How to Build Your Company Brand by Hiring for Culture and Engagement

It’s estimated that there will be 20,000 job openings for audiologists in the U.S. by 2028. Unfortunately, there are not enough licensed professionals in the field, audiology programs in the U.S., or students in those programs to keep up with accelerating demand. In fact, there may be more audiologists retiring from the profession over the next decade than entering it.

When you take this dearth of providers and factor in the cost of hiring new employees (an average of $4,000+ per hire), the cost of employee churn (fees paid, human capital involved with the onboarding process, downtime to train), and the damage done to your staff morale and patients’ perception of your practice, the price of failure becomes quite clear.

Ultimately, for your business to be successful, you need to be competitive in identifying, attracting, and hiring top talent. If you don’t hire the best people, your competitors will—it’s a zero-sum game. The upside is that when you get it right and hire the best, you’ll be in a great position to develop the culture you need to take your practice to the next level and become an “Employer of Choice” in the hearing healthcare field.

Hiring for Attitude & Culture

Your “brand” is who you are. It’s reflected to the outside world through the prism of your practice culture. It’s how your community, patients, employees, and competitors perceive you. For better or worse, it’s best reflected by the team you’ve assembled. The good news is that this is all within your control. Should you desire a different culture, a better brand, you can create it. And you do that by hiring the right people.

To define “the right people” in the context of hiring, we should start by reviewing the difference between skills and traits: skills are relatively easy to teach or develop while traits are very difficult to teach or develop. Now consider how you vet and weigh skills and traits when making hiring decisions. Why are skills so important to you and could traits be even more important? Remember: the traits of your employees will rarely change, the collection of traits across your entire staff is your culture, and your culture is what defines your brand.

Researcher Mark Murphy’s three-year “Hiring for Attitude” study of 20,000 new hires at over 300 organizations showed that most “misses” (bad hires) are not due to issues of technical competence (lacking skills), but rather issues around attitude, attributes, and emotional intelligence (traits). Of the 9,200 new hires that failed, the vast majority—81 percent—failed because they didn’t have the right traits for the job, resulting in poor cultural alignment to the organization.

This shouldn’t be a surprise since skills are relatively easy to vet. Did you ever hire an audiologist who didn’t work out? Did they have the skills for the job? Or was it something else that led to their failure—attitude, work ethic, emotional intelligence (EQ)? You need to identify which traits are most important to your organization’s culture and then vet for them during the interview process.

This is my own personal list (feel free to make it yours!):

  • Work ethic
  • Coachability
  • Empathy (EQ)
  • Respect
  • Self-awareness (EQ)
  • Positivity
  • Passion
  • Energy

It’s not always easy to resist the urge to overvalue skills due to cognitive biases at play. Those same biases can also cause us to minimize the importance of traits when we make hiring decisions. Have you ever described your ideal candidate to a recruiter as someone who can “hit the ground running” because they “have all the required skills” or, one of my favorites, “requires little supervision because I don’t have time to manage them?

I’ve heard these kinds of statements a lot in my 20+ years as a professional recruiter. And when I do, I know that it says far more about the hiring manager and the organization’s culture than about the candidate they’re seeking. If you have a sound grasp of what’s teachable and are willing to teach it, you’ll stand a much greater chance of hiring the right people and building your best culture. While it may seem like an arduous task to build skills in an employee, remember that it’s almost impossible to build or change traits, attributes, or attitudes.

Building & Maintaining Your Culture

As an owner or practice manager, don’t forget that you play a very important role in building and maintaining your desired workplace culture—you’re required to lead! Be mindful of how you carry yourself and how you interact with your staff and patients. All of your actions and behaviors matter. These are the behaviors that effective leaders exhibit:

  • Exude unerring positivity
  • Communicate with utmost clarity
  • Possess a clear vision and work tirelessly to gain alignment to that vision
  • Listen with compassion and empathy
  • Build trusting relationships with words and actions
  • Express gratitude

You should intentionally engage in these actions, behaviors, and attitudes every day. Great leadership is not accidental!

