Best Practices for Employee Relations in Aesthetic Medical Practices

Robbi Grayson
Vice President of Business Development at Acara Partners
Member of the Aesthetic Business Institute Board of Directors

John Powers, PhD
Director of Education and Research
Aesthetic Business Institute

Employees are a crucial asset for any aesthetic medical practice, and it is essential for all practices and small businesses to maintain strong employee relations. A recent ABI Flash Poll looks at how the small businesses in the aesthetic medical industry work with their staff to optimize performance and relations.

Employee Orientation and Handbook

It has long been held that employee orientation or “on-boarding” is a crucial aspect to the future success and longevity of the new staff member. An ABI Flash Poll, only 41% of aesthetic medical businesses reported that they hold any type of orientation for their new employees. For those who have some form of orientation, there were many different varieties described. Several practices described a formal time of reviewing company policies and benefits, shadowing other employees, and reviewing written protocols. One practice even described a formal orientation for all new hires and then a 6–12 week orientation with a preceptor if that fit the position. Other practices had a much more informal orientation process that included processes such as completing human resources paperwork, being set up by the IT staff with company email and server access, and one on one training with staff members.

“Employee orientation for every aesthetic medical practice is a must,” commented Grayson. “This is a crucial step for the long-term success of your new employee and will eliminate a number of problems. Orientation takes away uncertainty, defines expectations, and answers questions.”

Conversely, 69% of practices do have an employee handbook available for staff members. Again, the survey respondents reported a wide array of types of employee handbooks at their practice. For some, this handbook included only a few pages that covered employee benefits. Other aesthetic medical practices confirmed that they provided a more robust employee handbook that included company-wide policies, benefits, and more. There also was a split between how this information was available or disseminated to employees. Several practices reported that they provided hard copies of the handbook for each employee, while others replied that they had a hard copy available for all staff in their office. Still others have moved their employee handbook to a digital format and would provide employees access to this information online.

Grayson was also adamant that all aesthetic medical practices should provide every new employee with access to an employee handbook. “Having all of your policies and procedures documented in an employee handbook can help you avoid many human resources and legal issues,” she added.

Staff Meetings

It has been well-established in the business world that regular staff meetings can very much help with internal communication, clarity about job expectations, and overall work satisfaction. The ABI survey determined that 30% of practices hold regular weekly staff meetings, 28% meet quarterly, and 20% hold monthly meetings. While 5% of those surveyed met as a staff every single day, conversely, 15% of aesthetic medical practices do not have regular staff meetings. And there were variations within these general parameters. Some practices reported that they met monthly with all staff, and then weekly with more specific teams of employees. Others met daily with even smaller groups of staff, such as owner, manager, and receptionist as an example.

“I feel that at a minimum, monthly staff meetings should be held for all employees at your practice,” Grayson said. “In addition, having daily clinical team “huddles” every morning can greatly help those staff members to organize and prepare for their day.”

Performance Reviews

Annual performance reviews are the standard for healthy feedback between employees and the practice, as well as provide guidelines and structure to goal-setting, raises, and more. Two-thirds of practices surveyed confirmed that they hold annual employee performance reviews, and several businesses mentioned that they hold reviews every six months or even quarterly.

Non-Compete Agreements

Finally, only 41% of aesthetic medical practices surveyed ask their employees to sign a non-compete agreement. Many of these non-compete agreements only involved employees providing services at the practice such as injectors, nurses, etc.

Characteristics of Those Surveyed

For those who completed this ABI Flash Poll, 37% represented a med spa, 26% were from an aesthetic medical practice, 24% involved plastic surgeons, and 13% a cosmetic dermatology practice. In addition, 33% surveyed were from a practice that reported a gross revenue of $1–$2 million, 30% were under $1 million, 21% were between $2–$3 million, and 15% were $3–$4 million.