5 Tips to Improve Hiring Practices for Optometric Support Staff to Reduce Employment Practices Claims

Hiring and retaining quality optometric support staff can be a challenge. Candidate pools may be limited, recruiting resources may be low and finding the time for the hiring process is tricky.

A competitive job market can make things even harder, with companies changing how they hire. If your practice is considering changing your hiring process to reach more candidates and reduce turnover, it is important to do so carefully, since lax hiring practices can lead to a costly employment practices claim.

Here are five tips to improve hiring practices and reduce turnover, without increasing the risk of a claim to your business.

5 Tips to Improve Hiring Practices for Optometric Support Staff and Reduce Turnover

1. Expedite the process

When almost everyone is hiring, job candidates have lots of options. Your job opening must compete with those of other optometric practices as well as other industries. That makes speed an important factor, and practices that can expedite their process will have more luck filling positions.

A typical hiring process has numerous friction points that can lead job candidates to look elsewhere or take another offer before you can even make an offer. To speed things up, look at your current process to see what can be expedited.

  • If you need to fill a support staff position, ask candidates to complete an application rather than submitting resumes that a hiring manager will have to pore over later.
  • If you use an application process, create a short, customized application that asks only the most necessary info and can be completed in a few minutes.
  • If you have an opening you need to fill, create a process to call a candidate immediately to set up an interview when you receive their application.
  • If you require a drug test for employment, consider options that offer faster results, such as mouth swab tests, which are ready in about 10 minutes.
  • If you require a skills test, consider testing candidates with tasks that can be completed in a matter of minutes as opposed to those lasting hours.

As you look to speed up your hiring process for support staff, remember to keep protections in place to minimize risk for your employees and business. Maintain background checks and other procedures while making the process around them more efficient.

2. Host hiring events

Traditionally, it could take days or weeks for applicants to hear back about an application. However, these delays in the hiring process can frustrate applicants and lower your chance of finding good support staff hires. If your business is growing or has several open positions, consider hosting an on-site, in-person hiring event.

On-site hiring events can expedite the hiring process and give you a chance to meet candidates face to face, potentially leading to higher-quality hires. Events can include an application submission, interview, background check and drug screening, making it possible to make an offer to a qualified candidate as soon as the same day.

To minimize your risk of a claim during on-site and in-person hiring events, make sure to take the proper precautions:

  • Require an application to control what information is volunteered by candidates.
  • Know what questions you can and can’t ask applicants during a job interview.
  • Treat everyone the same, standardizing the process for applications, interviews and checks.
  • If candidates volunteer personal information, don’t use it to make your hiring decision.

3. Offer job flexibility

Fixed schedules and long hours used to be the standard for many jobs, but this is changing. If you are having difficulties filling certain roles, it may help to offer more job flexibility.

Determine if it makes sense for your business to rethink hours and scheduling requirements for support staff. Two part-time positions may make more sense than one full-time position. Also, consider ways to make it easier for employees to handle outside commitments like childcare while maintaining a high level of productivity and job performance in the workplace.

To minimize the risk of a claim, be sure to put job requirements and workplace rules in writing. Apply rules fairly and equally to all employees and offer the same accommodations to all employees.

4. Provide incentives

Hiring practices are changing, but some traditional recruiting and retention tools still work in the new economy. Providing incentives to new hires and current employees can still be effective methods for hiring and retaining quality employees.

Incentives can range from sign-on bonuses, performance awards, paid vacations and employee benefit packages to free snacks, social outings, referral bonuses, professional development and other workplace perks. Consider a mix of one-time, recurring and continuous incentives of different levels and costs that appeal to your workforce and are appropriate for your business.

Minimize your risk when developing an incentive program by putting the terms in writing in your employee handbook. Be fair to new and existing workers and offer incentives to all employees who meet the requirements you set.

5. Focus on retention

Businesses with higher turnover can face more workplace challenges, from difficulty filling positions to low workplace morale and more claims. With the stakes this high, focusing on retention is key.

Higher employee retention has many benefits, including better workplace culture, higher customer satisfaction and a lower risk of claims. Incentives for retaining employees can be similar to those used to woo job applicants. Consider cash bonuses as well as non-cash perks that improve workplace culture.

When offering these employee bonuses and perks, make sure to be fair and equitable. Put in writing what incentives will be available when and how and ensure that all employees have an opportunity to benefit from the incentives you make available.

How to Protect Your Business from Claims Related to Hiring Practices

As you work to improve hiring practices for optometric support staff and reduce your turnover, take care to minimize your chance of a claim. Employment practices liability (EPL) claims can result when an employer and employee have a dispute over hiring practices, working conditions or the termination of employment.

While optometric practices have little control over broader employment trends in the industry, it is possible to take steps to help reduce your own employee turnover. Improving your hiring practices and reducing turnover has many benefits, including better workplace culture, higher customer satisfaction and a lower risk of EPL claims.

Along with helpful tips for managing risk at your business, Lockton Affinity offers customized insurance policies to help protect your business and employees. Learn how our Employment Practices Liability Insurance can help protect your practice today.