Staff Management

Of those areas of the business, I referenced in the intro and welcome video, staff management is often the most challenging for the business owner. You can't do this alone. You can't do it without great people. So, let's talk about how to build that team. One of the first questions you may have is, how many staff do I need to start? Most true cold start practices will open with one to one-and-a-half full-time equivalent employees or one full-time and one part-time, for example. It is better to hire conservatively when you open then to be stressed financially by hiring too many employees, too soon. By closely following the patient volume and trends after you open your doors and begin to see patients, you can hire an additional staff member at that time. We will continue to monitor the number of appointments that are scheduled prior to your opening and we can adapt, but I recommend that you take a conservative approach. Another question that I often hear is, when to start employment, when do I start employing this initial hire? We often see employment begin one to two weeks prior to opening. Two weeks is ideal as there is plenty to accomplish in those last weeks and days. And everyone is less frazzled and more prepared when you are ready to open. You want to make a great first impression of your new practice and allowing plenty of time to train will set you and your staff up to be able to wow patients. 

So where do I find good candidates? There are many options today for recruiting, which is great, because what works well in one area might not work as well in another area. Websites and online job postings are the most popular. Hiring sites like Indeed, so I N D E E D, .com, indeed, work very well. There may be a local hiring site and there are optometry specific recruiting sites as well. Student programs are another great option, health professional programs, perhaps you have a community college in your community or area, reach out to the student placement office and post on their hiring board. Nurses and other health professions make great employees. Consider other customer service positions as well. Someone that you observe that is delivering top customer service and would represent your practice nicely. So, when should you start recruiting for the initial hire? With construction and build out of the space, the timeline for opening can be a bit of a moving target, but in most cases, it's really never too early to begin looking and having a conversation with people who may be a good candidate. For personal reasons, you may not be ready for your new practice to be public knowledge and you will need to work around this to your comfort level. So, in summary on this question, you can begin to recruit early in the project after your lease is signed and ideally, no later than 8 weeks prior to opening. So, if you're going to be looking, we'll circle back to looking for candidates, you have to know what you're looking for. You will be faced with a decision whether to hire with industry experience or to train the right person for the industry or your practice. Hire the personality, train the skill is a great perspective and approach, but it will involve a commitment to training and doctor, you may need to learn parts of the business or brush up on some skills as well. One approach is to cast the net wide in your recruitment and hiring ads, stating optical experience is preferred or helpful, but not required. Then, through the hiring process that we will discuss, you can make the best decision in choosing the right person for your new practice, which leads me into the hiring process.