How employee turnover can turn your practice under

November 1, 2005

The overwhelming majority of employees who leave any practice leave because of the way they are treated.

This article will review techniques to prevent employee turnover and help make your practice work like a team to provide outstanding care for your patients.

Why employees leave

Turnover is expensive, with estimates of the costs of turnover ranging from 50% to 200% of an employee's annual salary. Excessive employee turnover is often cited as a key barrier to high-quality service and patient satisfaction. Turnover reduces the productivity of an entire practice, particularly as a result of uncompensated extra workloads, the stress and tension caused by turnover, and, as a result, a decline in practice morale. And don't forget about the added costs of hiring a new employee, which include advertising costs, training costs, interviewing time, and pre-employment assessments.

First, lack of appreciation of our employees is itself a negative. Most doctors and office managers are very nice people, but they manage almost exclusively by negative reinforcement-not because of what they do but because of what they don't do.

Employees crave recognition and positive reinforcement. You will find that employees want "psychic pay" just as much as monetary rewards. When was the last time you told an employee "good job" or how much you appreciated their extra effort or going the extra mile for a patient or fellow employee? If you can't remember having given a few "warm fuzzies" recently, then surely your employees are feeling the lack of appreciation.

Second, when you give out positives-whether it is a pat on the back or a raise in pay-you must give them to all of your employees. You can create havoc and the perception of favoritism if you only reward a few top performers.

This is not to say that you should reward everyone with equal pay raises. Most employees don't think it is fair that they work hard every day, while others do just enough to get by, yet the consequences, pay, benefits, perks, and praise are doled out to everyone. As Vince Lombardi, one of the greatest football coaches of all time, said, "There is nothing more unequal than the equal treatment of unequals." Treat people on the basis of merit, not seniority or position.