When budgets are tight, paying for staff to attend out-of-town practice management workshops and association meetings might not be possible, but that does not mean staff development and education should fall by the wayside entirely. There are a number of low-cost and even no-cost ways to help your employees continue to learn and grow, several of which we’ll share here.
Before you launch into creating your budget-friendly staff development plan, however, take some time to consider what is needed in your practice. Are some members of your team bored with their work and at risk for career burnout? Are there employees who, due to the nature of their jobs, absolutely must stay abreast of changes in the industry (coders, for example, with ICD-10 looming)? Are there skills that everyone on your staff needs to learn because of an upcoming change in your practice, such as an investment in new technology? Think about what you uniquely need, and then consider some of the following staff development ideas.
- Set up a system within the practice to provide cross-training. Not only will employees learn new skills that will help them stay interested in the practice, but the office benefits by having people trained in a variety of positions. This can be invaluable when an employee is out sick or on vacation, or when you need short-term, fill-in staff after someone resigns.
- Ask vendors what extra on-site training they can offer as part of the purchase price of new equipment or software that you have planned for this year.
- Subscribe to practice management publications and circulate them around the office. Distribute a list of reputable Web sites and blogs (such as this one) for staff to review when they have a few spare minutes here and there.
- Host periodic “lunch and learn” sessions. Invite the staff from another office in your building or neighborhood (non-competing practices, of course) to visit over the noon hour and exchange ideas about practice efficiency, patient satisfaction and other pertinent topics. Provide a light, healthy lunch for your staff and the visitors.
- Invest in continuing education that doesn’t require your staff to leave the office. Greenbranch Publishing , for example, offers 90-minute audio conferences on a variety of topics for only $237, and the presenters are all experts in their fields. The MGMA offers ongoing webinars on a wide range of practice management subjects, as well.
Keep your eyes and ears open for other low-cost and no-cost staff education opportunities. With a little thought and creativity, you can ensure that your team stays well-informed, even if your budget is limited.