Mastering Staff Retention for Your Physical Therapy Clinic During Employment Instability

Between the “Great Resignation” of 2022 and the growing trend of “Quiet Quitting”, staffing is quickly becoming a more costly concern for many businesses, including physical therapy practices. According to a recent study by U.C. Berkeley, it costs an average of $4,000 to hire and train a new employee. On top of that, finding the right employee can be a long and often frustrating process, which is why it pays off to retain and re-engage your staff.

As a clinic owner, your team plays an essential role in the success of your service-based business. Therefore, it’s important to understand what motivates your staff so that your clinic can flourish.

>> For more tips about how to retain and hire people for your PT clinic, check out MEG’s podcast all about staffing.

4 Tips to Improve Staff Retention at Your PT Clinic


1. Establish a First-Rate Human Resources Department 

Many PT practice owners act as the entire human resource department for their clinic despite having little to no experience in human resources. Instead of trying to blindly navigate your way through HR tasks, adopt tools and outsource to professionals wherever possible. For example, many clinic owners who have a revolving door of front desk staff can outsource this position with a virtual front desk manager.

Additionally, you can consider partnerships with Professional Employment Organizations (PEOs) to leverage their expertise and provide exceptional benefits for your employees. An HR partner can act as a third-party to help you manage any workplace personnel issues.

2. Communicate Regularly With Your Staff

In the bustling environment of a PT clinic, regular communication can sometimes take a backseat. However, keeping open channels of dialogue is essential for staff retention and ensuring a harmonious workplace. As Simon Sinek says in his book “Leaders Eat Last”, money can’t replace time with the boss.

Start by scheduling regular one-on-one meetings with each member of your team. These sessions provide an invaluable opportunity to check in on their well-being, discuss any challenges they might be facing, and understand their aspirations within the clinic. They can also voice any concerns, offer suggestions and feel genuinely heard, which is crucial for workplace satisfaction.

Regular communication with your team isn’t just about passing on information—it’s about building relationships. By actively engaging with your staff, understanding their needs and aspirations, and keeping them involved in the clinic’s evolution, you can create a tight-knit team that’s invested in the collective success of your practice.

3. Create a Culture of Autonomy and Trust

It might feel natural for you as the clinic owner to maintain control over every aspect of operation, however, micromanaging can have the unintended consequence of suppressing innovation and eroding trust between management and staff.

Autonomy is more than just the freedom to make decisions; it’s a statement of trust. When therapists are granted autonomy in their treatment plans or their scheduling, you are communicating to them that they are trusted. This kind of empowerment can be particularly impactful in a PT clinic where therapists, with their specialized knowledge, can greatly benefit from the freedom to customize patient care.

Imagine a therapist who notices a particular exercise routine working well for a patient, slightly deviating from the standard protocol. In an environment of trust and autonomy, the therapist can make adjustments without fearing repercussions, leading to more personalized and potentially more effective care.

Encouraging autonomy doesn’t mean a complete lack of oversight. Instead, it means establishing clear guidelines and then allowing the staff to navigate within those parameters. This balance ensures consistency in service delivery while still leaving room for creativity.

Fostering a culture of autonomy can also enhance professional growth. When therapists are given the freedom to make decisions, they are more likely to engage in critical thinking, problem-solving and take ownership of outcomes, good or bad. This not only boosts their confidence but also aids in skill development.

4. Focus On Your Strengths as the PT Clinic Owner

If you want to lead a successful PT clinic, concentrate on what you excel at and outsource the rest. Rather than spreading yourself thin trying to manage billing, front desk and other admin-related tasks, direct all your energy towards optimizing patient care and boosting client satisfaction. 

It’s tempting to think success is about serving more patients. However Brian Gallagher, President of MEG Business and MEG Academy, explains that this isn’t always true:

“I believe the new PT model is not the fee-for-service model where the only way to succeed is through more patients, more billing and more units… it’s through optimized clinic delivery.”

In your PT clinic, the emphasis should shift from quantity of patients to quality of care. Prioritize delivering unparalleled service over simply increasing patient numbers. By honing in on your core competencies and ensuring every client gets the best care, you set your clinic apart, driving success and establishing your reputation in the industry.

Master the Staffing Problem in Your PT Clinic With the Help of MEG Academy

With the right strategies, you can navigate the challenges of hiring and retaining staff in your PT clinic and ensure your clinic stands out – both to patients and potential employees. Remember, in the end, it’s all about creating an environment that promotes growth, satisfaction and top-notch care. 

Interested in deep-diving into these strategies and more? Discover the world of optimized clinic management with MEG Academy to ensure that your clinic isn’t just surviving, but thriving.

MEG Academy - Physical Therapy Business Training

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