Insights on the Staffing Shortage in Optometry

As an optometrist, you are likely already aware of the unprecedented staffing shortage that the optometry and healthcare industry at large has been facing for so many years now. This shortage has had a widespread impact, with many optometry practices experiencing lower revenues due to the inability to staff adequately or hire skilled staff members.
Let’s give you some insights on this ongoing staffing crisis.

Insights on the Staffing Shortage in Optometry
The challenge of finding skilled staff members continues to persist. Some estimates indicate that over a third of optometry practices are actively recruiting for optometrists and assistants.
Of those practices recruiting for staff, nearly a staggering 80 percent report that their search has been “extremely challenging” and that finding suitable candidates is tougher than ever.
Despite the fact that employment levels in optometry exceeded pre-pandemic levels long before last year, many optometry practices continue to struggle with staffing shortages.
While compensation is not the number one reason that employees leave their jobs, a significant percentage of employed individuals (mostly in professional healthcare positions) are actively looking for
another job.
This is largely driven by the Great Resignation or Big Quit, which saw roughly 50 million people quit their jobs last year. But they didn’t quit to leave the workforce, they mostly quit to take new jobs.
Given the current staffing crisis, it is essential for optometry practices to take immediate action to solidify and stabilize their current teams, which are taking on more responsibilities than ever before.
Some staff are still better than no staff, so form a plan of action for retaining staff and caring for employees in the face of the workforce shortage. From insurance benefits and paid holidays, to time off
and uniform expenses, do what you can to show your appreciation.
In order to keep your optometry practices going during these challenging times, it is crucial for optometrists and optometry business owners to fine-tune basic efficiencies, like smarter scheduling, identifying employee burnout, and improving communication and outreach.
Reinforce your existing team to maintain productivity during this staffing shortage. You can create a healthy work environment that retains staff by finding a balance between praise, growth opportunity, monetary reward, and a sense of challenge.
Meanwhile, find creative ways to attract talent for your optometry practice. Think about what you can offer that others don’t. While greater pay is the obvious answer, sometimes an attractive offer can have
more paid time off, a company car, or even a more flexible schedule.

Wrapping Up
By the look of things, the staffing shortage is expected to continue, at least for the foreseeable future.
But this doesn’t mean that your optometry practice has to suffer. Caring for existing employees and finding ways to attract new ones is the best way forward.
With that in mind, we cannot stress the importance of showing appreciation for employees as a way of retaining staff in the long term. While money can fix some staffing and retention problems in the short-
term, it is crucial to take steps towards building a happier and more fulfilled workplace culture.

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