While the challenges of of recruiting in eye care were evident in 2019, the last two years have added a whole new dimension to the challenge.

Since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, we have seen significant workplace trends develop from an acceptance of remote working, online meetings, flexible work hours to support home schooling and, overall, a new set of rules and worries – for both employers and employees. There has been a lot of learning!

For the past 10 years or longer employers have been told to prepare for the great resignation/retirement wave that was going to hit the workforce with the baby boomers coming up to 60+ years.

The Pandemic Has Empowered Employees
We were starting to experience this back in 2019 but now the pandemic dynamic has accelerated what was already happening – people removing themselves from the workplace.

Workers are quitting their jobs at unprecedented rates. But here’s the thing; what we’re seeing right now isn’t just a generation of baby boomers stepping into retirement. It’s a bigger phenomena.

People who are leaving their jobs aren’t passively surrendering or checking out. People are actively shifting the narrative about what is acceptable (and not acceptable) in jobs and workplaces.

If your star employees have not left yet, they might be “hunkering down” –  biding their time, ready to pounce on new opportunities. Perhaps they will consider starting their own business, buying a franchise or changing industries entirely.

People are embracing their power and helping to reframe how work can and should look and feel.

Time. Space. Growth. Autonomy. Leadership. Wellness.
Work-life integration. Money. Safety. Engagement. Equity.

All of these things are essential to our mutual success. The problem is that employers and employees are not always on the same page about what these things are or ought to be, in policy or practice.

So, what does that mean for the Optometry Clinic and Optical?  Here is a quick checklist of  6 things you can do to make everything work better at your business.

  1. Programmable Recruiting. Consider who you want to attract and then target them. Social media tools allow you to set the demographics you want to reach and target your spend on the best potential candidates not volume of candidates.  Seek Quality – Not Quantity
  2. It’s Not About You. Shift the narrative in your communications with candidates and your team about what it is they can expect to get from you not what you are wanting to get from them.
  3. Know Your People. Understand what your current people want from work. Are you over-extending them with more hours than they want but they are not speaking up? Do you have the opportunity to support up skilling or professional development?
  4. Measure What Matters. Are the roles in your practice where you can provide training and upskilling? If so, put the focus on who they are, then look at what they know and what they have done.
  5. Always be looking. Be an organization that is always on the look-out for great talent to bring to the team. Don’t wait until you need to fill a position. If someone great comes along see how you can make room for them. If not immediately, keep the contact warm.
  6. Build Your Community. We all have a community around us. The people we work with, the people we serve, the suppliers, friends, family and professional contacts. Keep connected. Share what you know and be a valued member of your community. Give first is always the best approach to building relationships.

TIM BRENNAN

is Chief Visionary Officer with Fit First Technologies Inc, the creators of Eyeployment, TalentSorter and Jobtimize.


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The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has caused changes in mindset, attitude, direction, and behaviour for practice owners. It changed for employees too. One year later, we can all agree that important lessons have been learned – not always by choice but by necessity.

 

Lesson #1: Learning to be agile.
We all had to respond quickly to changing events. Sometimes with only a couple of days notice. This made us realize how
important it is to be comfortable with change and willing to shift gears when necessary. A sub lesson in learning to be agile was also recognizing the gaps in the way things were being done. Because we had to change, perhaps some of these changes had positive outcomes.

Lesson #2: Appreciating technology more.
So many of us have had to change the way we do business. The face-to-face meetings, attending events/conventions and how
patients needed to be looked after are just some of the many examples. Corona emphasized the importance of technology. Think of all the virtual learning opportunities we have had to embrace or tele-medicine that became a necessary and by default option. I for one was forced to embrace webinars and Zoom calls. Prior to the pandemic, these were never an option for me because I was not comfortable. Simple applications like LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram have enabled me to meet new people and stay connected to those I already knew. I must admit, until the pandemic, I never appreciated the value of these tools.