Becoming and ‘Employer of Choice’

You’ve hired all the right people, they’re all highly engaged, and finally, you have the culture you’ve always wanted and known you deserved. Congratulations! All that’s left to do is maintain the culture you’ve worked so hard to build and solidify yourself as an “Employer of Choice.”

The best way to do this is to first, identify your “brand champions” (i.e., the best of the best, the most engaged of all the engaged). They’re easy to find. Simply look for employees who:

  1. genuinely enjoy their job/don’t just do it for the money,
  2. look for opportunities to mentor, and
  3. demonstrate the behaviors of leaders (see above)

Second, give them additional responsibilities! Any good leader loves a good challenge. When you give these employees opportunities to mentor, encourage them to evangelize your practice through social media, community groups, and professional associations, and hold them accountable, they will value themselves even more, and then they will thrive.

Conclusion

Creating a great culture, one that emphasizes growth and development, will demonstrate your organization’s value to candidates. When you offer opportunities to learn and grow, when you can site real-life examples of employee development, and when you can identify an evangelist within your organization who can speak to your culture of growth, you will then be in a great position to attract additional, like-minded employees.

Practices that utilize Consult’s industry-leading human resources consulting and staffing solutions see incremental increases in revenue and the highest levels of measurable engagement. That’s because our experienced recruiters vet candidates for the highest skill level as well as aligned cultural fit.

About the Author

Ernie Paolini is responsible for Human Resources and Recruiting Services at Consult YHN. He has more than 20 years of experience in building and managing technology-driven HR and recruitment organizations. His areas of expertise include behavioral interviewing, employee relations, compliance, and onboarding.

Your Biggest Health Fair Questions Answered

Here I am at a senior health fair a few years ago as my amazing coworkers talk to potential patients and perform otoscopy. See, I’m smiling—nothing to be scared of!

Health fairs are an excellent opportunity to connect with your community, educate consumers about hearing loss and hearing aids, promote your business, and drive new patients in the door.

However, understandably, many practice owners and providers find the idea of standing in a crowded room, starting conversations with strangers, and asking for their business to be intimidating – some might even say terrifying.

But, fear not—I’m here to help make your next health fair or community outreach event a little more fun and a lot more successful.

Here are answers to several of your most plaguing health fair-related questions as well as some helpful tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years.

Q: How do I find out about health fairs and other senior events in my area?

A: There are plenty of ways to do this, but here are three that I’ve had the most luck with:

1. Google “senior health fairs near me.” This might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised just how many events there are going on around you all the time. You may also be surprised to learn how many senior organizations there are in your area—home healthcare companies, community centers, services for the aging, etc.

2. Check your local newspaper and its website – Organizations that host seniors events know that many Baby Boomers still read the newspaper and therefore, advertise in the events section. Most newspapers also allow people to post events online for free.

3. Check your local hospitals – If they don’t have an Audiology or Speech Therapy Department, that could be your in. Hospitals have open houses and other events and if they need a hearing provider, you could make a great connection.

 

INSIDER TIP: Don’t ignore events that have passed—they can be a goldmine. If you come across an event from the previous year, reach out to the coordinators. Sometimes they already know when and where this year’s event will be held and can add you to their contact list so that you know when the event opens for vendors.
Q: Should I do video otoscopy?
A: If you can, go for it! Explain to the patient that this is the first step of the hearing exam and invite him/her to your office for the other two steps. Have a printed copy of your schedule so that you can see what dates and times you have available for appointments and book them on the spot. Don’t take an iPad or laptop—you only have a short window of time with each person and you don’t want to waste it inputting his/her information. Also, you don’t want to rely on the venue’s Wi-Fi.
Q: Should I offer free hearing screenings on site?

