A few weeks ago I wrote about the emerging trend called quiet quitting. And before that, I wrote about the great resignation. Recently the business headlines are focusing on the difficulties businesses are having getting good employees (or any employee, for that matter). Like it or not, COVID, combined with our nation’s response to it, changed everything. If money is what motivates your support staff, my fear is you are in trouble.
The sad reality is that the amount of money it would take to truly have a motivated support staff is not sustainable for the typical O&P Practice. But I think you have an incredible opportunity to attract good people. In a book written in 2014 by Allen Buckley and Jonathan Godbey called “Why Work?,” the two authors look at the economics behind the real distribution of household income. They coined a term they called “the ditch”: an area of income at which lower-income households had a higher standard of living than middle-income households, due to entitlements and refundable tax credits. Back then, a family of four making more than $29,000 was “in the ditch” until their income reached about $50,000. The COVID payments and other money the government has provided has exacerbated the width of the ditch. While there are no reports or analysis of the current income levels that define the ditch, the upper end is significantly higher than in 2014. So using money as the primary motivator is a fool’s errand.
Years ago, when we started leadership training, Paul brought in a world-class business coach John Spence. And John introduced us to a protégé of his, Spencer Penhart. Both of those guys are fantastic and they really embraced the O&P profession. To say that they were instrumental in helping OPIE users grow their businesses would be a massive understatement. One thing each of them said to me was that the O&P business owners have an amazing opportunity in front of them. For most employers, the single most difficult obstacle to overcome when building a team of high performers is an exciting mission. My question to you is, what is your mission? How do you “sell” your company to the people who work there? Are they excited about what you do? And do they feel like they materially contribute to something awesome?
Because at the end of the day, the care provided at O&P facilities is awesome. We help people obtain or regain some autonomy. Some self-sufficiency. Maybe even help them find new purpose or meaning in their lives. I can’t think of anything more rewarding than that. If you are only in it for the money, then I really don’t think what I say will make a difference for you. But if you truly are passionate about the care you provide, you need to rekindle that in yourself and in your company and then make sure everyone understands how vital their role is in achieving patient success. And when you employ people, THAT should be why they come to work for you. And if you can rekindle that excitement and get those people engaged, you will be miles ahead of your competition for staff.
With everything going on in O&P these days, the last thing you need is to struggle with finding good help.