Working in a private practice has its challenges. We have all felt the pressures of an employee evaluation, but offices that dispense glasses as well as contact lenses may have selling goal reviews as well. From office managers to the doctor we work for, we as support staff have a lot to worry about.
Starting with what we can change first, employees typically have an annual review that focuses on our behavior in the office. How we treat our patients and coworkers, how effectively we use our time on the clock, whether or not we are perpetually late to work or we call out consistently are some of the topics that we are often given feedback on. Short of the flu or pink eye, we the results of these critiques are solely on us. We come into work every day and decide whether or not we are going to do are best and compassionately see our patients.
Adding an optical shop or contact lens dispensary introduces a whole extra level of metrics to measure up against. Sales from glasses and contacts help the office bring in money, as insurance has been paying providers less and less over time. In order for some offices to turn a profit at all, they need to sell so much product a year. Managers will take this dollar amount, break it down into monthly goals which they often compare to last year’s sales and hold these numbers over opticians or dispensing technicians. Some practices have policies where employees can be let go if they do not meet their sales goals so many months in a row.
While the physicians tend to leave performance appraisals to the office managers, their opinion heavily influences these reviews. You could be the highest seller of glasses in the practice but if you show up late for your shift everyday, the people who count on you will complain to their bosses and eventually it’ll catch up to you. If your doctor is the person counting on you to be there on time for patients and you show up 30 minutes late, you probably won’t have that job for too much longer.
The pressure of the dreaded annual review can be alleviated with good behavior and work ethic. If you feel that you have been treated unfairly during an evaluation, consult the employee handbook for reference to see if you are in the right before complaining (the handbook can be your savior if your office manager is corrupt—I speak from first hand experience on this one). You cannot always control how much money the office pulls in but you can control how you respect your patients and coworkers.