Pharmacy Management: Attracting and Retaining Employees

First Financial Bank
As the job market heats up and becomes increasingly competitive for employers trying to attract top talent, it’s just as critical to keep your current excellent employees.

Done well, it can help you maintain productivity while you are hiring to fill gaps in your team. With some thought and planning, it can even increase employee morale, and create greater loyalty which leads to long term employee relationships within your business. Let’s look at some best practices to help retain and attract employees that will encourage positive growth for your entire Pharmacy team.

1. Write a clear and accurate job description

A well-developed job description will help tremendously as applicants can clearly identify if this is a position that fits their training, skills, experience and interest. It will save time for you as applicants self-select based upon what they are looking for in a position and how they align with the expectations of the job. Your job descriptions should paint a picture of what the applicant will be doing day to day, the non-negotiable skills or training that are required plus the “nice to have” experiences or skills a truly ideal candidate may possess. Be realistic and clear in what the work will look like and your expectations. It will save you and the prospective employee from wasting each other’s time.

2. Be proactive through networking

Perhaps you don’t have any positions that you need to fill today. Congratulations! While your staffing needs are fully met right now, it is a great time to reach out into your community and network. Make your presence known as an excellent employer within the community. As you connect with pharmacists and other professionals in your area, your business will be in a better position to fill any staffing vacancies that arise in the future.

3. And if you are short-handed, remember to reward

If you are actively trying to hire and have a few gaps in your team, you are probably pretty stressed. Not only are you having to jump in to fill in the gaps and work extra hours, you are also sourcing and interviewing potential candidates. It’s exhausting – and not just for you. Your current employees are also probably having to carry more than a normal workload and feeling the strain. As difficult as it may be to remember to do this, prioritize taking the opportunity to show your gratitude to the team you already have in place. Of course you are going to be paying them for any additional hours worked, but they need to be recognized for the additional effort. It’s amazing what a small, heartfelt gesture can mean to someone. And it doesn’t have to be expensive. Take a moment to personally thank each person with a 1-on-1 conversation and/or with a handwritten note. Bring cookies or coffee for a mid-afternoon snack. Take candid shots of the crew with your phone and post to your pharmacy’s Facebook page with comments about how wonderful they are – and how you couldn’t do it without them. It’s true and a great way to acknowledge them.

4. Involve your current staff in the process

This strategy is beneficial with both hiring new staff as well as investing in staff retention. By asking for referrals from current employees, they might know just the candidate to fill the opening in your team. The candidate who is referred will be one step ahead in the hiring process as they have been pre-vetted by a current member of your team who is already invested in your business, and if the candidate that they refer is hired, then you can reward them with some form of a bonus, building morale and reinforcing their loyalty to the company. Another benefit for your pharmacy is that employees who were referred by a colleague are often more likely to stay with your pharmacy long term, therefore saving you time and money in the future with less employee turnover.

Referrals can work in all aspects of your pharmacy business, whether you are looking to hire pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, or non-professional employees who help on the retail side of your business.

5. Utilize social media to connect with passive candidates

Social media can be an excellent tool to find those candidates who may not be actively job searching, but would consider applying for a position should the right job become available. Leverage sites such as LinkedIn, especially for your pharmacist hires. You can use it to network and to post professional job openings. This platform also helps you to quickly see a candidate’s relevant job history and experience on their profile and allows you to reach out to those candidates whose skills and training match the role that you are looking to fill.

6. Promote from within

Nothing encourages company loyalty and employee retention like promoting from within. High performing employees seeking career growth appreciate the recognition of their talents when offered a promotion within your business. Not only does it save you time and money as these candidates are already familiar with your pharmacy customers and business practices, but rather than bringing them through the full onboarding process of a new hire, they only need to be oriented to their new role and job responsibilities.

But what if they don’t have the skills yet, but are motivated and hardworking? Depending on the role, it may be worth your while to train or help enable that employee to get the training they need for that promotion. In particular, need another pharmacy technician but are having trouble finding the right one? If your state allows, consider training one of your existing employees to take on the role. They’ll learn how to do it your way and have already demonstrated to you that they are a positive asset to your business. More importantly, those employees who receive training and the opportunity for a promotion see their job as a career and are more likely to be more invested in your business, lessening the turnover rate.

Putting it all together

These strategies among others will help your pharmacy stand out to top candidates. Other considerations such as offering flexible scheduling, regular employee recognition, and offering professional development and training for your staff will help your pharmacy attract the best employees to complete your team and encourage retention of loyal employees for the long term. Investing in these areas can save your pharmacy both time and money as you retain great employees – your business’ most important resource.

Hear from someone like you – another community pharmacy owner. Check out his story. Want to chat about your plans for your pharmacy? Let’s chat.

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