IDOC actively shares industry-focused articles, blog posts, podcasts, videos and other thought leadership with our members and other optometric practitioners. Below, you will find links to our growing library of educational materials and multi-media assets written and created by IDOC's team of seasoned industry experts.
Steve Vargo | 9/10/2019

A well-trained staff is the hallmark of a high producing office that consistently exceeds patient expectations. A highly trained staff makes fewer mistakes, operates more efficiently, and relies less on you for constant management.

The most common excuse I hear for an undertrained staff is time. We don’t have time to keep training people! For many practices, the reason they don’t have time is because they are spending all their time fixing mistakes and putting out fires that resulted from a lack of training.

Below is a 3-step process for training employees. Educate, demonstrate, and then become the student.


Thoroughly educate the employee on all their duties. For example, if you are training a tech to do a specific test on a patient, then don’t just explain “how” to do the test, but also the reason for the test and what you are checking for. For non-testing responsibilities, you’ll still offer a lot of educating on the what and the why, not just the how. When employees are unable to explain test procedures or answer patient questions, it reflects poorly on the practice.


Demonstrate how to do the tasks. Give the employee a notebook to take notes and encourage questions. The notebook will also serve as a good reference for the employee to refer back to. Periodically quiz the trainee on things you have taught. Be patient. You will likely have to re-explain things. Trainees will often nod their head up and down during training, but this doesn’t always mean they are comprehending what you are saying.

Become the Student

The best way to learn something new and have it “stick” is to teach it to someone else. Have the employee do a test on you or perform a task while you watch, explaining the process to you as they do it. As before, ask questions to ensure adequate understanding of the task. Until the employee can successfully perform a task without your assistance, don’t assume they have mastered the task.

I will add that having a system for training usually yields better results than a less structured approach. A scattered approach to training and trying to teach too much at once can be very overwhelming to a new hire, especially one without experience in the eye care field. I would rather take a slow and methodical approach with training to ensure competency than a rapid-fire approach to training that results in constantly having to fix mistakes and put out fires.

For more content like this, head back to our blog

Discover IDOC's membership benefits

Steve Vargo
Practice Management Consultant
Steve Vargo, OD, MBA is a 1998 graduate of Illinois College of Optometry. After working in a clinical optometric practice for several years, Dr. Vargo pursued his passion for practice management by earning his Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the University of Phoenix in 2008. A published author and speaker with 15 years of clinical experience, he serves as IDOC’s Optometric Practice Management Consultant and advises members in all areas of practice management and optometric office operations. Steve and his wife Melanie have two sons, Lucas and Ryan. In his spare time, he enjoys running, cycling, sports and music. A native Chicagoan, he is an avid fan of the Cubs, live music and deep-dish pizza.
Trending Blogs

2/22/2021 | Author: Amy Alvarez

Maybe you’ve experienced some unpleasant events in your practice that you didn’t have a policy to cover, or you team is large enough that you vacation policy isn’t working anymore. Maybe you have never liked you scheduling and time management policy but do not know how to go about changing it.... Read more

1/14/2021 | Author: Ximara Vega

Every year people tend to make goals for the upcoming new year. Somehow a new year inspires others to reinvent themselves in some way and like most initiatives, they lose their luster after a few weeks. I was supposed have rock hard abs like 3 years in a row. If ever... Read more

10/15/2020 | Author: Geronda Wollack

A friend of mine was out in the job market and applied for a job as a Dental Assistant. She called me for some advice around interviewing, and during our conversation, she mentioned a shocking reality. She said, "Geronda, there were a few companies that I was interested in, but the job... Read more

9/24/2020 | Author: Maddie Langston

By now, most of us are familiar with online reviews and understand their reach and influence, particularly on Google, Facebook, and Yelp. As a marketing consultant at IDOC, I work with optometry practice owners and managers to increase the number of new patients at the practice, retain... Read more

9/11/2020 | Author: Geronda Wollack

During a phone call with my favorite sister (now, let's not share this with anyone else), she shared the following sentiment with me, "I was just as excited for my kids to go back to school this year, until I realized that I have one kid staying home and doing virtual learning and the... Read more

8/13/2020 | Author: Maddie Langston

Let’s say one day after an exam and a visit in your optical, a patient reviews their experience on your Google business listing and Yelp.

The review includes many details which makes it clear to anyone reading that they visited the practice, had an exam, and worked with an optician.... Read more

8/7/2020 | Author: Ximara Vega

Take a step back and think about your business. Are you in tune with the performance of your optical? Are you achieving your desired results? If not from you, where are your patient’s purchasing their eyewear? Why? How do your offerings compare to your competition? Investigate, by... Read more

8/7/2020 | Author: Nathan Hayes

“I’m shockingly flush with cash. My checking account balance is fantastic.”

This isn’t what I expected to hear on the tail end of the most prolonged economic catastrophe of our lifetime. But many practices, after leaning out all their expenses during the... Read more

8/7/2020 | Author: Nathan Hayes

“I’m thinking of selling my practice.”

“Should I sell my practice now while prices are at all-time highs? How long does the private equity phenomenon last?”

Practice owners often focus on market trends in the pricing of practices when deciding when and whether to sell. Let me... Read more

7/17/2020 | Author: Patricia Basile

Careful frame and lens purchasing habits are needed in an unpredictable time.

Many optometric practices are experiencing a surge in eyewear purchases due to pent-up demand and the ability to... Read more

© 2020 IDOC. All Rights Reserved