Strategic vision

The eye care industry, a nexus of health, style, and innovation, is at a critical juncture. Despite being a field ripe with opportunities, we are faced with a recruitment crisis. This is our clarion call to action, our moment to harness the latent potential within and address the pressing challenge of attracting and retaining a future-focused workforce.

Recruitment in Crisis: An Opportunity Cloaked in Urgency

It’s an unsettling paradox that such an appealing industry is grappling with talent acquisition. The crux of the issue lies in our short-term tactics and the perennial race against the clock, fulfilling the needs of today while the foresight for tomorrow remains blurred.

Why is this sector a beacon for aspirants? It offers a unique combination of compassionate healthcare services and the sleek sophistication of fashion, all underpinned by technological advancement. Yet, our outreach remains narrow, appealing only to those actively seeking employment rather than inspiring a broader, more diverse audience to join our ranks.

Our industry has been content with ‘Best Practices’, comfortably treading water in familiar territory. We’ve focused on those with resumes at the ready, failing to cast our net wider to those not yet contemplating the rich and varied careers in eye care.

How do we break free from the current paradigm that holds us back? By shifting our perspective from short-term, reactionary methods to controlled, long-term planning. Recruitment must be reimagined—not as a series of transactions but as a strategic endeavor.

Addressing the challenge of filling specialized roles like optometrists and opticians requires a multifaceted approach, particularly considering that these professions demand extensive education and training. While the power to expand educational opportunities often lies with educational governance structures, there’s a time-proven strategy within our reach: mentorship. This approach, far from being novel, has long been a cornerstone in the optical industry. Through mentorship, seasoned professionals can guide, inspire, and motivate those embarking on or considering these demanding career paths. It’s an invaluable tool for career development, ensuring a continuous influx of well-prepared professionals ready to uphold and advance the standards of eye care. By strengthening mentorship initiatives, we not only support individual career growth but also contribute significantly to addressing our industry’s long-term staffing needs. 

Imagine the transformation if, instead of competing for a finite pool of candidates, we joined forces to build the workforce of tomorrow. By leveraging advanced processes such as human analytics and behavioral science, we can align personalities with roles that not only fit but flourish within our industry.  

Collaborative Innovation: A Path Forward

What if our collective effort could create a talent incubator, nurturing the next generation of associates and eye care professionals? Examples abound in other industries where collaboration has led to robust talent pipelines and shared success.

We’ve witnessed industries pivot and thrive by adopting such collaborative strategies. The food manufacturing sector, for example, has united to spectacular results, with applications and retention rates soaring. We don’t have the luxury to be passive observers; action is imperative.

It’s time for the torchbearers of industry: associations, buying groups, professional circles, and leading companies to ignite this change. We need visionaries who can transcend traditional boundaries and initiate a movement toward strategic recruitment.

The Future is Clear—Let’s Shape It Together

Who will answer the call to reshape our industry’s future? It begins with leadership willing to invest in tomorrow, today. Together, we can cultivate an environment that not only draws talent but also empowers, retains, and celebrates it.

The future of eye care must be envisioned with clarity and courage. We have a responsibility to act decisively, crafting a legacy of innovation in recruitment that will sustain and invigorate our industry for decades to come.


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


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Artificial Intelligence

Absolutely, in both good and not-so-good ways.

On the positive side of the score sheet, there are branches of AI, like ChatGPT, for example, that can and will take pressure off early adopter HR staff by picking up some of the more mundane day-to-day tasks. ChatGPT has been trained with extensive data sets and can generate very human-like responses to requests and tasks. If AI can write job descriptions, answer standard employee questions, and develop contracts and policies, there will be more time for HR staff to focus on bigger issues.

On the less positive side of the score sheet, the rise of AI could be considered another issue on a long list of challenges for hiring managers. If you’re hiring someone based on a well-written resume, you may have more concerns than the typical embellishments. One of the most pressing concerns is the ability of AI to craft convincing cover letters and resumes. So convincing that it could be difficult for hiring managers to distinguish between genuine and not-so-genuine candidates.

If resume-based hiring is your process, be prepared for some surprises. AI is astonishingly more advanced than you think, and its human-like writing can make it indistinguishable from the ‘real thing.’ This evolution of technology is inevitable, but those responsible for hiring must be aware and take steps to make informed decisions. One very effective way is to ensure the resume is only one piece of the overall hiring puzzle and to use other technologies, like behavioral assessment tools, to truly identify a candidate’s qualifications and potential fit for the role.