Lesson #3: Being more empathetic.
In these trying times, clear communication with all stakeholders of your practice—staff, partners, advisors, and patients are
critical. There is no doubt that the stress of the pandemic on owners is massive. The key towards sustaining your business
in this situation is being transparent with your stakeholders and prioritising their needs. Apart from supporting your staff and
understanding the situation, you must support your workforce by encouraging them to learn and give them opportunities to join Zoom training and courses.

Lesson #4: The essential nature of social interaction.
While digital collaboration tools have become critical to remote work and will remain post-pandemic, the new way of work also emphasized the need for social interaction for humans. Suddenly a trip to your office during a lockdown may possibly be a real treat or outing. People miss human contact with those outside of their homes. Never underestimate the positive effect you have on the people who walk through your doors. For the staff, as stressed as people may be, the ability to laugh or participate in banter can mean so much. For example, when I was at my office a few weeks ago, four of us, while social distancing, had the most frivolous conversation that left us simply laughing. It was such a wonderful feeling, one that has been missed from our daily lives.

Lesson 5: Keeping a cash buffer.
The period from mid-March 2020 to mid-June 2020, taught all of us the importance of fiscal responsibility. Certainly, our credit cards took a beating as evidenced from the multitude of Amazon packages, however, for owners of practices as well as the associates, these were very scary times. Even with the various government programs, the major lesson learned by all was that we must have something in reserve. It is why banks are being tough on purchasers today because they must be confident that this person could withstand another lockdown if it ever happened. The good thing we have seen is that healthcare is recession resilient and now pandemic resilient. The pandemic has taught us the importance of having a cash buffer. Hopefully, it has also taught many of us to be grateful for what we have. So many have fallen on economic hardship and forced with extremely difficult decisions.

The pandemic has been an unforeseen situation for the whole world. It has brought about crisis and problems we never experienced before and has exposed us to many unknown vulnerabilities. This has been a period for all business owners to take a closer look at how their practice was run pre-pandemic versus now. However, along with the many challenges we faced due to the pandemic, it has also given us an opportunity to align, adapt and amend businesses as well as reinforce the strategies to make the most of the ongoing situation. Clearly, it has also taught all of us lessons that shall be both applicable and beneficial in the long run. A wise man told me that we do not need to embrace the reason for the change, but we must embrace change!

Jackie Joachim, COO ROI Corp

JACKIE JOACHIM

Jackie Joachim is Chief Operating Officer of ROI Corporation. Please contact her at jackie.joachim@roicorp.com or 1-844-764-2020.


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people management

This job would be easy if it wasnt for the the people!

Anonymous

by Maria Sampalis, OD

Compensation plans for optometric practices need to be executed carefully since they are a significant expenses for an optometry clinic.

You need to do is the right way to ensure that you don’t end up costing the clinic too much money. Here are five critical steps required to implement a proper action plan that will make the entire process more efficient.

1. Determining the Right Market Pay Rate for Every Position
Each position at the clinic will require a different compensation amount. You will need to use a salary survey to establish bands for salaries. These bands are basic groupings of existing salary rates based on the experience of the candidate or the employee. You will need to determine the amounts for senior, mid-career, and entry-level positions. This can help you make decisions about hiring and raises.

Publishers’s NOTE:  Published Salary rate bands are difficult to come by in Canada.  With a little bit of effort, data points may be available with minimal cost or even free of charge at PayScale.com.

2. Creating Comprehensive Job Descriptions for Every Position
You should think carefully about the responsibilities and duties of every position.

Having a detailed and proper job description that includes duties, required skills, educational levels, and working hours can help the candidates and employees understand their position in a better way.

The description should also have a summary of expected employee behaviour.

The more accurate you are, the more realistically the employees can approach the task. The optometrists should make sure that the employees do their tasks well, and the job description can help with that.

3. Explain the Entire Process to the Team
Making sure you are transparent is the most important thing.

You should answer any questions and make sure the employees know everything they can about the job.

