Over the last few decades, the franchise business model has flourished. People are more familiar with fast food franchises (McDonalds, Taco Bell, and Wendy’s), but franchises have cropped up across all industries from car care (Meineke and Les Schwab) to healthcare (Right at Home and Brightstar).
The “franchisation” of healthcare is unique because it allows non-medical professionals to open, operate, and run healthcare service establishments. The commercialization of healthcare brings a number of ethical dilemmas that new business owners must address. Unlike their fast food counterparts, every monetary and procedural decision will affect the health and safety of patients and employees alike. How franchises treat employees, in particular, can have far-reaching consequences.
The Importance of Healthcare Employees
Healthcare franchise owners, more than any other franchise owner, rely on quality employees to ensure they retain their license to practice. Unlike fast food joints, nursing homes have yearly inspections conducted by the Department of Health.
Inspectors observe and meet with employees and interview residents about the quality of care received. Due to the fact that it’s the staff that provides care to patients, ensuring you hire and retain highly skilled employees is imperative.
Failure to meet state and federal regulations could lead to the healthcare facility being banned from admitting new patients, losing their license to practice, losing their right to participate in Federal Medicare and State Medicaid programs, or needing to pay monetary fines.
As management or an owner of a healthcare franchise, you can’t afford to think of employees as low skilled, worker monkeys that are interchangeable.
Geographically Competitive Wage
While salary isn’t the most important factor, it can influence whether or not an employee either leaves the profession or your company for a competitor. In order to be competitive, management can check with other similar healthcare facilities to see what they’re paying their employees.
Don’t just monitor the salary trends for the local healthcare industry; you should also keep an eye on the starting wages for other low-skill jobs in the area. Texas nursing homes, for example, are currently losing their nursing staff to McDonalds of all places due to the fact that some Texas McDonald’s have a starting wage of $12 to $13 an hour.
Ensuring staff safety is an important aspect of maintaining a productive and stable workforce. Managers and business owners need to realize that the healthcare industry suffers almost twice as many workplace injuries as other private industries. A 2013, press release by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reported that for every 100 employees, there were 6.4 work-related injuries and illnesses.
Every injury or illness experienced by staff costs the company money. For one, the company now has one less individual to fill shifts. And depending on the severity of the injury, the staffing issue could linger days, weeks, or months.
In the short-term, the individual in charge of staffing will need to spend time finding someone to fill the injured nurses or certified nursing assistant shifts, which could either lead to some employees working overtime or necessitate the use of a staffing agency.
If the injury is a serious one, you might need to hire another employee to replace the injured employee temporarily. And then when the injured employee returns to work, you might have an over-staffing problem.
You can decrease the chances of employee injuries by:
- Setting strict safety standards and procedures.
- Investing in seminars and classes meant to help nurses learn the safe way to conduct certain portions of their job without injury.
- Purchasing medical equipment like patient lifts and swings designed to prevent strain caused by lifting 100 to 400-pound patients.
Healthcare employees are an essential ingredient in any lucrative healthcare franchise. They can either lead the company to incredible success or a fiery failure. I would recommend that any healthcare manager regularly evaluate how their staff functions, what the employees think about the company, and any potential dangers to staff retention.
photo credit: College of New Caledonia student Jordan Harris prepares for her nursing future via photopin (license)