Managing Staff Recruitment and Retention

By Anna Gunning / 23 Mar 2022

Aesthetic nurse Anna Gunning examines recruiting and maintaining relationships with staff and how to manage human relations situations

We, as clinic owners, should be putting a lot of time and effort into the recruitment process and for good reason. Hiring the wrong person for an important role can be a major inconvenience, not to mention a potentially huge waste of time, and money.

It’s important to get a clear sense of both how you foresee the ideal candidate growing in the role that you’re hiring for, as well as an understanding of the career goals of your potential candidates.

First impressions can always be used as a guide, and assessing interpersonal skills with other members of staff can be an indication of how they will treat your patients. In many cases you might be eager to fill a specific role within your business, but don’t rush it. Trying to hire someone as quickly as possible increases the likelihood that you’ll wind up with someone who ultimately isn’t a great fit.

My advice is be very clear on all aspects of the role from the beginning to avoid any misinterpretations and having to have difficult conversations down the line. Most importantly, trust your gut at all times.

What does the right candidate ‘look like’

Sounds obvious, but candidates’ knowledge, level of expertise, and skills are all important factors to take into consideration when hiring for the first time. Advanced laser or skin treatments for example, require overall knowledge of anatomy, dedication and willingness to learn and therefore these are an important thing to ascertain when beginning the hiring process. Make sure you create a detailed job description, with everything you want and expect in there so you attract only the right people. This will avoid wasting your own time and the time of the wrong candidate.

Hiring a medical doctor, dentist or nurse who is used to working alone and now will be part of a team needs to be assessed on how they will integrate into the multi-disciplinary team.

When hiring for a non-medical position, such as front of house staff, enthusiasm in the field of medical aesthetics is vital and an important factor to consider as an individual needs to be committed to the process and progression from the offset. So, before you start the induction training, be sure they have a genuine interest in working with people, either by highlighting any previous experience in these areas, or asking them what it is they like about aesthetics. If all they say is ‘free treatments’ or have done no previous research in to aesthetics, then these could be red flags. Sometimes I have experienced candidates who think aesthetics is easy, but they soon realise it’s a very specialised area of expertise and can’t handle the workload.

Taking your time

It is important to take the time and thoroughly assess each potential candidate and how they would fit into your business in the long-term as opposed to hiring an individual quickly for the short term. All new staff in my clinic are on a six-month probation period which allows us time to assess all areas of their suitability within the team.

A typical journey for us when hiring a potential candidate starts with an in-depth job advertisement, incorporating the requirements of the role. This advertisement is posted across all of our platforms, both corporate and social. Once we start to receive applications, we review as a management team, assess all relevant skills and experience and proceed in organising interviews. These interviews would occur in-clinic, or in some cases via online communication platforms, and successful candidates will then proceed to the secondary round of interviews which can require hands-on demonstrations or presentations. If successful, the candidate will be offered the role, and they will receive a copy of their employment contract to review prior to commencing the role.

The current team

Teams can vary in size, approach and of course personality. It is important when beginning the hiring process that the current team remains at the forefront of your mind. The new team member needs to come in with an open attitude, willing to learn from the more experienced existing team members, and to fit in to the team as a whole. We monitor new starters closely in the first few months, and encourage input from existing staff to monitor how well they are blending into the team, as well as performing their role to a high standard.

Mentoring

Once a new team member is employed, they will work closely with our clinic co-ordinator to plan in-house training and shadowing other members of the team. Mentoring and continuous education is a key developmental part in our business. Each team member will be coached and developed and be guided in their personal development in the framework of the business, as well as their own personal goals. We are always working as a team to improve all areas of the working environment, both in dealing with each other and our patients.

Staff satisfaction

Communication is extremely important within any company, no matter the size of the corporation. In a small team it is a great way to discuss potential issues before they arise and potentially grow into a larger and more difficult situation. Good communication can also equip each individual team member with the necessary skills to develop and progress within the workplace by effectively getting across where they may need more support, or where they would like to take on more responsibility.

At my clinic, we provide monthly meetings with each individual staff member to allow time to discuss sales, personal and business growth, and to share any ideas and make plans going forward in any areas that may need attention, and I find this invaluable for both sides. We hold daily morning briefings which are great to share with all team members and keep everyone up-to-date with goings on, as well as motivating the team.

Positive relationships among team members are a key attribution to running a successful business. I have found that when there is a positive environment, many other things fall into place, productivity improves alongside overall job satisfaction, in turn staff turnover rate decreases. It is important to take the time out of a typical working day to come up with a plan on how to get to know each individual within the workplace, what makes them successful in the role, and what can be done to aid them in this succession. It is well documented that a happier employee returns a more successful outcome; therefore, employee satisfaction is an important factor to consider.1

Seeking external help

Human resources and the legal side of managing staff can be a challenging field to master. Recording and documenting dates and times of any incidents in a log book and acting quickly when any issues occur is important in case anything progresses. You can either have a HR company employed just for advice when needed so you know you are within all the legal requirements if anything were to progress, or it can be a good strategy to outsource various administration HR duties like employee contracts and employee records. The reasoning behind an HR department is to act almost as an interface between the employee and the business itself, therefore confidentiality is a key element to ensure the employee feels secure enough to share any difficult queries or concerns they may have. This approach ensures fairness and accurate responses.

If you are a smaller company, you can outsource online resources in HR to manage your team and also save on extra expense. As your team grows it may be advisable to either pay a small fee for advice when required or use HR services for all of your needs.

Reasons you might need HR support

  • Employee questions – It is inevitable that staff members will at some point or another have questions about the business and their role. Maybe they want a pay rise, more flexible hours, to know about sick pay or annual leave. An HR representative can present all this information, with all the details in an impartial way and they can answer any questions with in-depth answers and a knowledge of policy and legality, taking the heat off you and enabling you to run your business.
  • Staff satisfaction – Retaining key staff is essential to running a successful business. Understandably sometimes, employees will leave for reasons out of your control, but it is important to identify every reason a member of staff might want to leave to see if it is preventable in the future. This is a conversation that can be more easily had by an HR representative who is a step removed from your business and is therefore less personally involved.
  • Disciplinary action – As uncomfortable as this topic is, it is inevitable that at some point as a manager or a member of a HR team you will be involved in some degree of disciplinary action. An HR expert can make sure this process runs as smoothly as possible, and keep everything legal and above board, which not only protects the employee, but protects you from any repercussions from bad practice.

Finding your way through recruitment

In my experience, staff management is one of the most challenging areas of running a business. When you invest heavily in to training and mentoring a new member of staff, it can be frustrating finding out you have hired an unsuitable person. This is why it’s important to solidify your recruitment process as if someone is not the right fit, or has no interest or passion in aesthetics or your business, then it can not only be a negative experience for the candidate but also damage your business in the short term. Deal with all disputes quickly, appropriately and within the law, keep moving forward and find the right candidate who will help you grow your business.

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