Five Steps to Reduce Your Pharmacy Staffing Risks

October 18, 2018

Back in 2000, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) warned Congress that the nation was headed for a serious shortage of pharmacists. An aging population, more prescriptions, the expanding role of pharmacists, and Medicare expansion were some of the factors cited for the coming crisis.

Luckily for communities across the country, that dire shortage never materialized. More accredited pharmacy colleges started springing up and the pool of newly minted pharmacists has continued to grow. And why not? According to U.S. News and World Report, it’s in the top 20 best paying jobs.

With all this available manpower, it should be a piece of cake to find the perfect pharmacists and technicians, right? Not necessarily.

Even though there are more pharmacy colleges cranking out more pharmacists than ever, employers are still having trouble filling open positions in some states, and many still struggle to attract, hire, and retain the ideal staff. And all employers are afraid of making a bad judgment call on a hire. Because whether it’s due to a personality mismatch or something more serious, replacing an employee is costly. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates the cost at one-third to one-half of that employee’s pay and benefits. Then there’s the lost time and productivity, training and orientation, strained employee morale, and other “hidden” costs. And don’t forget the exposure to employment practices liability claims and other legal landmines.

Take command of your pharmacy staffing risks with these five crucial steps.

  1. Clearly define the position. Before the hiring process gets out of the gate, make sure you have complete information about the position including a detailed job description outlining the duties, responsibilities, required skills and experience, minimum education, behavioral characteristics, and work environment. Be sure to include any legal requirements such as licensures and certifications.

  2. Screen thoroughly, interview thoughtfully. Start with pre-screening phone interviews to get a feel for each applicant’s interest in and suitability for the job. For those that make it to the interview process, thoroughly review resumes, cover letters, job applications, and other documentation. Conduct thorough background checks including work references, academic records, educational credentials, and criminal history. Then conduct a thought-provoking interview to separate the best candidates from the average ones.

  3. Verify all licensing. For all pharmacist and technician positions, always ask to see the applicant’s original professional license, driver’s license, and Social Security card, not copies. Check the Board of Pharmacy website to verify that the applicant’s license information matches the professional license, including name, address, license number, and expiration date.

  4. Offer a robust benefits package. It’s vital to provide a competitive benefits package to retain your superstars and attract new ones. In addition to offering retirement and health benefits, consider offering the smaller perks such as dental and vision, flex time, fitness memberships, or reimbursement for continuing education.

  5. Train a safe workforce. One way to keep good employees around is to provide a safe work environment. That includes thorough and ongoing safety training to keep everyone on top of work hazards. Also, it’s not enough to have a safety manual that nobody looks at. Everyone on your team needs to read, understand, and sign off on all safety standards. Don’t compromise on this one. After all, if you want to attract the best talent, you need to be known as a company that takes care of its employees.

Speaking of safety, did you know a safety manual can save you 10 percent on your workers’ compensation insurance premiums?

To find out how, contact Steve Boone with the Heffernan Insurance Pharmacy Business Insurance division today!