How to Lose Your Best Employees

Employee retention independent pharmacy

Inside: Why focusing on employee retention can make your pharmacy more profitable and efficient. 

Long-term employees bring lots of benefits to your pharmacy. They’ve built relationships with patients, and they’ve mastered pharmacy workflow, which means they get things done efficiently.

But in order to convince people to stay on board for the long haul, as a manager, you need to focus on employee retention.

How Employee Retention Affects the Bottom Line

Keeping employees around for a long time benefits your bottom line and the long-term viability of your pharmacy business. Here’s why.

Employee turnover is expensive

According to a study from the Center for American Progress, it costs about 20 percent of annual pay to replace most employees when they leave.

Every time an employee leaves, you have to spend money posting jobs and training new recruits. Not to mention the time it costs you sifting through applications and conducting interviews. With high turnover, you’re incurring those costs more frequently.

Employee turnover kills productivity

Another way poor employee retention proves costly is in lost productivity. With high turnover, you have less experienced employees that may not be able to work as efficiently as your long haulers.

New employees have less institutional knowledge, which means they may not know the secrets of working with the pharmacy technology or even the best person to ask when they have problems. All this could translate to longer wait times for patients or less friendly service.

High turnover can also kill morale around the pharmacy because long-term employees could feel insecure in their position or be resentful that they have to pick up the slack. That will also have a negative effect on your pharmacy’s productivity.

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Employee turnover makes it harder to hire

You have a limited pool of potential applicants for every job in your pharmacy, and every time you lose an employee, that pool gets even smaller. The more times you have to fill a position, the fewer quality applicants you’ll get for each round.

On top of that, high turnover can damage your reputation. If word gets out that your pharmacy is hemorrhaging employees, it will become harder to attract high-quality candidates for the jobs you post.

4 Reasons Employees Leave 

Problems in the pharmacy workplace can make employee retention difficult. Learn how to recognize them and what you can do to make your pharmacy a better place to work.

1. Unhappy with management

One of the main drivers in turnover, according to a survey by Career Addict, is a poor relationship with management. That’s you.

When the boss is bad, employees feel like there’s nothing they can do to change it except leave for a new job that will hopefully have a better manager.

The contention can come in lots of different forms: employees feel like their boss is taking credit for their work, discriminating against them, or just communicating poorly and causing unnecessary stress.

What you can about it: Be a strong leader within your pharmacy. Start with clear communication. Don’t assume that employees can read your mind, and be proactive in praising employees when they are doing great and correcting them when they need improvement.

The more you communicate with employees, the more comfortable they will be coming to you when they have problems, which means you can catch and correct issues before an employee gets so frustrated that they quit.

If you have multiple pharmacy managers, make sure you’re hiring people who are well-suited to management and training promising employees to become five-star leaders.

READ NEXT: 10 Effective Pharmacy Management Tips

2. Dissatisfied with their duties

Another reason employees leave their jobs is that they simply aren’t satisfied with the work. They might not enjoy their day-to-day tasks or they might not feel that what they do at the pharmacy is important. If employees have a hard time seeing how they will advance from their current role, they will look for a position with a clearer career path.

What you can do about it: When you’re hiring, be honest about what the position entails. If someone applies for a job they think is going to be patient-facing and then end up doing mostly administrative tasks, they’ll be dissatisfied with the job.

Communicate with your staff about how their job duties help the pharmacy succeed. When employees feel like they are contributing to the bigger picture, their individual work may be more satisfying.

Talk with your staff members about their goals — maybe one staff member has ambitions for management and another wants to become a pharmacy tech — and do what you can to help them achieve those goals. If you invest in employees, they’ll want to invest their talents in the pharmacy in return.

3. Toxic work environment

A staff member who brings drama into the workplace will drive great employees out the door. A disrespectful coworker will dampen any enthusiasm employees have for their job. They will dread coming into the pharmacy for their shifts and be looking for any escape route.

What you can do about it: Hire thoughtfully. The fact that someone has all the right qualifications doesn’t mean they’ll be a good fit for your pharmacy, so be sure to call their references to get a sense of what kind of co-worker they will be.

If a toxic team member slips through the cracks, act fast. Let that employee know how they’ll need to change their attitude, and if they can’t shape up fast, let them go. You don’t want to risk losing a great employee while you’re trying to rehabilitate someone who will never change.

4. Better offer

Sometimes, employees leave for reasons that have nothing to do with being unhappy at their current workplace. They simply got a job offer that suits them better: the location means a shorter commute, the schedule fits their family’s needs, or the position better aligns more closely with the career goals.

What you can do about it: The good news is, when employees leave with a better offer, it doesn’t reflect badly on you as an employer. The bad news is, this kind of turnover is inevitable. You can hang on to employees by making sure your pay is competitive, your benefits package is comprehensive, and your pharmacy is an enjoyable place to work. All those factors will make employee retention easier.

And don’t burn bridges if a great employee decides to move on to a different company. They could return down the line with new knowledge and experience that will make your pharmacy an even better place to work.


An Independently Owned Organization Serving Independent Pharmacies

PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy side of their business. The member-owned company serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, expert contract negotiations, proprietary purchasing tools, distribution services, and more.

An HDA member, PBA Health operates its own NABP-accredited (formerly VAWD) warehouse with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products.

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Elements is written and produced by PBA Health, a buy-side solutions company.

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