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Understanding Staff Needs

March 11, 2008 |

The staff you employ can make or break your practice – period. When aesthetic patients are using their own money for elective procedures, their experience with you (and your staff) needs to be a good one – every single time. Because if it’s not, they will go where they are treated better and they’ll take their friends with them.

Frankly, your staff’s patient relations skills are just as important as your aesthetic skills when it comes to growing your aesthetic practice.
A patient will spend more time with your staff than with you so it’s imperative they be as committed to the success of your practice as you are.

The results from every second you’ve spent and every dollar you’ve invested in promoting your practice will rely on your staff’s ability to bond with the aesthetic patient so they return to you again and again. Efficient, enthusiastic and well-trained staff members are your most valuable practice-building tools. Think about it – they are the first voice the aesthetic patient hears on the telephone, the first face they see and probably the last person they see when they are walking out the door.

What You Need From Your Staff

Your staff needs to be “on” whenever they are representing you. That means they must be presentable, personable, caring, friendly and compassionate to every patient, while on the telephone or in person, every single time.

How do you get your staff operating at 110%?

Anybody who has been in practice even a short time knows how difficult it is to find and keep good staff. You have probably hired people you thought would be perfect and then find out down the road they are not at all living up the expectations they set during the job interview. You may have other staff that you love dearly but they bring drama to the office and upset the rapport with the other staff members.

Rule #1: Hire Personality and Train Them Your Way

Hire a pleasant personality and a great winning attitude and then train for competence. It’s much easier to train someone to do the job than it is to change their personality. You want people on your team who are innately nice, pleasant, friendly, easy-going, eager to learn and well-liked by the other staff members. Then, train them exactly how you would like your own office run. Your practice is different from every other practice, and it’s different because you have set the tone for how you want things done and what your preferences are.

Where to Find Good Staff

Save time and money and think creatively when putting a team in place. Always be on the lookout for new employees from the following sources:

  • patients or their friends and family members
  • hospital staff looking for a change
  • aestheticians in your community
  • sales people at makeup counters in department stores
  • other medical offices
  • vendors or their family and friends
  • employment agencies (must pay fee)
  • Websites or (fee)

What Does Staff Need?

I interviewed many staff members in my years as an aesthetic marketing consultant and here is a list I compiled of what they wanted from the aesthetic practice they worked for:

  • recognition and reward
  • a stress-free environment
  • opportunity for growth
  • continued training on new topics
  • organized work environment
  • clear understanding of expectations
  • competitive salaries
  • incentives – financial and others
  • fun on the job
  • attractive working conditions
  • flexible hours
  • ownership in their work
  • camaraderie in their workplace

Staff Needs Detailed Description of Job Duties

One of the biggest complaints I hear from staff is that they did not fully understand what was expected of them. So, they would “wing it” using their best judgment, only to then be reprimanded for not doing it right. This leads to embarrassment, low self-esteem and unhappiness with their job.

This is easily remedied. Take the time to explain and train, in detail, exactly what you expect of each staff member. List their duties in detail such as:

  • how to answer the telephone and take messages
  • scripting for general questions
  • scripting on your credentials
  • scripting on closing the appointment or procedure, etc.

And, list all job duties in great detail and in writing. Don’t leave anything to chance or mind reading because you never want to hear, “That’s not my job” or “I didn’t know that”.

Cross Training

It’s a great idea for all new staff members to start at the reception desk for one or two weeks to answer telephones along with the receptionist. This will help them understand your patients, their typical questions, your processes, how to schedule appointments, etc.

Every staff member needs to be able to handle all normal patient activities (checking patients in/out and scheduling appointments) so they can pick up the slack during busy times.

Staff Needs Goals

It’s human nature to work more efficiently, enthusiastically and effectively when you know what the goal is. It’s important to have quantifiable and measurable goals that are aggressive and written down. Staff can wrap their minds around specifics much more than general goals so they know what they are striving for. For example, rather than say, “we will be successful this year”, it’s more effective to say, “We will perform 10 aesthetic procedures per week.”

Be sure you get staff buy-in on these goals and they are part of the process so they work with you, not against you, to grow your practice.

Staff Needs Incentives

Its human nature to do more when you are rewarded for more so develop an incentive program that works for everyone. Meet with each staff person individually to find out what motivates them to bring their best to the table each and every day.

Create a practice your staff cares about and goals that are obtainable that encourage them to manage themselves to achieve those goals. An incentive plan will also help them police each other and do their best even when you’re not there.

Staff Needs Praise

The #1 reason employees leave their job is not for money. It’s because they did not feel valued and appreciated.

Everybody wants a pat on the back. How difficult is it to praise an employee when you see them doing something right? How long does it take for you to say “thank you” at the end of the day? It costs you nothing to show appreciation and thanks for a job well done and can go a long way to happy staff, loyal staff and a great team.


Team training ensures that every member of your team understands the importance of his/her role in your practice as well as your success. And, remember, “Thank You” still goes a long way. Staffing is the most complex, yet important part of your practice. It will take ongoing time and effort to find and keep the best people but it will be well worth it.

Staff Incentives That Work:

  • Commissions
  • Cash Bonuses
  • Acknowledgement
  • Complimentary Services
  • Continuing Education
  • Promotions
  • Flexible Hours

Excerpt taken from interviews with 75 aesthetic patients and reported in the book, “Your Aesthetic Practice/What Your Patients Are Saying” by Catherine Maley, MBA.

  • 79% surveyed said the staff was very important in their decision
  • 18% surveyed said the staff was important
  • 3% surveyed said the staff was somewhat important

Nobody said staff was not important in their decision*

Order your copy at or call (877) 339-8833.

Catherine Maley, MBA

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