A: Absolutely not. This is a big no-no for many reasons, starting with the fact that there usually isn’t a space that’s quiet enough to conduct hearing screenings at a health fair. More importantly, it defeats the purpose of attending these types of events which is to grow your database, establish relationships with members of your community, and attract new patients. Why give the milk away for free?


INSIDER TIP: Even if you can’t attend a health fair as a vendor, check it out anyway and bring a stack of business cards with you. Talk to the vendors that are at the event. Network. Mingle. Have fun. Find out what events they’re going to next. Perhaps one is worth keeping on your radar.
Q: What should I bring?

A: Here are five absolute essentials:

1. Information about your practice – business cards, brochures, etc. .

2. Educational materials – picture of an ear, hearing health articles, handouts they can take home, etc. Consult’s MarketSource has a large selection of collateral to choose from.

3. Directions to your office – seniors who have hearing loss usually also have poor vision. So, make sure your message is clear and the font is BIG. And don’t get them lost!

4. Appointment sheets for the next 2 weeks – I can’t stress this enough. Paper is your friend.

5. Giveaways – such as pens and notepads with your logo and practice information.

Q: How do I stand out from all the other vendors?

A: This is one of the most important questions you should ask yourself. And one of the best things you can do is to engage everyone who walks by your table—don’t just sit there and wait for them to stop and show interest. Make your table pop with a colorful tablecloth, preferably one with your practice name/logo on it. And lastly, a little bribery can go a long way—as in free candy, water, or snacks.


INSIDER TIP: When talking with individuals who were in the military, thank them for their service, ask when they were discharged, then respond, “I’m guessing that’s the last time you had your hearing checked.” Anyone who is discharged from the military must have a hearing test and for most, it’s the last one they’ve had.
Q: What should I say to people when they’re at my table?
A: Start by asking when they last had their hearing checked or if they have their hearing tested every year. Once you get people talking, see if they have a history of hearing loss or have ever worn hearing aids. Educate them on the importance of having an annual hearing evaluation. Deliver your “why.” Talk to them about your practice and why they should choose you over another provider. Remember: you have less than five minutes to leave a lasting impression on that person before he/she moves onto the next table.
Q: What’s the best way to handle any appointments that I book during the event?

A: Track your results. Create a spreadsheet listing all the pertinent patient information, including each person’s appointment date and time. Update the spreadsheet every morning for each patient:

  • Did the patient get tested?
  • Did the patient have a hearing loss?
  • Was amplification purchased? If so, what type of hearing aid and how much?
  • Was it a no-call, no-show? Pick up the phone and call the patient to reschedule—don’t wait for him/her to reach out.

 

INSIDER TIP: Since you’ve already established a relationship with these patients, call to confirm their appointments the day before to ensure they feel comfortable and know where your office is located. Additionally, confirm they are bringing a Third Party to the appointment. If a patient’s appointment is four or more days out, send him/her a reminder postcard with a handwritten note: “Nice to meet you at the health fair – see you Tuesday!”

Hopefully, I answered all your questions. If you have any others, don’t hesitate to ask your Account Manager or shoot me an email: JGesuale@ConsultYHN.com.

About the Author

Julie Gesuale joined Consult YHN in 2010 and currently serves as an Assistant Account Manager in the company’s Hospital and University Division. Her diverse professional background includes customer service, marketing, and project management. When not working, Julie enjoys spending time with her wife of 15 years and her two rescue dogs, Sheldon and Leonard. She’s also been singing in church and community choirs for over 25 years.

6 Steps for Hosting a Successful Lunch & Learn

Getting out into the community is one of the best ways to connect with the public, deliver your “why,” and remind people how important hearing is to their quality life. It can be intimidating though—leaving your office, patients, and staff behind to go out into the community and solicit new patients. But I can tell you from experience, once you complete your first community event and you sell your first set of hearing aids from it, you’ll be eager for the next one.

