How to hold on to your clinic’s greatest asset – your staff


9 March 2016

aesthetic clinic staff

Whether your clinic is a brand-new start-up venture or a long-established business, you will need to hire and retain a dedicated team of loyal, talented and professional staff in order to achieve and sustain long-term success. Your clinic may be based at a prestigious address, with an immaculate interior filled with the latest and best equipment and products, but to deliver an exceptional service that attracts new customers away from the competition, and keeps them coming back, you need exceptional staff.

 

Induction

 

After you’ve recruited new staff members, you can’t sit back and expect them to pick things up as they go along. Certain clinic operations may seem obvious to you, but they may not be to someone unfamiliar with your company. Create induction documents and processes so your new staff members can start to understand exactly what is expected of them, right from their very first day. Include details that may seem obvious, such as dress code and working hours, and any ‘unwritten rules’ that you may take for granted. The rest of your staff know when their lunch hour can be taken, and this may just be a verbal agreement, but it will help your new staff member if you state these policies in writing. Spelling out simple company procedures will save your new team member from asking these questions, and will save you time in explaining the answers.

 

Training

 

Whether your new personnel are trainees, or are extremely experienced in their line of work, you should offer training opportunities to all staff members. This isn’t just so you can appear to be fair – although this is a valid reason, as it will help team morale if everyone believes they are being treated the same – it is also because even senior staff members can benefit from training that can develop or refresh their existing skills, or gain knowledge in an area in which they have not previously specialised.

If training needs aren’t obvious, ask your employees to help. Speak to your staff about the skills they feel they could improve on, or where they would like to develop further. For example, your clinic manager could perhaps benefit from a course on handling difficult staffing situations, or perhaps a course on digital marketing best practice, if this is within their remit but not their area of speciality. Consider offering extra treatment training to clinicians who do not cover all of your current non-surgical treatments. Whilst you may want an aesthetician to stick to their speciality laser rejuvenation treatments, if they are also trained in the skin peels that the other aestheticians perform, you will benefit in terms of optional cover if someone is on holiday, or off sick.

 

Rewards, incentives and benefits

 

It is common for clinicians and sales staff to be on a commission or bonus structure where they can add to their basic salary with treatment or product sales, or simply be rewarded for a consistently excellent performance. However your bonus structure is constructed, make sure it is fair, and set targets that are attainable. You are likely to lose staff members relatively quickly if you suggest that their hard work will earn them extra but the targets are set so high that there is no chance of them ever reaching them. Likewise, make sure your targets aren’t so low that every staff member exceeds their target to the point of bankrupting yourself when you have to pay the bonuses!

Keeping your best staff isn’t just about money, though. Some staff members may value a day off more than an extra day’s salary, so think about how much annual holiday you offer, and the flexibility of your staff rotas. It’s easy to simply offer the legal minimum, but that doesn’t suggest that you’ve spared much thought over your team’s work/life balance. It may be that the legal minimum is all you can offer, but if so, think about other ways you could offer your staff some flexibility. It is rare to find an employee who wants to work every weekend, but due to your clinic opening hours, this may often be necessary. Try thinking about how staffing schedules can be rotated to allow for the team to take it in turns to have a Saturday off.

Although health insurance and childcare vouchers may not be of interest to every single employee, offering these additional benefits could help your staff members feel valued. There are additional options that you could look at that may be of interest to your staff, and could also benefit your company. For example, if you have a gym nearby, why not see if you can negotiate discounted rates? Your team will appreciate the saving, and regular exercise will help to keep your staff healthy and happy!

 

Culture and environment

 

If the atmosphere your employee works in makes them feel uncomfortable or unhappy, chances are, they’ll start looking for another job at some point soon. Consider the environment your staff work in, from their working areas and staff rooms, and the provisions available, to their interaction with fellow team members and managers.

Make sure that the staff areas are kept in as good a state as the working areas. It goes without saying that you’ll be keeping the clinic spick-and-span, but don’t disregard the comfort and cleanliness of the staff room and bathroom areas. Your staff should have somewhere away from working spaces where they can take their breaks, and this doesn’t mean the café down the road. The British weather means we can’t spend all year sitting outside in a park, so provide somewhere warm and dry –  and essentially, free – where they can rest and refresh themselves without having to fork out for a drink or meal just for the privilege. And let them take their breaks – it’s easy to allow breaks to slide when the clinic is very busy, but tired and irritable staff will not be able to provide the excellent service you strive for.

While you can’t wave a magic wand to make all your staff members get on well, you can do something to encourage camaraderie. Try to arrange regular team meetings where you can allow all your staff to listen to the company plans and aims, and allow them to voice their opinions and concerns. If you do this as a group instead of in one-to-ones, your employees will feel they are being treated as a team, not a set of individuals being played off against each other. Though it may not be convenient for everyone to meet up for social events every week, do try and arrange social events on a fairly regular basis. If you help your team members to get to know each other away from the stresses of the working day, you’ll probably find that they get on better at work, too.

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