Medical Reception Turnover High? Tips on Improving Retention in Your Practice

Medical Reception Turnover High? Tips on Improving Retention in Your Practice

Medical receptionists are the lifeblood of any practice, serving as patients’ first point of contact and impression. It is, therefore, alarming when high turnover rates are seen in this position. According to the National Healthcare Retention & RN Staffing Report, the annual turnover rate for the healthcare industry is at 20% or higher. In this blog post, we’ll examine why medical reception turnover is so high and provide tips on how to improve retention in your practice. 

Calculate Your Medical Reception Turnover Rate

The first step to improving medical receptionist retention is to ensure that you are indeed experiencing a high turnover rate. To do so, you need to calculate your turnover rate by dividing the number of employees who left during the year by the average total number of employees. If your medical reception turnover exceeds 20%, your turnover is higher than average, keeping in mind that the national average turnover is already considered high. You need to examine why that may be and take steps to improve retention. To calculate the staff turnover rate in your practice, divide the number of employee departures your practice has experienced in the last five years by the number of staff members you’ve employed over the last five years. Then, multiply that number by 100.

Assign Appropriately and Perform Tasks

In some cases, receptionists may feel undervalued and unappreciated because their assigned tasks are not challenging or aligned with their skills and abilities. However, if a medical receptionist is appointed to manage a task for which they are not trained and lack knowledge, it can quickly become overwhelming! As a practice manager, ensure that all functions are appropriately and equitably assigned and performed. Providing additional incentives and recognition, such as employee of the month, will also show appreciation to receptionists.

Hold Exit Interviews

Exit interviews are instrumental in finding out why your medical receptionist turnover rate is so high. Hold an open and honest conversation with departing staff, asking them why they are quitting and their views on their tenure at the practice. You can also ask them about their experience with managers, training, and any challenges they faced. This feedback can help you identify problem areas and take corrective measures to improve retention. Here are some example questions that can help you gain insight into your practice.

  • Were employees informed ahead of time about changes?

  • Did you feel in control of your workload?

  • Did management care how you really felt about your work?

  • Was management open and honest in dealing with employees?

  • Did management have the ability to solve major administrative problems?

  • Was more emphasis placed on the quality rather than the quantity of the work?

  • Did you have a clear understanding of what was expected of you?

  • Were employees eager to come to work most of the time?

  • Was the office environment between employees and physicians comfortable?

  • Name three things we could do to serve our employees better.

Ensure Thorough Training

Your practice should invest in training opportunities for all the employees, including medical receptionists. Ensuring thorough training in problem-solving, customer service, and communication skills is essential to give your receptionists the necessary tools for success. Ensure you incorporate ongoing training sessions to update your staff on new procedures and policies and refresh existing skills. Read our blog, 5 Medical Reception Best Practices.

Provide a Supportive Work Environment

Medical receptionist turnover can directly result from toxic work environments and lack of support. As a practice manager, it’s essential to foster a supportive work environment that staff can thrive in. Implementing employee assistance programs and offering support will help staff feel valued and respected in the workplace. Managers who are stressed often pass it on to subordinates unknowingly. Thus, ensuring the workload of managers and their staff is manageable should be a top priority.


Turnover can be a significant issue for any company, and medical practices are no exception. Retaining competent, motivated, and skilled medical receptionists is key to practice success. By calculating turnover rates, assigning appropriate and challenging work, holding exit interviews, providing thorough training, and ensuring a supportive environment, practice managers can improve retention and increase the longevity of their medical receptionist staff. Engaged and motivated medical reception staff will be an excellent foundation for a healthy and successful practice.

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