Now, I’m sure you have lots of questions. I led numerous events as the marketing director of a private practice and I, too, had similar questions. How do you plan an entire event that people will actually want to attend? How do you convey your message when people walk up to your table and all they really want is the free candy or to win the raffle prize? How do you build trust with new patients?

So, let’s break down the process and make it easier for you to launch your first event. A Lunch & Learn, also known as a Lunch & Listen, is exactly what it sounds like: you advertise and invite potential patients to join you for an hour or so, impart your wisdom, provide lunch, and voilà!

OK, maybe it’s not that simple, but here are six key steps to planning and running a successful Lunch & Learn:

Step 1: Determine the when and where.

Choose a date approximately six weeks out—you’ll need all that time to prepare. Find a place that’s quiet or has a private space, like a restaurant or a clubhouse. Fun tip: most of the time, a “senior” lunch menu is less expensive, but some practices like to go all out and will book a local steakhouse. You should do what makes the most sense for your vision and budget. 

Step 2: Create your guest list.

Anywhere between 10-20 is the ideal number of guests. Pulling patients from your existing database that are out of warranty or tested devices and never purchased is the best place to start. Second, target new patients through direct mail, print ads or digital marketing. Talk to a Consult YHN Account Manager for more details. And, be sure to include your website and your social media profiles on your invitation.

Step 3: Identify your goal and craft your message.

You want to keep your message short and to the point. If you’re able to confidently talk to an audience with only a list of bullet points, go for it. It’s more natural and creates a better overall experience for the audience. If not, use a PowerPoint presentation to help frame your message and guide your recital. Create your own or ask your Account Manager to send you one of Consult YHN’s sample PPT presentations. Either way, you should consider supporting your message with media or pictures, like showing a video that showcases people getting fitted for hearing aids and their reflections on how life is better with these devices.

Remember: you want to tell a story. Illustrate how hearing aids improve a person’s quality of life. It’s much more compelling than just listing off a bunch of facts and statistics.

Step 4: Invite your guests.

Once your mailer or invitation goes out, work with Your Patient Contact Center (YPCC) to personally invite guests. YPCC’s highly-trained patient communication representatives will call your database and encourage them to attend: “We sent you a personal invitation for an informative Lunch & Learn event we’re hosting, and we’d love to add your name to the guest list before it fills up … you’re free on Thursday at noon to join us, right?” A personal call goes a long way and can build up your RSVP list.

Step 5: Gather your supplies.

There are a few key things you want to make sure you have for the event:

  • Practice giveaways are always a hit, plus you want your name and number on everything you hand out so that it goes home with your guests.
  • Hearing health articles for attendees to read while they wait for the seminar to begin and to take home. Consult’s MarketSource has several informative handouts about the correlation between hearing loss and other diseases such as dementia/Alzheimer’s, a topic that many seniors don’t know much about. These should also have your practice’s information on them.
  • Appointment sheets for the next 2 weeks. Don’t take an iPad or laptop—you only have a short window of time with guests and you don’t want to waste it inputting their information into your laptop. Manually schedule appointments and enter patients’ information into your practice management software once you are back in the office.
  • A sign-in sheet. If someone RSVP’d but did not attend, call them the next day and invite them in for a personal hearing consultation—they are still a potential patient.
  • A survey so you can track your results and make sure that what you’re doing is effective.
  • A screen and projector if you are going to use a PowerPoint presentation or show a video and your venue doesn’t have one.

Step 6: Track your appointments.

The tracking work for any community outreach event is as critical as the content in your presentation. Running a report from your system is great and will tell you total number of hearing aids sold, revenue, etc. But consider the patients who booked an appointment and canceled? Or a no-call, no-show appointment? These appointments can make or break an event. Create a spreadsheet with the below information and review it every day, making notes on the following items:

  • When is his/her appointment scheduled?
  • What happened during the appointment? Hearing aid sale? For how much?
  • Did they miss the appointment and a call needs to be made to get them back on the schedule?

