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Employee retention: An important art for every office

By Dr. Steve M. Cohen

I write so much about widespread employee issues, lawsuits, and “mess management” that I sometimes sound as if I don’t value employees.

The reality is that good employees are a treasure. That’s often especially true in a medical office.

But it’s also worth noting that reports by a national management company found that more than 60 percent of current employees in most organizations plan to leave as soon as they have the opportunity. Imagine if even one-third of your employees suddenly departed and you were faced with the time-consuming and sometimes risky challenge of replacing them.

Perhaps more importantly, your quality employees are those most at risk. They are the people who are most likely to be lured away by other organizations, even your competition.

Most managers understand these realities, but too often they believe there is no place for their employees to go or assume they have other protections from losing good staff. Given the weakness remaining in some areas of the economy, they may not worry about defections or feel “their” team is immune to the lure of other opportunities.

Assuming your office is safe can be a mistake. Fortunately, a good anecdote to losing good employees is relatively straightforward: interpersonal competence by management. Dealing effectively with the human aspect of your office equation will almost always allow you to gain a reasonable security with your staff.

I have noted elsewhere that sharing management’s most valuable commodity—its time and attention—can help build an important connection with staff. That connection can create a bond between employer and employee. When that bond is made, engagement occurs and turnover diminishes. The workplace environment can change for the better in many ways, even production.

If employers treat employees as mere cogs in their operation, they will see larger numbers of disengaged and apathetic employees. The good ones will be recruited away and only the mediocre will be left.

This is often a slow process that’s easy to miss. Many employers find it difficult to keep in mind, given the understandable pressures in today’s medical world. It’s easy to follow what may seem an expedient path and expect employees to “just do their work.”

Don’t let that happen. Connect with your employees. Communicate with them and listen to them. Act on some of their suggestions. And remember they are good at reading you. Don’t make a shallow attempt at this. By creating an inclusive and interpersonally competent organization, the numbers of engaged employees will grow, and they will be inclined to stay.

Dr. Steve M. Cohen is the lead HR Consultant for HR Solutions On-Call.










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