Practice Metrics

New Management & Business Academy Study Reveals Trends in Staff Management

By ROB Editors

A survey of2010 attendees of theManagement & Business Academy (MBA), a professional education program sponsored by CIBA VISION® and Essilor, reveals that employment of non-OD staff by private practice optometrists increased 2 percent in 2010, but declined in more practices than it increased. Some 32 percent of practices reported a reduced number of staff members versus the prior year, and just 19 percent increased staffing. Average turnover in optometric practices was 17 percent during 2010. Turnover is much lower in larger practices, in which average staff turnover is 13 percent annually. Seventy-two percent of practices experienced some turnover during the year. Twenty-nine percent currently have one or more open positions. Thirty-nine percent of staff members leaving optometric practices during the past year were terminated.Here are other key findings from the study:

Personal referrals are the leading source of new hires for optometric practices, accounting for 37 percentof people hired. Internet listings are the second largest source, accounting for 31 percentof new hires.

The median non-OD staff salary increase during 2010 was 2.5 percent; the average increase was 2.9 percent. Forty percent of practices gave average raises of less than 2 percent.

Sixty-six percent of private OD practices offer performance bonuses to staff. Larger practices are somewhat more likely to offer staff bonuses. The median bonus percentage of salary was expected to be 2.7 percentduring 2011; the average bonus is expected to be 4.5 percentof salary. A majority of ODs offering bonuses do not rate them as highly effective in motivating employees. Fifty-five percent consider bonuses just “somewhat effective” or “not effective.”

Fifty-eight percent of ODs say their staff expense as a percentage of gross revenue has increased over the past three years. Thirty percent say staff expense has decreased, presumably reflecting staff reductions that have occurred in those practices.

Staff attributes for which ODs express higher levels of dissatisfaction include technical knowledge, salesmanship, efficiency and accountability. Owners of larger practices are somewhat less satisfied with staff performance compared to owners of smaller practices, particularly with regard to staff work ethic, attendance reliability and teamwork.

Compared to a similar survey conducted in 2008, the following trends are evident in the 2011 results:

More year-to-year decreases in staff and fewer open positions, on average.

Somewhat lower staff turnover ratios.

Lower salary increases.

Stable, widespread use of bonus payments.

Greater reliance on internet listings for new hires; less reliance on newspaper ads.

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