Staff layoffs are never pleasant, especially in a medical practice where coworkers form close bonds based on the urgency of their mission.
Yet when a doctor leaves the practice or a sudden influx of new practices invades your geographic area, layoffs are inevitable.
Or are they? If you have a genuine need for all of your existing workers, staff layoffs are the last thing you should consider to bring costs into line. Like any other small business, a medical practice has multiple budget items that can be targeted for cost reduction. Here is just a sampling of the alternatives that can help avoid layoffs in your medical practice.
- Supply inventories. Massive inventories of unused supplies can dramatically impact your bottom line. Before you start handing out pink slips, spend some time studying your supply purchasing process. Eliminate overstocks and pursue volume discounts for the supplies you really use.
- Renegotiate service contracts. Most medical practices rely on a wide range of service contracts with third-party providers. During a time of economic distress, it's important to evaluate every service contract. If possible, renegotiate contracts with high-priced vendors or secure new contracts with less expensive providers.
- Review benefits. Benefits are big ticket items. They're also items that sometimes get ignored during the budget review process. If you don't have time to do it yourself, ask your office manager to conduct a benefits review analysis with the goal of offering similar benefits at a lower price.
- Employee concessions. More often than not, employees are willing to make a few concessions to avoid companywide layoffs. The elimination of overtime and reduced work hours should be relatively painless employee concessions, especially if the alternative involves letting go one or more staff members.
- Reevaluate space requirements. If your practice has reduced the number of physicians, it probably doesn't make sense to remain in the same physical space. In most real estate markets, medical space is readily available, so you shouldn't have any problem finding a new location that is a better fit for your practice. If you're in a pinch, work with your landlord on a lease renegotiation or subleasing arrangement.