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Amy Alvarez | 11/5/2018

“I have never had to hire like this before!”

“I’m embarrassed to say, my longest-term employee has only been with me 9 months.”

“I never used to have this problem!”

“We must be doing something wrong!”

“I can’t afford to have to hire again. What can I do to keep the staff I have?”

Ever said or thought any of these things before? You are not alone. Retention is at the center of most conversations in this market. Unemployment was 3.7% last month. Additionally, job growth was significant, especially in healthcare – 22,000+ new jobs in September alone! (BLS)

Keep in mind, in 2016, average retention in the healthcare industry was 2.9 years. (BLS) There are plenty of members at IDOC who are experiencing harsher turnover than that! Commitment and loyalty, which used to mean long-term employment, are beginning to mean dedication, while I work here. We aren’t looking for just long-term employment anyway. After all, not all retention is created equal. We want employees, whether they are employed for 6 months or 6 years, to also be engaged! Engaged employees are dedicated to the practice’s success.

There are things you can do to drive engaged retention and they are going to have long term benefits for your practice!

Core Values – Identify what is important to your business

When values of the individual align with the values of the business, the match will be more satisfying for both parties. Spend time creating core values for your practice that define what is important to you. Make it an activity with your staff – team bonding and true reflection of your business! Win-Win!

Training – Set your team up for success

When someone joins your team, take the time to teach them to do their role properly. Setting them up for success creates commitment. But don’t stop there! Keep it going! There is always something to learn. Tag your vendor reps to come in and teach the staff about products you carry or new technologies. Ask your team to help everyone with a topic they know well at the next staff meeting.

Communicate – Talk to your employees… A LOT

You could have the best core values, the best training, the best policies, the best hire. But without communication, these things are all lost. Communication should occur frequently, formally and informally. You can communicate through one-on-one meetings – feedback and reviews, staff meetings, a bulletin board. There is no limit!

Accountability – It is ok to have expectations

Policies, procedures and coaching are all great ways to address concerns when things are just right. However, if we never address concerns, little things become big problems and they are having a negative effect on the business and the team as whole! It is best to address these concerns right away and consistently.

Benefits – And no, I don’t mean just health insurance

Optical Discounts, Paid Time Off, Holiday Pay, No Weekends/Week days off, part time/full time and more are great benefits that you offer your team. Bonuses, contests, monthly/quarterly lunches and other activities are also benefits and drive commitment to the practice and encourage your team to stick around.

Engaged Retention requires effort and attention and you have to continue to cultivate it. However, when you have it – you will see growth of the practice and you will feel less personal stress. Sounds like you can’t lose!


Amy Alvarez
Human Resources Consultant
Amy Alvarez, SHRM-CP is IDOC’s Human Resources Consultant. Amy has experience in HR in healthcare and retail, management in big box and specialty retail stores and physician recruitment. Through these roles and training, Amy is well-versed in recruitment and hiring strategies for “hard to fill” roles, dealing with low productivity, helping encourage employee engagement, on-boarding, training, day-to-day management in a retail setting, employee relations, and so much more.
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