It is crucial that pharmacy invests in staff training because it has demonstrable benefits for the bottom line, says Guild expert Todd Carmona.
Carmona, the HR and quality co-ordinator at the Guild’s Queensland branch, says these benefits flow directly from staff engagement and retention, and can help increase sales and customer loyalty.
Carmona says he firmly believes it is imperative that owners invest in their staff in these competitive times.
“For businesses to compete and grow in today’s ever-changing economy, employers need to invest in their staff with training and development, and the pharmacy industry is no different,” Carmona says.
Savvy employers understand the importance of incorporating staff training and development into their strategic business planning, he says.
“We all know that employees who are engaged in the vision of the business get a lot more personal satisfaction, and therefore, make a lasting and positive contribution to the businesses’ bottom line. This represents a win for all, including customers who get better service and remain loyal,” says Carmona.
He adds employers must recognise the importance of increased employee satisfaction and the benefits this has on the overall business, including staff morale.
“Ongoing investment through training and development shows your employees that they are valued and appreciated members of the team. When employees feel acknowledged and supported, they become more motivated to improve and challenge themselves in the workplace.”
This leads to improved performance which is critical in the healthcare industry with its stringent regulatory environment, says Carmona. Mistakes can be costly—not just from a financial perspective—but also mistakes can have a profound impact if a customer is harmed if they are given inappropriate/incorrect advice.
“The pharmacy industry plays a complex and pivotal role within community healthcare. It is vital that all pharmacy employees remain up-to-date with both the legal and ethical requirements of working in a community pharmacy. Dedicated pharmacy industry training highlights current and correct practices and procedures, so your employees can complete these tasks effectively and efficiently.
“Also, as the face of pharmacy, pharmacy assistants who are well trained and have confidence and good product knowledge can deliver an increase in sales,” says Carmona.
“According to a Customer Experience Impact Survey conducted by Forbes, 86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience. Specific pharmacy industry training provides ‘real world’ product and customer service education.”
Also, training staff leads to better staff retention and morale; and this can have a huge impact on the pharmacy’s bottom-line. Losing and hiring staff is costly, and that’s not only in recruitment costs and initial induction costs.
Staff retention is important in maintaining and growing a customer base, says Carmona. He stresses that customers often develop close relationships with staff, but if they leave, you may lose that customer too.
Also, new employees normally take some time before they become sufficiently familiar with their jobs to achieve 100% productivity. The time period varies according to the job content and employee, but HR research experts Caliper suggests using an estimate of 50% productivity until the required standard is reached.
Caliper says employee contentedness is directly related to a lower turnover rate. Employees who receive ongoing training and development are more likely to commit to their employers as they are continually challenged and engaged in their careers, Carmona says.