Hiring a new optometrist can help to build the practice, but it may also bring a lot of change. It’s a big decision to make, but the owner of Las Colinas Vision Center in Irving, Texas, Ken Krivacic, OD, MBA, has a simple step-by-step plan to make it work. If it really doesn’t work out though, he even includes a way to back out.
Firstly, you’ll need to decide whether you want to hire your new OD as an associate or a partner. It’s a tough decision to make for the practice, and Dr. Krivacic advises practice owners to proceed with caution and to thoroughly assess the prospective employee’s character as well as their professional skills before making an offer.
Taking on a new employee is always scary as you consider the company’s finances. An associate is usually a more cost effective solution for you, as the practice owner, but at Caro & Associates, we are experts in accounting services for optometry practices and can review your accounts and offer guidance on how to improve your bottom line.
If you are considering hiring a partner, he recommends beginning with an associate and suggests you follow his 3-step approach:
1. Employ an associate
Even if there is the potential for them to turn into a partner, take it slowly. Dr. Krivacic says many ODs make great associates, focusing their attention on seeing patients in a 9-5 role. These associates are happy to be employed with a steady salary and a few bonuses along the way, and this position suits them best.
Others have more ambition and drive. They want to help the practice grow and see the financial rewards for their input. These ODs aspire to have partner status and will work hard to achieve that goal. They will not be happy to remain an associate for the long-term.
Either type can make a great employee, but it’s important to see what they are looking for and ensure you are both on the same track.
2. See how it goes
Hire the associate for a set period and see how you work together before making a full commitment.
Ken Krivacic recommends starting with a short-term agreement where you work together for a set time, whether it’s 3, 6 or 12 months. During that time, you will get to see both their clinical skills and their personality and see how well you work with them.
Personality is more important than you might think, “you could have the best clinician in the world, but if you don’t get along, it’s going to be a miserable relationship,” he explains.
An opt-out clause, allowing either one of you to walk away if you don’t get along, is Dr.. Krivacic’s suggestion. This allows you to test the water before making a big commitment. An OD-owner can easily write this kind of short-term agreement, signed by both parties, but with something more long-term it is always best to have the terms and conditions drawn up by an attorney.
3. Work it out
If you get along and work well together, you can work toward a partnership if that’s what you both want. By following steps 1 and 2, you will have given yourself enough opportunity to back out if the relationship doesn’t suit you or the practice.
If the relationship is a success, you can take the time to assess their position. From here, you can decide whether it would be best to continue as you are, with the OD employed as your associate, or whether you think they are business partner material.
Contact Caro & Associates today to arrange a review of your practice’s accounts and find out whether now is a good time to hire!
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