Learning + Earning

Staff education and ongoing training is increasingly part of the practice picture. It’s also part of the bottom line, according to Dale Carnegie Training, whose research finds that “companies with engaged [and well-trained] employees outperform those without by 202%.”

Tip: “Using patient surveys and feedback will help measure individual performance and identify any additional staff training needs.”

202%“Companies with engaged [and well-trained] employees outperform those without by 202%.”

Certainly certification and re-certification requirements of optometrists, ophthalmic techs, and licensed opticians demand ongoing education. Beyond that, however, the combination of ever-advancing technology in equipment and product, as well today’s savvier consumer, have combined to bring staff education to the forefront in many offices.

To learn more, we asked a few of Shamir’s Peer-to-Peer Champion eyecare professionals to share a bit about their own programs and perspectives.

STAFF EDUCATION

• CERTIFICATION.  Mario Gutierrez, O.D, F.A.A.O, owner of Vision Source Alamo Heights in Texas, explains that “our goal is to train so that employees can get their certification. We encourage staff and we incentivize them. We give them a financial incentive if they are certified.”

• FORMAT. Dr. Gutierrez adds, “In addition to a daily huddle, we have monthly meetings–front office meeting, an optical department one–which includes our lab, opticians, and doctors, and a monthly clinic meeting, with our doctors, technicians, and our fourth-year optometry students. Our managers attend all department meetings.”

• HUDDLE. “For optometrists whose practices are smaller,” stresses Dr. Gutierrez, “it’s important not just to meet the way we do, but also to have a daily huddle.”

• HIRING. “It all starts with hiring,” stresses Eric Kaufman, practice manager for Insight Vision Care in Sugarcreek, Ohio. “It’s easy to train skills, but for a culture, you should hire on your principles.”

• PERSPECTIVE. Kaufman adds, “You have to look at it every step of the way—the whole process—through the customer’s eyes. Hire culture and train skills…that’s our mentality.”

• PEOPLE SKILLS. Lisa Frye, optician and manager at Hoover EyeCare Associates in Ala., says it’s important to “review ‘example’ interactions in the office and develop protocol for responding to difficult patients. Create protocols and appropriate responses, coach and train your team, and inspect what is expected. The point? Aways strive to improve patient and team relations.”

• FEEDBACK. Frye adds, “Using patient surveys and feedback will help measure performance and identify any additional staff training needs.”

VENDOR EDUCATION

• REPS. “We try to partner with our vendors and labs—and I’ll tell you our best lens rep is from Shamir,” explains Dr. Gutierrez. “We ask him to come in maybe every six months. What we ask him isn’t how to problem solve but how to problem prevent.”

• PROGRAMS. To that end, Shamir Insight launched a new Certification Program in Nov. It’s a comprehensive education program about Shamir’s technologies and products and is comprised of five modules–Shamir Technology, Everyday Lenses, Work Lenses, Play Lenses, and Troubleshooting. Presented in five sessions, each module was designed to help participants gain a deeper understanding of all aspects of Shamir’s technologies and products. For info, contact your Shamir Account Executive or call (877) 514-8330.

What’s the best decision you’ve made about training your staff? Tell us about what it is and why it works, and share in the conversation on Facebook here.

Erinn Morgan