With employees outnumbering job openings, turnover in healthcare is high. This can be costly for practices and disruptive to patients. Practices that want to keep their people need a well-considered approach to hiring and a solid strategy once that new employee comes on board.

In our post last week, we shared tips on how to prepare for and conduct a successful interview. This week, we have advice from Herschal Jacquay, an administrator at JWM Neurology in central Indiana, from a talk he gave recently at a meeting of the American Academy of Neurology.

Keeping people for the long haul, he said, depends on having “key conversations” on day one and at least every month thereafter. These touch points allow you to develop a team-based company culture, with a focus on inclusion and employee strengths.

“Physicians are trained to find what’s wrong and fix it,” Jacquay said — but the focus should be on what employees do right.

Day One Conversation

The first-day priority should be on connecting one on one with a new hire. It is an opportunity to learn about their background and what their goals are, Jacquay said.

“Their brain is a sponge, and they want to know about the organization,” Jacquay said. “They’re never going to be as interested as when they first start.”

Referencing a “map on the wall” approach, Jacquay recommends adding a pin on a map that shows where each employee is from. This provides a good launching point to emphasize the value of diversity within the organization. Then, turn the focus to how the new hire fits into the overall organization and how they will contribute to the team.

Historically, practices have spent a good deal of time recruiting physicians and spending time to get to know them. That same energy should extend to every member of the staff, Jacquay said.

Monthly Check-Ins

Jacquay recommends continuing to check in with regular administrative and managerial rounds — weekly or at least monthly. Staff can share problems and possible solutions. You can also recognize achievements.

“You have to use your listening skills,” he said.

Focus on practical things like making sure people have the tools they need to get their jobs done. Remind staff they are a valuable part of the team.

One of the toughest, but essential questions to ask during these meetings: Is there anything that would make you leave the organization?

Jacquay said it’s important to listen to the answers, write them down, and follow up.