One of the key ingredients to developing a successful cosmetic surgery practice is to have a staff that contributes to that success.
But how is an effective staff developed?
Johnson J. Thottam, M.D., Canton, Ohio, voices the contention of many of the surgeons — that employees have to feel they have an integral stake in the success of a practice.
"We have monthly meetings in the office and discuss anything we may be considering for the practice. We ask for their input as to what they think — and sometimes they've read something themselves in magazines which they think might be worthwhile to add to the practice."
A solo practitioner and assistant professor at Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, Rootstown, Ohio, Dr. Thottam also believes in bonuses, measuring those on a subjective basis.
Peter A. Galpin, M.D., practicing in Kahului, Hawaii, laughs and suggests asking his staff what actually works in motivating them. Then he says that from his point of view, the key is to, "Pay them well and give them everything they ask for."
But seriously, according to the solo practitioner, "My view is that running the practice is really a team effort. I respect the input of the members of my staff and try to treat them as equals within the office. I hope that engenders a work environment that's positive for them.
"If my staff feels they need something to make their job easier to handle and to create a better work environment, I try to accommodate them. My front office staff was asking for new cabinets and for a fax scanner — things like that. Whatever makes it work is fine. I think what is more important, however, is the fact that my staff feels comfortable coming in and asking.
"Particularly in a small office, we're all sort of equally important to the final outcome — to the product we turn out, so I want them to feel that way."
Weight of perks, incentives
In addition to making sure his staff feels they are a part of a team effort, Dr. Galpin adds a financial incentive so they can place a value on their participation.
"We do have bonuses on top of their regular pay, but we also take that a step further.
"A portion of my practice is abrasion and skin care and we have a whole cosmeceutical product line that goes along with the that. My staff runs that part of my practice as they want. One hundred percent of the profits that come off the product line is divided amongst my staff."
In Miami, Fla., Jhonny Salomon, M.D., F.A.C.S., says employees need incentives.
"Otherwise, they get stagnant and aren't motivated. I give employees a salary with an incentive to do better in one area or another.