Clinic Operations

5 Secrets to Retaining Your Medical Office Front Desk Staff

5 Secrets to Retaining Your Medical Office Front Desk Staff

In 2018, Mercer predicted that demand for healthcare workers will outpace supply by 2025 (source). Then, in 2020, the pandemic hit. COVID-19 amplified staffing issues at medical offices. Nearly 1 in 5 healthcare workers have quit their jobs since February 2020, and an additional 31% of healthcare workers (who have kept their job during the pandemic) have considered quitting.

We know that mental health has suffered during the pandemic, especially for healthcare workers who’ve been on the front lines. Research shows that—even with vaccines rolling out—mental health in healthcare workers is still on the decline. Healthcare workers report leaving their jobs because of the pandemic, insufficient pay, new opportunities, and burnout.

This stuff is hard. And it’s only become harder the past couple of years. As an operator, you need to be paying attention to your current staff and the burnout they’re facing. as well as attrition stats for your office. Are you hiring at the same rate people are leaving? What are you doing to reduce ‘bad attrition’ from your brand? Here are some ideas to keep your current staff happy at work.

Promote work-life balance

Work-life balance isn’t a trend—it’s here to stay. In fact, Gen Z employees consider flexible work schedules as one of the most important factors when deciding on a job. Employees who feel like they have a positive work-life balance are 21% more productive and dedicated than those who don't.

In the healthcare field itself, a study compared employees who feel they have a support system in place to make work-life balance possible, with those who feel they are lacking that support system. Out of those lacking it, 1 in 4 plan to quit in the next two years.

Ideas for flexible working in healthcare

  1. Allow remote work. Can your front desk staff answer calls from home? Can charting happen remotely? Look for opportunities to let your staff work from home.
  2. Allow employees to share shifts. Sometimes, an employee may want the flexibility to work a shorter shift. If your typical shifts are 8 hours, allow them to split their shift into 2 4-hour shifts, and find another employee to cover their second half.
  3. Cross-train your existing staff. This shows you will invest in your employees’ training, and it creates more opportunities for coverage for employees who need time off.
  4. Ask your staff what flexibility could look like in their role. Often, employees can determine what work could be done remotely. Once you know what they’d like flexibility to do outside of the office, you can determine what’s reasonable for your business and employees.

Celebrate Their Work

Your staff members work hard for your clinic and its patients. Sometimes burnt-out staff just need a reminder of how much difference their work really makes!

You should continuously connect the dots between the feedback your clinic as a whole is receiving, and the role your staff is playing to make that possible. Use a system to help you collect patient feedback and this will be much easier to do at scale.

Hold bi-weekly or monthly meetings where you share high-level takeaways from patient reviews. On a more regular basis, you can send summary emails around where you call out times that “excellent staff,” or “great service” are mentioned.

93% of feedback from patients on Solv is positive—and that feedback goes directly to your staff. It not only reminds your staff that what they are doing matters immensely, but it gives them peace of mind and confidence in feeling noticed, valued, and appreciated.

Without a system to help collect and manage patient reviews, this becomes a little more challenging. You can contact patients and ask for feedback on your medical and administrative staff. Then, share these success stories and testimonials!

Whenever you do that, praise the staff members who made it all possible. Let them know that their hard works matters to you.

Invest in Their Career Growth

Staff members like to be appreciated, especially in intense working environments. Acknowledging the work they're doing is the first step! To take it further, show your staff you believe in their abilities to grow beyond their current role. Perhaps your front desk staff members want to move up to management or delve into a new role. Maybe your medical staff wants greater knowledge in one of their expertise areas, or want to add on a new specialty. Maybe they need assistance improving their writing skills, so they can get their research published at a top-notch publication.

Investing in your employees energizes them and gives them the drive to invest more in their work. Ultimately, your urgent care clinic will benefit from better-trained employees that grow with your organization.

Celebrate Their Lives

Your team has homes, families, and dreams that go beyond their work. Taking 10 minutes or an hour every now and then to celebrate their lives and share a good laugh will likely boost morale. Celebrate employee birthdays, new home purchases, the birth of their children, and getting published (even if this research has nothing to do with the work they do for your clinic!) Showing employees you care about them as people will build emotional connections with them, which will re-energize the office because employees will care back.

Just remember to not make it artificial. Giving an employee a cake on their birthday is heartwarming, but giving them guilt-free time off when an elderly parent is sick or letting them work from home one day a week so they can spend time with their children… that’s what will show employees you truly appreciate them.

Ask For Feedback

Ask for employee input to learn what’s working for them and what they’d like to change. You can do it in one-on-one meetings or through an anonymous survey. Each quarter, make an effort to implement at least some of the top requests. Gradually, employees will start feeling your appreciation, and morale at your urgent medical office will no longer be a problem. 

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Small staff high volumes webinar

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