CP: Nothing good can come from this.
UT: From what?
CP: High turnover.
UT: I know. We are in an endless cycle of hire, onboard, train, destroy life, replace, hire. . .
CP: What is the average number of years of experience of the technicians in your store?
UT: Less than 5 years.
CP: When I started, and even 10 years ago, there was nearly always an average of greater than 5 years; often it was over 10 years. Today, I have worked stores where the average is less than 2 years. They aren't the exception. I asked myself this question regarding pharmacy staff:
Q: What hiring/scheduling issues currently affect retail pharmacy?
A: High turnover.
A: Lack of training
A: Overuse of cross-trained front end help.
A: Expensive to hire and train constantly.
A: Lack of experience.
UT: What's wrong with FE help?
CP: It's not reflected in our payroll.
UT: How so?
CP: Let's say we are given 150 hours of tech help each week. However, due to demands far exceeding what corporate allows us to budget, we need to borrow FE employees daily. My last two stores used an average of 30 hours per week of this help to cover breaks, short staffing, drive-thru line(s), pickup lines, and to triage the phones.
UT: That's almost a full time person.
CP: True. But made up of multiple people over several days. The problem is these 30 hours were not reflected in my payroll. Corporate thinks I used my 150 hours of tech budget and the FE used their budget. They have no way of knowing I borrowed 30 of their hours.
UT: How is this bad?
CP: Corporate then pats itself on the back for making budget because they see the work is getting completed. "Hooray" they tell themselves. They also proclaim that, if we could do the work with 150 hours, we could probably do it with fewer. Guess what happens? They cut the budget even lower. Now it's 130 hours per week. Guess what? We still use the same 30 FE hours, or possibly more. Overall, we still come in under the original 150 + 30 we were using so they view it as a win-win.
Now my techs aren't getting their hours and because they are often alone and overworked, because the FE people can't process or fix the billing on prescriptions, they quit.
Now the FE people transfer to the pharmacy. (Or we have to hire and train new people with zero experience.)
They don't get adequate training. Apparently the thinking is that simply being exposed to the environment is training enough for them; like ingesting little doses per day of poison will make you immune.
Hire new FE people who expect to cashier but then are asked to float to the pharmacy when they need help.
UT: And let me guess, we can equate this lack of experience with prescription errors, low satisfactions scores, failing metrics, and an overall negative opinion of retail pharmacy in general.
CP: You're starting to sound just like me.
UT: Well we have worked together for some time.
CP: That's because we can't get anyone to stay.
UT: It's kinda like Resident Season in the hospitals. Don't go there during June or July when the new ones start.
CP: Yeah, except our turnover is constant. There is no "season"; it's an ongoing cycle.
UT: Like the cicadas.
CP: The tension mounts, on with the Body Count.