Staffing your optometry practice can be one of the most demanding requirements for you whether you start it fresh or take over an established place. But this arduous task is the most important one unless you are prepared to do everything yourself. Efficient staff is an essential key to any good practice because they stand beside your daily operations and represent you at your practice.

So what does it take to build a team that can support you and your practice day in and day out? Here are a few key points to remember:

Identify the Positions    

Depending on the size and structure of your practice you need to decide the key positions. In case you have freshly graduated or started a new practice, certain positions can be more necessary to you than others.

A receptionist is probably the most indispensable position in any workplace. They are the face and voice of your practice and are responsible for the first and the last impression on any customer. 

Even though you might have been introduced to billing and coding in optometry school, it is always advisable to employ an insurance and billing specialist because there is much more to the entire process. A properly trained employee can ensure that reimbursements are not missed out on and you don't run the risk of an audit.

An optician can be an immense asset to your practice dedicated to driving the sales so that you can get the most out of your business. You might also want to consider employing a technician, check out staff, and an office manager.

It is important not to hire too many staff right at the beginning of the practice. Not only will this affect your costs, but it might be detrimental to the practice in other ways as well. 

The Selection Process

Once you are ready to find the staff, the first step is to advertise the position. You can use one of the numerous career sites. Some of them are free, while others will charge a fee. 

You should include more than just interviews in the recruitment process. For technical positions, you can have quizzes that can test an applicant's knowledge. You should also consider adding background checks and calling up references to the recruitment process.

Optician Training    

Training staff should be a regular practice and not limited to when the staff is recruited. Although new employees need to undergo an extensive training process, it should be continued throughout the employment period at regular intervals. 

Having rockstar opticians is a crucial component of a thriving optometry practice. How do you ensure your opticians are trained for success? Optometry associations like PECAA have exceptional optician training programs for those looking for a tried and true road map!

First-hand Knowledge

Even though you might have employees for almost every position at your practice, you must have first-hand knowledge of every job as you would in case you were doing that job. This will enable you to evaluate your staff better as well as guide them efficiently when they face a challenge or hit a roadblock.

Standard Operating Procedures

Standard operating procedures and protocols will ensure smooth operations as well as set the benchmarks of your practice. It will leave little room for doubt about what the staff is expected to do in each of the job positions. Protocols would also help you to eliminate any legal problems in the future. 

When you are setting these protocols, don't feel afraid to set the standards high. You would have always had a certain image of your practice when you were in optometry school. Stick to that image and ensure that the standards portray that image. Remember that it is quite alright to be demanding from your staff and ensure that they meet your expectations. Sometimes doctors end up allowing certain behaviors or actions to slide through to be in the good books of the employees. It can reflect poorly on your practice, especially if that action creates a problem for a customer.

Appraisals and Reviews

Staff reviews are very important and should not be avoided in any business. It allows both the employer and the employee to discuss the performance, expectations, and any challenges. You would be able to communicate your expectations to your staff and remark on their strengths and weaknesses. Providing an employee with constructive feedback is essential to improve their performance as well as that of your practice.

Always bear in mind that your staff represent you and your practice. They are the key to determine the success of all the hard work you've put in to achieve your place in the optometry world. So it is up to you to make sure that they portray the best possible image of you and your practice. Lead them by example and do not be scared to let go of those who cannot live up to your standards. You will face hurdles and feel like a fool at times. Do not feel disheartened or discouraged. You will eventually find the team you've always dreamt of having by your side. All the best!