Measure what really matters. Look beyond the resume (no matter how well it’s written) to develop a comprehensive understanding of a person’s skills, knowledge and aptitude. Shine a light on strengths and weaknesses and discover hidden talents. If you are responsible for hiring, consider options to help you find candidates that are the right fit for the job, the team, and the manager.

Fit First® Technologies, offers a range of tools and services to help employers identify the best candidates for the role and ensure they are a good fit for the organization. Our proprietary assessment platform uses a combination of behavioral assessments, cognitive assessments, and personality assessments to evaluate candidates. This platform can be customized to suit the specific needs of the organization and the role and can be used to assess candidates at all levels, from entry-level to executive.

If you think AI couldn’t fool you, you might be surprised to know this was written, in large part, by ChatGPT and edited by Grammarly.

Even robots can have personalities (if you tell them what personality to have).


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


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FYidoctors announced the launch of  their “Future Vision Leaders Program”, which will provide up to $100,000 in forgivable, individual loans, to support the next generation of Canadian Optometrists. This new initiative is design to help both new and recent optometry graduates.

This new program comes at a time when efforts to recruit young optometric professionals, particularly in ex-urban and rural areas, have been amplified by virtually all players in the market, including corporate and independent optometry organizations and individual independent practices.

Up to $100K – Selective and Forgivable
“FYidoctors was founded on doctors defining what eye care looks like—both now and in the future,” says company Chair and CEO Dr. Alan Ulsifer. “This includes the vision to bring the highest level of eye care to all regions of Canada, with special appreciation and presence in rural and under-serviced areas. Eyecare and vision is too important to the quality of one’s life to be limited in availability. We are excited about the Future Vision Leaders program to help us fill these important public needs while giving the next generation of optometrists rewarding opportunities.”

FYidoctors will assess applicants on an ad hoc basis and selectively offer 100% forgivable loans of up to $100,000 for new graduates as well as those who have graduated within the last several years. Successful applicants who enter the program will be partnered with clinics in either urban, rural or remote regions, with the aim of bolstering the future of the industry while giving Canadians in those regions better all-around access to eye care.

Apart from the forgivable loan, graduates who enter the program will also receive competitive base rate compensation, optical benefits and access to world-class innovation, leadership and development opportunities, according to the company.

Additionally, individuals could be eligible for guaranteed minimum pay and moving expenses.  “I was a young optometrist when we founded FYidoctors in 2008,” says Dr. Michael Naugle, FYidoctors’ Vice President, Optometric Partnerships, “and I have benefited from our OD-owned and controlled model that allows us to practice to the highest level of care due to our emphasis on technology and advanced eye care. As the largest collegial ownership model, we are always looking for the best optometric talent. This one-of-a-kind program helps serve our collective goals in a way that everyone—especially the health care industry—wins. We are excited for its launch and to congratulate our first cohort of Future Vision Leaders.”

Young ODs wanting more information on the Future Vision Leaders Program are invited to email the company at: for more details and to initiate a discussion with a program advisor.



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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.


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


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We are finally approaching the well-loved and relaxing season of summer. Life seems a bit easier; you can get out the door with less layers t and you don’t have to worry about snow-induced traffic delays. Summer vacations and trips to the cottage are coming.

Of course, when you are running a small business, summer time can also present challenges, specifically around staffing.  Luckily, there are often university students who are currently registered in Optometry School looking for summer work. They are really ideal candidates to hire for the 4 months they are available. They are committed to the industry, they want to learn as much as they can and they are eager to do well.

In our experience, having this additional staff member has more than paid for itself. During the weeks when you are fully staffed, the summer student can tackle jobs that have been on the back burner; organizing the CL trial room, reviewing frame pricing, doing an inventory, price comparisons, the list goes on.

Further, many staff take summer vacations, and with an extra member on your team during this time, you don’t have to go short handed. The reality is, you want your patients who visit in the summer to have the same great experience in your office now as they would in the winter with a full compliment of staff ready to serve and assist.

Another advantage to hiring an OD student for the summer is the potential for grooming an associate for the future. Working in your practice, they will become very knowledgeable about the front end of your business. Understanding the flow from appointment booking to retail sales will make this associate a valuable member of your team very quickly.

It is tempting to consider going short staffed for the weeks different members are off on vacation.  This, of course, is not ideal. Not only will the patient experience be compromised but it will likely also have an impact on your Revenue per Patient (RPP) – the two are intimately related. Are patients receiving additional testing to improve their health care outcomes, are they finding glasses that they want to purchase, are they leaving with drops and vitamins for preventative measures? Discussing these solutions takes time and energy. Tracking and reviewing RPP will give you some reassurance that maintaining a full compliment of staff is in the best interests of both your patients and your business.


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


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