Your hands are full as an independent pharmacist. Whether it’s helping patients, filling prescriptions, administering vaccinations, or managing your pharmacy’s inventory, there’s always something to do.
Granted all these services and tasks require your undivided attention — that’s how you run a steady pharmaceutical ship. As we mentioned in our “patient appreciation” blog, a pharmacy can’t fulfill its duties without a loyal customer base.
But there’s another side to the coin. It’s too easy to think about the patient experience and not so much about the employee experience.
Your fellow staff pharmacists, technicians, and clerks keep the well-oiled machine that is your pharmacy up and running. There’s hardly anything more valuable than a naturally gifted employee.
The independent pharmacy industry is in great demand for exceptional technicians and clerks.
Here’s how you can keep your exceptional pharmacy staff intact while enticing potential diamonds in the rough.
Pharmacy work is an ever-changing process. Likewise, the tasks and expectations of a pharmacy employee evolve in the tandem with the independent pharmacy industry.
With chain pharmacies and independents offering competitive wages, you need to find ways to further sweeten the deal. One of these ways is to provide career advancement and subsequent compensation.
The biggest example is making your star pharmacy clerk start the path to becoming a star pharmacy technician.
The process varies. They can become a pharmacy technician trainee and fulfill the roles of that position without having to take the PTCB exam.
The caveat is their trainee status is nonrenewable, meaning they would either have to be a clerk again or be in some occupational limbo.
Their experience as a trainee is a fantastic way to get more hands-on pharmacy experience. Sometimes the best education is fieldwork, and being a trainee can prime them to pass the PTCB exam with flying colors.
As you know, becoming a trainee, taking the PTCB exam, and renewing one’s technician license doesn’t come cheap. As we mentioned in our “Celebrate Your Staff This Pharmacy Technician Day” blog, techs are more likely to work at a pharmacy that pays more even if they enjoy working at the other pharmacy.
Offer to pay your techs their testing and renewal expenses. It goes a long way in letting them focus on the task at hand. Pharmacy work is a hectic practice of mindfulness. Don’t let financial disruptions get in the way of independent pharmacy excellence.
Whether you’re a staff pharmacist or an independent pharmacy owner, you’re a leader of a team with an extremely important objective. That objective varies depending on the kind of independent pharmacy you run.
Regardless of the independent pharmacy type, strong leadership will turn the good into one of the very greats. Techs and clerks alike want to work for a strong, confident leader that seemingly knows what to do at any given time.
Your sense of comfort and ease is contagious, easing any pressure your techs or clerks may feel.
That sense of confidence comes from hard-earned experience, so don’t shy away from conflict in the pharmacy. It will only make you a more effective leader.
It takes a village, and that is certainly the case with your independent pharmacy. Listening to your pharmacy staff shows that you care about what they have to say.
There is no such thing as a bad idea (for the most part), and you’ll never know if a clerk’s suggestion might lead to your independent pharmacy’s next great breakthrough.
Cultivate an environment where communication and collaboration thrive. This will encourage your staff to continue working for your independent pharmacy.
The longer your staff works together, the more work chemistry they develop, which is incredibly valuable in the hectic pharmacy workflow.
Show your staff that you care what they think. It doesn’t even have to do with the work itself. Let them know you’re willing to lend an open ear when they need it.
A 2020 Emtrain study found that 31% of employees said their leaders lack empathy and show little interest in direct reports. It doesn’t take much to listen to your staff. But just like glue, a little bit of it goes a long way.
The job specifics don’t define the leader. You’re a pharmacist because you’re a natural-born leader, not the other way around. A strong and empathetic leader will naturally create a fantastic independent pharmacy staff.
The best way to be a pharmaceutical pillar of the community is to know that community. At its best, an independent pharmacy represents the best and brightest elements of its community. You can only achieve this by retaining a local, homegrown feel.
This goes beyond visual aesthetics. Hire pharmacy staff who know the community like the back of their hand.
Make your pharmacy an integral part of city events as well. If your city is hosting a fun run or holiday event, see if your pharmacy can be a sponsor. Brand recognition is the name of the game here, both for customer and employee retention.
Being active in the community makes your independent pharmacy more well-known, enticing local pharmacy techs to work for you.
Working at an independent pharmacy is rarely a short-term gig. Just like you and your fellow staff pharmacists, you’re there for the long haul. How about the rest of your staff?
Whether they’re working to get through college or this is their full-time gig, envision long-term goals for your independent pharmacy staff. They may all work for different reasons, but the objective should be the same.
This is where all the previous sections come into play. Set a vision for your independent pharmacy in both the near and distant future. Being the independent pharmacy owner, chart your course however you see fit.
Then think of your staff. They are the ones who will help you reach the pharmaceutical promised land. The only way you can get the best out of your independent pharmacy staff is to understand their strengths and weaknesses.
Not only can you use their sensibilities to your pharmacy’s advantage, but you can also start to make them better employees in general.
Have one-on-one meetings, listen (see the section above) to them, and see how they fit into your pharmacy’s puzzle.
Show them they’re an invaluable part of your pharmacy’s success. Worker morale will increase and they’ll be more likely to stick around, come hell or high water.
Word will get around that your independent pharmacy is the premier healthcare destination for both patients and employees. Job retention is a valuable part of your independent pharmacy’s success.
Keep and attract the best and brightest independent pharmacy minds through exceptional leadership.
Listen to your staff, be involved in the community, and compensate them for their advancement needs. Bonds only strengthen with time. Make sure your staff is here for a good and long time.