Tracking can seem tedious, but if you make it apart of your daily routine, it will become second nature and once you see the benefits of tracking your results, you’ll appreciate the effort.

So, there you have it, folks!

Becoming a staple in your community and sharing your knowledge on how to improve people’s quality of life can be rewarding if you dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s beforehand.

And if you still have any questions about planning a Lunch & Learn or other community event, you can always reach out to your Consult YHN Account Manager for guidance.

About the Author

Julie Gesuale joined Consult YHN in 2010 and currently serves as an Assistant Account Manager in the company’s Hospital and University Division. Her diverse professional background includes customer service, marketing, and project management. When not working, Julie enjoys spending time with her wife of 15 years and her two rescue dogs, Sheldon and Leonard. She’s also been singing in church and community choirs for over 25 years.

Adding video to your marketing strategy just got easier with this easy to follow guide

A few months ago I wrote about the importance of video in your marketing strategy. There was a time not that long ago when shooting video required expensive equipment and hiring a specialist. Not anymore. Shooting video has never been easier and you have everything you need in your cell phone!

Chances are, you’ve already shot video with your phone, so you know how to access your phone’s video capabilities. Whether you’re shooting an owner or audiologist promoting a practice or a happy patient for a quick testimonial, here are a few tips to guide through the process.

The Basics

Ideally, you’re looking for 60-90 seconds per video without the use of a script. Anything longer and the speaker might get sidetracked and lost in thought. Make it look and feel natural. If you want to promote your practice and have a lot to say, consider breaking it up into a few videos, each on a certain aspect of why your practice excels or services you offer. If you have a testimonial, speak with that person first to see what they have to say as a short rehearsal, then give them the cue or prompt them with a question and hit record.

Location

You’ll need a quiet, well-lit room. It doesn’t have to be the nicest room in the office, but a nice neutral wall works best as the background. If you have elegant posters or works of art that you think will look good as the background, then have them stand in front of them. Make sure the room is free from the usual office noise (ringing phones, lobby television, office chatter, etc.) and foot traffic.

Camera Settings

You can use your camera’s default settings or have it in fully automatic if you follow these few basic rules:

  • Lighting: Lighting is key to video. A friend once told me that without lighting, it’s radio. Make sure the room where you’ll be shooting the video has plenty of light, preferably natural, indirect sunlight. Direct sunlight can wash your subject out and created harsh shadows. Under low light conditions, your video will appear too dark or, if the camera compensates for the lack of light, too grainy.
  • Sound: Capturing good sound is just as important as capturing good video. Believe it or not, bad audio is worse than bad video. Most viewers will tolerate poor video quality, but no one can stand poor audio no matter how clear the video is. Make sure you stay close to the subject and your hand is not covering the phone’s built-in microphone (a tiny hole located at the base of the phone).
  • Stabilize: Unless you’re using a tripod, you’’ll need to keep the camera as stable as possible. Hold the camera with both hands (still making sure you don’t cover the microphone) and keep elbows as close to your body as possible — maybe even rest them on your waist for added support. Keep the camera at eye level! Unless you’re shooting a sequel to the Blair Witch Project, you don’t want to point the camera up someone’s nose.
  • Focus: Press and hold an area of the shot (in this case, the face) to lock both exposure and focus.
  • Get close to the subject: First, this gets the microphone closer to the sound source. Second, it avoids having to zoom in to the subject. Zooming in can decrease the clarity of the video and intensifies any camera shake.
  • Composition: While the tendency is to hold your phone vertically, that is not the standard format for video. Keep your camera in the horizontal, landscape format. When composing your shot, don’t place the head right in the middle. Instead, place the head slightly above center and closer to the top. You want the eyes about a third way from the top.
  • Keep it simple: Avoid panning, zooming, and any other fancy moves or effects. Those will just distract from the subject.
  • Share: Once the video is done, simply share it to various social media outlets.

