Front-desk turnover

Front-desk turnover

Feb 01, 2006

Q What's the typical turnover rate for front-office team members? How do I know if my turnover's too high?

"Turnover rates vary among clinics," says Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Dr. Jeff Rothstein, MBA, president of The Progressive Pet Animal Hospitals and Management Group, which owns and operates hospitals in Michigan and Ohio. "Generally, a turnover rate of up to 25 percent isn't unusual for front-office staff over the course of one year. If you're seeing higher rates, then it's time to look at your staff-management practices to find out why." How well you hire, train, treat, and compensate your team members affect turnover, he says. "If you do all these things well, you probably have a 75 percent chance of new hires lasting the first year. After employees make it over the first-year hump and find they're well-suited for work at a veterinary practice, they're on their way to becoming long-term team members. However, if you're not doing so well on the factors I listed above, you're likely to see the revolving door effect, where 75 percent of your hires won't make it past the first year."

To figure out whether you have too much turnover, Dr. Rothstein says to look at how long your employees have been at your practice. A good rule of thumb: 25 percent of your front-desk employees may be in their first year, 25 percent will have been there two to three years, and the remaining employees should have been there four years or more. "For example, if you had four front-desk staff members, one would be new, one moderately experienced, and two well-seasoned. A turnover rate of 25 percent is probably not unusual for many practices," says Dr. Rothstein.

Dr. Jeff Rothstein
In Dr. Rothstein's hospitals, roughly 50 percent of the front-desk team members have been with the practice more than five years. "Given the right work conditions, it's possible for team members to make a long-term career out of front-office positions," he says.

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