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Staff Mentoring: An Important Employee Retention Tool

Jan 27, 2022 9:00:00 AM • Written by: Clarity Technologies

Now more than ever with so many job opportunities open across the board, employee retention is extremely important in the medical aesthetic space. 

There are multiple reasons why people decide to leave their jobs. Some are personal. Some are professional. Typically, they have to do with a lack of leadership, culture, career development opportunities, or a clear path for advancement within the practice. Another major reason employees quit is because they feel ill-equipped or lack sufficient training to handle various situations or patient interactions.  No matter the circumstance, staff turnover can disrupt your practice and cause a significant loss of valuable time and money. 

Understanding the Importance of Employee Retention

Establishing and implementing a mentoring program is an effective tool to help you increase employee retention rates, engage your staff, demonstrate a clear career path, reinforce company culture, and show your team you are invested in their future. In turn, your employees will be encouraged and inspired to perform at the level you want them to, as well as help them feel valued, appreciated, heard, and supported. 

According to a study by the Association for Talent Development, companies that offer mentorship programs increase employee engagement and increase retention rates by 50%. Take a moment to think about your practice and your most seasoned employees. I’m sure you will agree they possess valuable skills and hands-on experiences that newer employees could truly benefit from. 

A mentorship program can involve several different strategies. On the clinical side, mentors will help employees develop and hone their clinical skills, their patient relation and consultation skills, in addition to performing treatments that will achieve the best patient outcome and help troubleshoot when they are having issues with patients. As it relates to the front office, administration or patient care coordinator role, mentors can help develop their customer service, phone skills, sales, communication, or leadership skills. 

Everyone in the practice (current employees, new employees, and management) can always benefit from continued education and professional development. Typically, when long-term employees leave, it's because they feel they have reached a cap or have nowhere else to go within the practice.  If you can create a professional development and mentorship program that will constantly give them something new to learn and strive for, their possibilities will become limitless. For example, if they’ve mastered a clinical skillset, you might move on to develop new leadership skills or have them take additional training to learn a new skill or technique. If you continually provide a path of learning and growing, there is always a new challenge to propel them forward. 

Ways to Structure Mentorship Programs

  • One on One
  • Whole practice “collective” rotation approach
  • Hire outsourced coaches/trainers

When most people think of a mentorship program, they think of a more traditional one-on-one mentor/mentee relationship. That does not always work out in the aesthetic space in busy practices. For example, if you run a medical aesthetics practice, you don’t want to have your busiest injector mentoring one-on-one all the time as it can slow down their productivity and/or the mentee may not be as high of a priority. If you choose this route, their manager should not be their mentor as it may be difficult to be open due to the nature of the relationship so identifying who is the best fit is important.

A “whole practice” collective strategy is usually the best option. That way, everyone has a chance to be partnered up with various mentors and rotate to learn new skills—both clinical and leadership-related. When the whole practice is on board, everyone wins and it fosters a positive, growth mindset within the company culture.

If your team is small or the idea of a full internal mentorship program does not seem feasible, another option is to hire an outsourced personal development coach or trainer with specific clinical or sales skills. Outsourcing can be very useful, for example, for private equity firms who are opening a medical spa and do not have any clinical experience. The leadership clearly cannot mentor the staff members on clinical skills. So, they must do their homework and find experts in the field to provide training and support for the employees they hire. In a plastic surgery or cosmetic dermatology practice, the surgeon or physician may not have the bandwidth to personally serve as a mentor and outsourcing may make more financial sense. 

Strategies for Effective Mentorship Programs

How does mentoring benefit employees? Mentorship is for new hires and helps set them up for success from the very beginning and helps establish relationships within the company as well as helps immerse them in your company culture, mission, and vision. Current employees also greatly benefit from ongoing career development to learn new skills for advancement opportunities. Providing leadership training and mentorship for your management team helps them to become better leaders which, in turn, helps the employees they supervise reach their potential.

Setting up a mentoring program may seem like a lot of work, especially when you are already running an extremely busy practice. However, there are multiple benefits of having mentors for your employees. Mentors provide:

  • A sounding board who can help them navigate challenges and further develop their skill set.
  • Someone who truly is there to listen. Sometimes being able to vent prevents resentment from building up and shifts their mindset so they are not sitting in negativity or dwelling and spiraling down a rabbit hole by holding on to frustration.
  • A guide for conflict resolution and effective communication.
  • Someone who can question and dig a bit deeper to see what is really going on beneath the surface and what might be going on in the employee’s life that could be spilling over into the workplace.
  • A non-judgmental safe space with open-door access. When an employee is not afraid to ask a question for fear it will make them look stupid, they tend to make fewer mistakes. Being comfortable in asking for help before they proceed can make the difference in an employee’s self-confidence level and assure them that their employer has their back and is invested in their success.

Benefits of Mentoring for Employee Development

A mentor on the clinical side can ask questions such as:

  • How did you feel doing that procedure?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how comfortable are you doing a treatment plan?
  • How are you feeling about doing combination treatments?
  • What additional training do you feel you need?
  • How would you handle this adverse event?
  • How do you handle the price objection?

On the more personal development (leadership, communication side), employees want to be seen, heard and understood. This is where acknowledging/validating comes into play as well as listening skills and empathy. A mentor can ask questions or make statements such as:

  • How are you feeling about the day-to-day challenges?
  • I hear you and understand that must have been challenging for you (acknowledging). Anyone in your shoes would have felt the same way (validating). 
  • What can we do to move forward and resolve this issue?
  • What support do you need from me?
  • How did you feel handling that phone call?
  • She was price shopping, what do you do?

Creating a Successful Mentorship Program

Your team is one of the most important assets of your medical aesthetic practice. Building a top-notch team of well-trained, skilled, competent, and solution-oriented employees with a passion for the industry and their job doesn’t happen by winging it. It begins with carefully planning and executing an informative, comprehensive, and well-conceived training and mentorship program. 

Mentoring programs should be aligned with your business goals. That means you should designate one staff member to lead the program with strong leadership skills and determine the purpose, structure, length of time, pace, and best practices. Then, decide on some metrics to put in place to evaluate and measure success. Clearly outlining what you hope to achieve and then determining how you are going to match mentors with mentees or rotate your employees through various mentors is important for any successful program. Finally, providing training for your mentors is also key. 

We suggest having monthly mentor meetings where you can talk through employee challenges and share your experiences and insights with each other. You can also discuss areas that need improvement. This is a time to focus on the human capital aspect of your practice, not discuss sales goals or hitting monetary goals. If this is the first time you are setting up a mentorship program, we recommend you start small and then gradually expand it and tweak as you go along. 

Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  1. Think about where you want your practice to be a year from now and what your goals are for your employees in terms of professional development through a mentorship program.
  2. Then work backwards. Determine monthly or quarterly milestones to foster happy employees who are invested in staying for the long term.  
  3. Create plans for your clinical team, front desk, management, and sales team, and build specific goals for each role.
  4. That way, when someone leaves and another person is hired to fill that role, there is already a structure in place and no need to reinvent the wheel. 
  5. Develop a mentorship growth development plan to monitor progress.

As part of the Clarity Practice Performance System, you can take a deeper dive into best hiring practices, long-term employee retention strategies, structuring new employee orientation, the importance of staff training, and creating a mentorship program. Book a discovery call today to learn more.

Clarity Technologies

Clarity Technolgoies offers the world's first Practice Performance System. With a commitment to fostering growth and success for medical practices, we bring unparalleled expertise to the forefront. Through our articles, our team of experts share valuable insights, tips, and industry knowledge that will elevate your practice to new heights.