By Catherine Sykes, Publisher
Last Updated: FEBRUARY 11, 2015 – Most retainer-based medical offices and cash-only clinics have 1 to 3 employees. Not only is hiring the wrong “essential” staff important, it can be expensive lesson if you make the wrong choice. For many of the concierge-style and direct-pay physicians we talk to each today, it seems harder than ever to find good employees who understand and believe it what you’re doing, have a solid work ethic who know how to deal with patients.
“Business is tough,” says one concierge physician in Fort Worth, TX. “If you are doing something just for the money, you are never going to enjoy it. You will be the hardest boss you have ever had. So, find people you enjoy working around that will support and assist you. Follow this advice and you will set yourself up for an enjoyable future in this field.”
We hear from doctors that the nurses, employees and administrative assistants they hire are frequently late, unmotivated or incapable of doing the tasks that are required. Many physicians tell us they DO NOT provide a written job description at the time they hire their employee(s) and the ones who do, are often to busy to reference it later to help grade the employees performance when it comes time for a performance review. Doctors have told me on several occasions, “Hiring one of my patients never works — and, if I do, they want to start in a management position.”
When we reviewed more than a thousand prospective concierge medicine patient search inquiries at our site — nearly 30% of them said they are leaving one concierge doctor and seeking another because of staff. What’s wrong with this picture? While most concierge medical practices maintain a very high patient retention average of approximately 92%-94% (Source: Concierge Medicine Today, March 2010-2013), what’s happening inside the staff-to-patient interactions to those that are leaving and more importantly, what can you do about it?
To take it a step further, we asked them the question ‘What, if anything, could be improved or would you change regarding your previous concierge/direct medical practice?’ The findings may surprise you. I’ve listed them in order of importance according to the patient responses.
STAFFING GUIDE, PART 3: The Top 5 Complaints Heard About Concierge Medicine: #1. Staff
But there are simple ways to steer clear of hiring mishaps and avoid those expensive lessons. Here are four ways to find and retain the best employees for your medical practice. 
1. Start with your own employees. Ask your staff to refer highly-qualified friends for any open positions you might have in your practice. Provide a gift card reward for anyone who is subsequently hired and stays with the practice for more than 90 days.
STAFFING GUIDE, PART 4: Instill Passion in Your Staff For Your “Concierge” Practice Model
2. Make it easy. Hiring expert Mel Kleiman says, “To hire the best, you’ve got to make it easy for the best people to apply.” If you only accept phone calls, résumés and applications during normal business hours, for instance, you’re discouraging the very people you should be trying to recruit.
3. Train and retain. Make retaining your present employees a top priority. Provide the kind of training that will make them more valuable both to the company and to themselves.
STAFFING GUIDE, PART 5: Keeping your Staff Happy as Your Concierge Practice Grows
4. Cultivate a caring environment. Make sure your organizational values, company mission statement and employee orientation program support an environment that demonstrates how valuable employees are to your company.
One way to do this is to make it a point to remember your employees’ birthdays and host mini celebrations on a regular basis. Remember, for most people, the workplace is like a second family. Create an environment that feels like one.
[1.] Sources: Tom Borg, April 2014 http://www.entrepreneur.com)