3 tips for right-sizing practice staff

If there's ever been a time to right size your office staff, it's now, practice management expert Elizabeth Woodcock recently wrote in ModernMedicine. To keep bottom lines healthy in challenging times, she asserts practices need to muster the courage to cast off highly paid employees who no longer add value to the practice.

Letting staff go can be particularly difficult in close-knit office environments, but Woodcock offers a few tips for right-sizing effectively and fairly:

  • Raise the bar. Don't let go of loyal but underperforming employees without first giving them the opportunity to earn their slice of the payroll. Rather, develop a three-month performance-improvement plan with specific goals. "At the end of the time period, measure their success. If they haven't met their targets, it's time to release them," Woodcock says.
  • Scrutinize overtime. Make sure employees aren't dragging their heels on accomplishing tasks during the day so they can take advantage of overtime pay. Without tight supervision of employee productivity, staff may be tempted to abuse the opportunity to earn more by staying late.
  • Examine benefits. Many benefit packages are worth $25,000 - $35,000 on top of an employee's salary. To avoid spending more than you should, review your offerings regularly. If necessary, alter your benefits and/or shift some of the financial responsibility to employees, Woodcock suggests.

By following these steps, in many cases, staff will do the right-sizing for you once they realize that an "on-the-job retirement plan" is no longer available.

To learn more:
- read the article from ModernMedicine