, child care challenges, and company culture in their decisions about where they will spend their work lives.
In a recent Women in Optometry Poll, 53% of respondents said they noticed a drop in enthusiasm and energy among their peers. This is important because enthusiasm fuels job satisfaction, productivity, and retention. When employees don’t feel like they are valued and appreciated, they tend to look elsewhere.
So how can you encourage and motivate your eye care staff? Here are 14 ideas for keeping your team motivated, valued, and happy in a tight labor market.
1. Recognize eye care staff burnout.
A Deloitte workplace burnout survey shows that 77% of people are experiencing burnout in their current jobs. Burnout can cause increased healthcare costs, disengaged employees, and increased employee turnover.
Creators of the Calm App suggest that employers should watch for a drastic dip in energy levels, a lack of care at work, or increased sick days as signals that your staff member is experiencing burnout. Implementing company wellness initiatives and encouraging the use of stress management techniques like the Calm App can help address some of these symptoms.
2. Cultivate a feeling of “belonging” in the workplace.
According to Indeed’s Work Happiness Score research, the feeling of belonging is the biggest driver of worker satisfaction. Staff want to feel supported by their employers and feel safe being themselves and sharing their opinions and ideas. They want to be treated as a whole person, not just a job function, and be recognized for their efforts.
Create a mentorship program as a buddy system to help new staff members feel a sense of belonging from day one. They’ll feel supported and invested.
3. Teach and encourage self-care.
Whether it’s healthy habits like stretching, eating a healthy diet, going for a walk at lunch, or mental health activities like socializing or spending time outside, encourage your staff to care for themselves and provide them the time and space to do it.
4. Provide discounted eyewear and complimentary exams.
Complimentary eye exams and discounted eyewear are great benefits for your staff. Your staff will appreciate the value of regular eye exams and the ensuing health benefits. This perk will give them a personal experience they can share with your patients and increase their confidence in the services and eyewear products you offer.
5. Actively solicit ideas from staff on potential inefficiencies.
If you and your staff don’t have regular meetings, make it a goal to start this routine. Weekly meetings are a great time to consult staff on potential inefficiencies and solve ongoing issues that are facing the practice.
For instance, find out your key problem areas in your billing processes. Front-line staff may also have unique practice management solutions and ideas on attracting new patients and retaining existing patients.
6. Encourage growth through continuing education.
Thinking regularly about growth and opportunities for your staff will help retain dedicated, talented employees. Every eye care practice is busy, but it’s important to take time out for continuing education to keep up with the latest techniques, research, and technologies.
Actively encourage your staff to keep their knowledge fresh by offering continuing education opportunities, like myopia management certifications or paid workshops on new technologies and conferences (online or onsite) where they connect with industry leaders. Consider contributing to their optical society memberships or certification renewals.
7. Take advantage of your eye care EHR and practice management online training resources.
MaximEyes.com’s self-guided Integrated Learning Center streamlines your training experience and reduces the overall learning curve. These built-in tools allow new users to quickly get up to speed and become proficient with the software.
Your staff can download documentation, view video module overviews, engage with step-by-step walkthroughs, and complete courses without leaving the software. Encourage your staff to write down any questions they have and take time to practice using the software.
8. Clarify the chain of command.
Any confusion or breakdown in the chain of command within an eye care practice can cause problems. At the earliest opportunity, clarify the positions in your office and ensure your staff feels their current title reflects their roles and responsibilities.
9. Improve office efficiency by outsourcing insurance billing and collection services.
Does your staff become overwhelmed whenever new coding, reimbursement, or staffing issues arise? Productivity suffers when they are faced with managing claims submissions, eligibility and benefits verification, claims rejections and denials, payment posting, collections, and other tasks. The pressure mounts and frustration peaks, all impacting your eye care practice.
How can you overcome inefficiencies? Outsource the whole insurance billing process and find a billing solution that suits your practice best. You’ll have a team of specialists working for you, submitting claims quickly and accurately. Outsourcing frees up more time for your staff to focus on patients.
Related: 12 Ways Eye Care Revenue Cycle Management Improves Cash Flow
10. Use powerful patient engagement tools and empower your staff.
Taking advantage of practice management and EHR software that offers an integrated patient portal is a great way to improve patient engagement and empower your staff to perform with greater efficiency. Patients schedule appointments and pay their bills online, and your team can easily send appointment reminders via secure text (SMS) or email.
Is your staff spending too much time re-entering patient information from paper to computer at check-in? It’s time to create a positive experience for your office and patients, moving from paper forms on clipboards to online patient intake forms.
Watch MaximEyes.com Patient Engagement Video
11. Update your optometry EHR, office equipment, and ophthalmic imaging tools.
A common frustration among eye care staff is when management refuses to modernize. Updating technology may seem costly, but ensuring your patients receive the best care possible is worth it.
Invest in updated technology like handheld instruments, digital refraction systems, ophthalmic image management systems, or move to an all-in-one customizable optometry practice management and EHR system like MaximEyes.com. Updating your systems—especially your EHR system—will improve patient care and show your staff that you’re serious about giving them the tools they need to do excellent work.
12. Evaluate office productivity and efficiency levels.
Put some time into evaluating office efficiencies and productivity levels. This will ensure you’re hiring and scheduling the correct ratio of office management, front office, technicians, opticians, scribes, and medical staff. That way, everyone feels motivated and supported instead of tired and overworked.
13. Add an eye care specialty to help retain patients.
Retaining patients is easier if you’re able to offer more options for specialized care. Consider the demographics of your area, then reach out to a specialist with experience in a field such as specialty contact lenses, dry eye conditions, or myopia management. For instance, according to the National Eye Institute, nearly 50% of the world will be myopic by 2050.
Your staff will not have to refer people to other providers by offering more eye care services in-house. Instead, you can innovate and grow your eye care practice.
14. Express appreciation by working with your staff.
As with any team, it’s easiest to motivate eye care professionals when they know their individual needs are being considered. If you don’t yet know how to express appreciation to your staff, feel free to ask them directly.
Motivated eye care staff are the key to an efficient, functional practice that takes care of every patient. By investing in practice management and EHR systems like MaximEyes.com, your staff will have more time to offer personalized care to patients and take part in opportunities that will improve their skills and benefit their future eye care careers.