You should also meet with every employee individually to make sure they have a clear understanding of the expectations and compensation plan. This process will pay off in the long run.

4. Ensuring Team Accountability
The performance standards and responsibilities need to be met, but don’t wait till the end of the year to update the employees on their standing.

You should give regular and clear feedback throughout the year to ensure that they are able to improve their performance. Frequent evaluations and reviews will help them, and they will definitely appreciate it too.

5. Reviewing Team Performance, Revenue, and Potential Raises
Evaluate who are the top performers for the year and reward them before anyone else.

Then, you should look at the employees who may not have met your expectations and consider other options.

For example, you can look for new hires or provide a chance for them to develop further. Offering formal reviews for all the team members can help.

Optometry compensation plans may not always be easy to execute, but only if you don’t follow the right steps. It doesn’t have to be such a complicated procedure if you have an action plan in place

MARIA SAMPALIS

is the founder of Corporate Optometry, a peer-to-peer web resource for ODs interested to learn more about opportunities in corporate optometry. Canadian ODs and optometry students can visit www.corporateoptometry.com to learn more.


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January and February are often tough months for many people. After the excitement of the holidays, the reality of a long, dark winter is hard to accept.  It is never more important than now to ensure that your team is feeling engaged and rewarded at work.

The beginning of a new year is a great time to touch base with staff and discuss what their goals are. What things would they like to learn or achieve this year? How can the practice help them achieve their personal career goals? Not every employee has goals so be sure to come to the meeting with some ideas of what might be possible to provide some additional training or responsibility.

Offering the opportunity to build new skills or enhance existing talents with training and professional development is a great way to rejuvenate staff. There’s a bonus in it for you, too, because you’ll end up with more well-rounded staff who are better able to handle a variety of roles.

If you don’t have a system in place already to acknowledge a job well done, there’s no better time to start than the beginning of the year, when many employees struggle with motivation. Reward deserving staffers with sincere, public praise, or offer them something more tangible, such as bonus pay, time off, or tickets to shows and sporting events.

In fact, maybe you want to make it a team outing. Christina and I recently tried out a Salt Cave Spa experience together. It was SO good for us! Lots of laughs and some down time made us much more productive for the rest of the week. It is hard to take time out of our busy schedules, but the reality is this down time often pays off in spades.

Our diet also plays a big part in how we feel. Rather than bringing that box of leftover chocolates from the holidays to the office, try to get your employees back on a healthy track by providing fresh fruit, squeezing juice instead of brewing coffee, or starting up a salad-sharing club.  Getting back on track is much easier when it’s a group effort!

At the same time, promoting physical fitness can be a big help in lifting people’s spirits. Whether it’s lunchtime jogs, weekly yoga sessions, or a simple group stretching routine every morning, getting the blood flowing is a great way to shake your staff out of the doldrums.

We have been working hard to clean our home lately. There is a certain show that has inspired me to pick up everything we own and determine whether or not it sparks joy. It turns out that this is a great time of year to purge! Very little is passing the “spark joy” test. The truth is, things start piling up and you stop noticing them. Just like at home, this is a great time of year to schedule some time for your employees to clear away any accumulated junk, piles of paper, and other distractions from their work space. Make it fun event if you want, with a booby prize for the person who tosses the most in the trash.

Finally, a lack of daylight is one reason that many people struggle with their mood once the holidays are done. The solstice has come and gone, and the days are gradually getting longer again, but it’s still tough to see the sun slip below the horizon so early every evening. Consider investing in a few light therapy lamps and let your staff take turns basking in their bright glow. Sometimes, just the acknowledgement that others are feeling the effects from the shorter days too helps everyone to mentally cope with the long, cold winter.

KELLY HRYCUSKO

is the co-founder and managing partner of Simple Innovative Management Ideas (SIMI) Inc. and expert Practice Management contributor for Optik magazine. She can be reached at info@simiinc.com.


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