Like anything else, practice makes perfect. Take a few test shots, make the proper adjustments, and you’re all set!

About the Author

Rolando Corpus joined Consult YHN in 2011 and serves as Art Director. He has more than 12 years’ experience in graphic design, digital marketing, and video production. He received a bachelor of arts degree from St. Joseph's University and a master of arts degree from The University of Pennsylvania.

Video: A crucial component to your marketing strategy.

You’ve heard the adage “Content is king,” right? Content drives traffic to your website and increases your online presence.

So, who or what is the undisputed king of content? That can be answered in one word: Video.

Research shows that including video on your website is effective for marketing to your patients and prospects, as well as for tracking your marketing data. Here are a few reasons why video should be a part of your marketing strategy.

Video is engaging.

It’s easy to see why. Written text can feel clichéd and trite no matter how accurately it portrays you and your practice. Images are more compelling than text and the visual/auditory elements of video create a far more captivating experience. Video engages the viewer on a personal level and makes them more likely to remember you, your content, and your brand.

Speaking in front of a camera is not for everyone, however. Take me, for instance. I feel most at ease behind the camera. Flip the lens on me and I take on the personality of a rutabaga.

Thankfully, you are in the people business, selling a service and an experience. You interact with others all day. If you want to engage and make a personal connection, video is the closest thing to your daily, face-to-face conversations.

Video builds trust.

Any audiologist (or paid writer) can claim that “we offer the best care,” but only you can convey your uniqueness, credibility and sincerity. Only through video can you convey a true sense of who you are and what you’re like. Video captures your authenticity and differentiates you from the internet crowd.

The same holds true for patient testimonials. A 30-second video clip of a happy patient is far more effective than a well-crafted paragraph. It elicits emotional responses and makes a connection with your prospects.

Video has a wide reach.

Videos are multi-platform friendly. You can upload them on YouTube, post them on your website, and share them on all your social media outlets. Viewers, including third-party and referral sources, are more likely to share a video than a block of text with a relative or friend. A single video has the potential to reach hundreds (or thousands!) of patients and prospects.

Video is effective (and the research proves it).

If you’re still not convinced of the importance of video to the purchase process, consider these numbers:

  • 90 percent of users say that seeing a video is helpful in the decision-making process. (Forbes)
  • Retailers cite a 40 percent increase in purchases as a result of video. (Adobe)
  • Four times as many consumers prefer to watch a video than read text. (Animoto)
  • Four in five consumers say that video about a product or service is important. (Animoto)
  • Almost 50 percent of internet users look for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store. (ThinkWithGoogle)
  • Marketers who use video grow revenue 49 percent faster than non-video users. (VidYard)
  • Enjoyment of video ads increases purchase intent by 97 percent and brand association by 139 percent. (Unruly)
  • 80 percent of customers remember a video they’ve watched in the last month. (Hubspot)
  • By 2019, video will represent over 85 percent of all Internet traffic in the U.S. (Cisco)

If you’ve been working with our marketing team, then you know the importance of data behind your efforts. Here are a few more numbers that show how video can play an integral part in your marketing:

  • Video can increase landing page conversion rates by 86 percent. (WishPond)
  • Including video in an email increases click-through rate by 96 percent. (Forrester)
  • Content with video see 27 percent higher click-through rates. (VidYard)
  • Pages with videos are 50 times more likely to land on the first page of Google’s search results than text-based content. (PR Newswire)
  • 52 percent of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI. (HubSpot)

If you’re not incorporating video in your marketing strategy, you might want to reconsider.

About the Author

Rolando Corpus joined Consult YHN in 2011 and serves as Art Director. He has more than 12 years’ experience in graphic design, digital marketing, and video production. He received a bachelor of arts degree from St. Joseph's University and a master of arts degree from The University of Pennsylvania.