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What’s the ‘employee experience’ like at your medical practice?

Professionals have been talking about the customer experience, the patient experience, and the candidate experience for years, so it was bound to happen. Another term is now being batted around in human resource and management circles: the employee experience.

Before you dismiss it as another buzz term or, worse, a fad, consider the implications of ignoring this crucial aspect of managing your medical practice. If the employee experience is less than positive, it will reflect poorly on the patient experience. As for the candidate experience (as in job candidates), you won’t even need to worry about it. Candidates are going to avoid your practice—at least the good ones will.

Large employers appear to understand the connection, according to a survey and subsequent report from Deloitte, a leader in human capital consulting. Catering to the employee experience is a top priority for business and HR leaders in order to retain and attract staff, and drive employee engagement.

Defining the experience

But what exactly does the employee experience entail? Actually, it’s just like it sounds. It is the overall experience employees have when working at an organization.

There are various takes on what factors determine a positive experience. Some experts point to culture, technology, and physical workspace as the key components.

However, because the term “culture” is somewhat nebulous and therefore open to interpretation, it’s preferable to pin down exactly what employees value, and what, for them, makes or breaks their experience. It is, after all, about them. Technology and physical workspace, while part of the equation, don’t add up to an entire experience.

Instead, delivering a positive employee experience arguably requires a broader approach.

Elements that add up

The elements of employee experience include three broad categories:

  • Pay;
  • Career development; and
  • Work environment.

While each category may seem straightforward, each actually has multiple components.


Starting salary

Pay starts with initial salary, as in when a person is hired. That salary should be competitive for the industry and your geographic area. When applicable, it should also be in line with similar positions in other industries. This information is readily available from online resources like and PayScale.

Another valuable resource is CareerOneStop, a website sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. It features a Salary Finder tool that uses Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data to provide the high, median, and low salaries for more than 800 occupations.

Regular salary increases

Salary increases don’t only affect employee income; they affect employee perception. By giving employees regular salary increases, you tell them they are valued.

These increases should be in line with what others in your industry are paying.

Again, this information is readily available. A simple online search using the words “average annual salary increase for [U.S. workers, your industry or an individual job title]” will return what you need for budgeting purposes.


An often overlooked option, especially by small employers, bonuses go a long way toward making employees feel valued and that they have a role in the organization’s success.

If your practice has had a particularly successful year, you might want to consider sharing the wealth, literally.


Today, benefits have tangible financial value, especially benefits like health insurance.

Other lesser benefits, too, translate to out-of-pocket savings for employees. These include things like paid parking, free lunch, childcare reimbursement, and more.

Similarly, a generous paid time off (PTO) program has real dollar value.

When discussing salaries with employees or job candidates, it’s important to recognize how your practice’s benefits equate to “pay,” and to share this information accordingly.

Career development

Managers often confuse career development with career advancement.

Career advancement assumes there is a career path within the organization, a ladder to climb, if you will. In small organizations, this ladder may not exist, or its rungs may be few.

Nevertheless, people want “career opportunities,” which is another nebulous term.

What most employees really want are opportunities to learn and growth, professionally and personally—and this is an area where every employer, even small ones, can deliver.

There are numerous training and development options. Something as simple as cross-training staff members allows for learning new skills. Free training provided by software companies helps staff become more tech savvy. Webinars and other online learning share valuable information that enhances job performance; and many of these award continuing education units that lead to professional certifications.

Also, don’t overlook what is often considered a “big company” benefit: tuition reimbursement. Although most of your staff members won’t take advantage of it, the availability of the benefit sends a powerful message all will appreciate. It says the practice values knowledge and its employees. Meanwhile, for the staff members eager for education, it may be the benefit that changes their lives, and you can’t put a price on that.

Work environment

The office environment, the place where your staff spends a large number of their waking hours, matters more than you think.

Take a look around your office. Is the furniture in good condition and functional? Has attention been given to ergonomics? Is office equipment, including computers and related software, up to date and working as it should?

Is the office well lit? Is the space welcoming and pleasant?

These are the physical characteristics of a place, but they translate to whether a work environment is supportive.

Similarly, a supportive work environment is one where management treats employees as human beings. This means allowing flexible work arrangements when possible or necessary and accommodating employees’ personal and family circumstances to a reasonable extent.

Needless to say, the work environment must also be free of negative behavior, including harassment and bullying.

Putting it all together

These elements add up to a positive employee experience, and they aren’t “nice to haves.”

In today’s social world, people have multiple platforms for broadcasting their employee experience. Meanwhile, sites like Glassdoor, which boasts reviews of more than 8 million companies, and Fairygodboss, where women review their jobs and employers, take the process even further.

Forward-thinking employers understand the link between the employee experience and organizational success. Is your practice one of them?

Editor’s picks:

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