Retaining Key Employees in a Medical Practice

May 30, 2012

To download this article, click here: Retaining Key Employees in a Medical Practice

One Way to Maintain Profitability – Retaining Key Employees in Your Medical Practice

Many medical practices are you tired of losing good employees to the competition? They are looking for ways to stop the revolving door of hiring one good employee only to have two others resign? As health care organizations strive to deliver quality health care, retaining key employees is an ongoing concern. Employers can begin to address the growing concern of how to retain good employees by asking employees, “What makes for a good place to work?”

A study conducted by the Gallop Corporation found the top responses to be:

  • Having the opportunity to do what I do best.
  • Having the sense that someone cares about me.
  • Knowing what’s expected of me.
  • Getting recognition for what I do.
  • Having opportunities to learn and grow.
  • Being productive.

A common thread runs through these responses — effective performance management. Managers do not intentionally ignore employees’ needs for recognition and professional development. Usually absent are both a system and accountability for ensuring employees understand expectations, receive feedback about their performance, receive recognition for good performance, and have a plan for professional growth and development. Common elements of an effective performance management system include the following.

Performance Reviews and Coaching

Most managers know that a performance management system includes regularly scheduled formal performance review sessions with employees. These discussions, while helpful and necessary, are only a starting point for meeting employees’ needs. They must be followed with periodic informal discussions that include coaching, support, and additional performance feedback.

Professional Growth and Development

Professional growth and development plans for the employee should be written and reviewed in formal and informal performance discussions. Today’s employees understand that job security may be a thing of the past, so instead they want to be assured their professional abilities are being enhanced so they will be marketable in the future. Retaining good employees today is often dependent upon an employer’s ability to provide opportunities for an employee to grow and develop. Including this component in a performance management system will best ensure this will happen.

Business Goals and Plans

A performance management system should also include time for the manager and employee to discuss the organization’s business goals and planned organizational changes. Doing so enhances the employee’s sense of ownership in the organization and helps the employee plan for changes that may impact his or her job. Having sound information about business plans also can counter the “rumor mill factor” which often focuses on negative information which can impact an employee’s decision on whether to stay or leave the company.


Employees who perform well or make progress in professional growth deserve and want to be recognized. Each individual will respond to different forms of recognition. A simple pat on the back may be fine for some, while others may appreciate some form of public recognition. An effective manager knows his or her employees and what will work best for them. It is also important for organizations to have specific recognition programs in place that regularly recognize individual or group achievements, contributions, or performance.

The focus of these recognition programs should be on achievements, contributions, or behaviors supporting the company goals and plans. Rewards and recognition will not replace competitive salaries, but they can help create a greater sense of loyalty and make employees feel like important members of the team. Conducting an employee survey can also be an effective way to gather input about retaining quality employees. By focusing on recognition needs, the effectiveness of supervisors, the work environment, work and family balance, or time off benefits, the survey results can help an organization better direct its retention efforts and at the same time create a better place to work. You will find out what currently is working (and should be continued) as well as identify some opportunities to change some things.

Employee surveys can be a double-edged sword if not implemented properly. It is important to share the survey results with employees and address the top issues identified. If survey results are not communicated or used in a purposeful way, employees become cynical and will be less inclined to give you an opinion the next time asked.

Other ways to help retain your best employees include:

  • Competitive salaries.
  • Incentive (bonus) programs for all levels in the organization.
  • Improved benefits.
  • Alternative work arrangements such as flexible scheduling or compressed work weeks.
  • Improved personal time off policies.

Most organizations have limited resources and should focus on areas that will have the most impact on retaining employees. However, having a good performance management system in place can help reduce the likelihood of your employees scanning the want ads in next Sunday’s paper.

To download this article, click here: Retaining Key Employees in a Medical Practice

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