By Dan Bristol, OD
March 30, 2022
Staff meetings can keep you and your employees on track. If done effectively, these meetings can make the difference between a practice with a coordinated team, capable of providing a high level of care and profitability, and one that consistently falls short. Here is how we use biannual meetings to spur success in our practice, which has experienced 18.5 percent year-over-year net profit growth for the last five years.
Include All Doctors & Employees & Take it Offsite
We include the entire team because we believe each person in our office plays an essential role in helping us achieve our patient care and profitability goals. Our practice team consists of four optometrists and 20 clinical, optical and administrative members.
We host the meeting offsite because doing it away from the office allows the team to relax, encourages fresh thinking, and the team enjoys getting a break from coming to the office.
We take an entire day away from work for our biannual offsite meeting. The meeting is typically held at a local hotel with a conference center large enough for our whole team. We have found the price for the conference room to be affordable, but extras such as audio-visual equipment and meals can be highly priced.
To counter the expense, we bring our own AV equipment as needed and usually leave the hotel for lunch at nearby restaurants. At our most recent meeting, however, we ate lunch at the conference center because we found the time required to eat lunch at restaurant would be too great, at least two hours for commuting both ways and the meal.
We all have months that tend to be slower than others. For us, February is one of the slower times of the year, and there also is a decrease in appointments in September after the back-to-school rush. We find these months to be optimal for taking a day away from patient care for our meeting.
Create an Agenda of Topics to Address
At our biannual offsite meetings we cover several topics. We always begin the meeting with a review of our mission and core values. It is critical to keep these topics front and center before your team. We review the mission and core values and share inspiring examples of our team members living the mission and core values with patients and fellow team members. Following this review of the mission and core values, we discuss if we still feel the mission best represents what Bristol Family Eyecare is trying to achieve, and if the core values are optimal for how the team should go about achieving this mission.
Identify & Assess Key Performance Indicators
Next, there is a review of our Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for the past six-month period. The review leads to celebrations of successes and fruitful discussions of where work needs to be focused to achieve better results. To make it more fun, a game will typically be made out of the KPI review by having team members take their best guess at where we landed for a particular KPI. For example, everyone guesses at what they think our revenue per patient was for the last six months. The team member with the closest guess gets a reward. In the past we have used candy and a poker chip to represent a small-dollar value as prizes.
Focus on Needed Areas of Improvement
Following review of the mission, core values and KPIs, the content of the biannual offsite meeting varies depending on what the doctors and managers feel needs attention. Examples from our past meetings include the complete pair of glasses capture rate, generating online reviews, accurately entering charges in the ledger and how to best integrate a new piece of equipment we were acquiring.
A recent successful outcome of our biannual meetings was raising our revenue per patient KPI. Two years ago, our average revenue per patient was $477. By motivating our team to focus on this metric, and giving them the education and tools needed, we were able to improve this KPI to $516 per patient, a $39 increase. For a practice seeing 3,000 patients a year, this amounts to an increase in annual revenue of $117,000.
Other Articles to Explore
Invite an Outside Speaker or Subject Matter Expert
Another source of content we have found to be extremely helpful is to have an outside speaker present on a topic in an area in which we feel we could improve. For example, we had a representative from EssilorLuxottica discuss premium lens options, and the benefits patients will gain from them, and an Alcon representative presented to our team ways to deliver astounding service to our patients, which happens to be one of our core values.
If Done Right, Team Members Will Leave Energized to Do Even Better
We have found our biannual offsite meetings to be an excellent opportunity to educate, train and listen to our team members. These meetings help keep our team aligned and allow for the practice to operate more optimally. Team members leave the meeting energized and motivated to utilize their newfound knowledge. It’s important to take the time to step away from the day-to-day operations of the practice and focus on collaboration, sharing, education and listening to your team.