A practice is only as strong as its staff. When determining the roles and responsibilities for each staff member, there can be benefits in deviating from the norm. Melanie Frogozo, OD, of Alamo Eye Care in San Antonio, Texas, has found her team to be more efficient, effective, and happy in their jobs after taking a more unique approach to her practice’s organizational structure and staff training—and is sharing some secrets to that success.
What is one of the most impactful decisions you’ve made in terms of staffing?
As an optometrist and practice owner, I am constantly pulled in many different directions. To help, I have a designated practice manager who prioritizes all of our day-to-day duties to ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible. He is responsible for outlining our practice’s goals, keeping track of the finances, and identifying areas for improvement based on current industry trends and patient needs. By removing these responsibilities from my own plate, our practice is more efficient and effective.
How do you go about hiring and training new employees?
For our initial screenings, we develop personality profiles for each role in the practice to help identify the qualities necessary to perform those responsibilities. Prospective employees then complete personality assessments to gauge their aptitude, integrity, and grit. In addition to being a fit for their specific role, it is important that all employees mesh well with our team and are aligned with our practice’s core values.
Have you implemented any specific training to maximize your staff’s contributions to the practice?
Our entire staff—including those who work at the front desk—are fluent in basic contact lens knowledge. Whenever we bring someone new onto the team, they are trained extensively not only in their own job roles, but in general contact lens care and patient education. We also have “advanced technicians” who are trained to refract, fit contact lenses, and understand corneal diseases. I’ve found that investing in educating my staff about contact lenses has been a key component to our practice’s success.
What other tactics have you leveraged to increase staff morale?
Ultimately, what is best for the patient is best for the practice—and I empower my staff to make these decisions on their own. For example, one thing that has been particularly beneficial is authorizing our employees to give away up to $150 in either goods or services—without asking for permission—as long as what they’re doing directly solves a patient’s issue. My staff feels a sense of autonomy, and in turn, our patients are assured that we’ll always do whatever it takes to give them the highest level of care.
3 Tips to Maximize Your Staff:
1. Be a Teacher. Take time to provide your staff with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. Well-structured training is key to bringing team members up to speed so they can become valuable assets to your practice.
2. Never Stop Learning. To be an effective teacher, you must be open to continuously learning and improving yourself. It’s crucial to keep a pulse on industry trends and best practices so you can implement them in your own office.
3. Personality First. Many practice owners find hiring the right staff to be a struggle. Bottom-line is that skills can be taught, but personality cannot. Find someone who is a good fit for your practice, and the rest will fall into place.
To learn more about CooperVision’s Best Practices, it’s prestigious honorees or how you can apply to be a 2022 Best Practice, visit coopervision.com/practitioner/best-practices