Ask Joe: Kellye Laughery wants to know how to attract and retain top clinicians | PoP Bonus

Image of Joe Sanok is captured. On this therapist podcast, podcaster, consultant and author, talks about how to attract and retain top clinicians.

How do you attract top-quality clinicians to your practice? How does the culture of your practice influence your hiring process? What are the benefits of remaining in constant communication with your staff?

In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok answers Kellye Laughery’s question: how do you attract and retain top clinicians?

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In This Podcast

  • Stay on top of your game
  • Attracting clinicians
  • The culture of your practice
  • Stay in communication with your staff

Stay on top of your game

The world of business moves fast as innovation develops, so things are changing all the time in the hiring world.

It’s a game [where] you are constantly testing your unique market. You’re testing what’s working. You’re making sure you’re communicating with your own current staff. (Joe Sanok)

Set aside time each month to see where you can improve in your hiring process. Can you change the questions? Are you marketing to the correct niche?

Attracting clinicians

Put yourself in the shoes of a clinician who you would like to hire. These clinicians will fall into different categories, such as:

  • Clinicians who want to work full-time
  • Clinicians who want to work part-time
  • Clinicians who want to be W2 or 1099

Find clinicians who are in it for the long haul and are not thinking about starting a practice any time soon.

Some long-tail things you can do is see if there is a local master’s program [and create] relationships with those professors so that you can speak [in their lectures]. [That Way], a few years before these folks graduate they think of you as having the clinic that’s one of the more premier clinics. (Joe Sanok)

The culture of your practice

You can attract – or repel – different clinicians through the culture of your practice.

If you have set your business up as a close-knit group of professionals who spend time together between sessions and are more integrated, that can attract some clinicians.

You can also set your practice up as a work-only space where there is minimal non-work-related contact between clinicians, and that will attract different clinicians.

Stay in communication with your staff

Regularly ask your existing staff:

  • What do you love doing that you are doing right now?
  • What do you hate doing that you wish we could take off your plate?
  • Where do you see yourself growing into something new?

Your openness and availability as the owner to let your staff come to you and express their needs will make your practice more attractive to high-quality clinicians. It will also attract professionals who value autonomy and agency.

Books mentioned in this episode:

Sally Hogshead – Fascinate: How to Make Your Brand Impossible to Resist

Useful Links mentioned in this episode:

Check out these additional resources:

Meet Joe Sanok

A photo of Joe Sanok is displayed. Joe, private practice consultant, offers helpful advice for group practice owners to grow their private practice. His therapist podcast, Practice of the Practice, offers this advice.

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

Thanks For Listening!

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Podcast Transcription

[JOE SANOK] This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok, bonus episode.

Well, welcome to this bonus episode. I am so excited to have you here. We are talking about big time issues and actually for a little bit here, we’re going to be doing four episodes a week. Gusto has come back on as a sponsor. Gusto is the best payroll solution out there. It’s who we use with Practice of the Practice over at You can get your free months there. But so excited that they came on. So we’re adding a fourth episode each week because of them and because you all have all these questions. So why not?

So today’s question comes from Kellye Laughery. Laughery, I think that’s how she spelled it phone phonetically, Laughery, from the Center for Family Unity in San Diego, California, where I spent winter of 2021, not at the Center for Family Unity, but in the San Diego area. Kellye’s question is about how to obtain and retain top clinicians, how to retain, obtain, and retain top clinicians. This is such a great question right now because it’s sort of like in the IT world, how there’s hackers who are always ahead of those that are stopping the hacking and then they stop it. There’s always this like push and pull.

And I see this like people trying to game Google and then Google catches on. So the things that work, I think if we just start with it, there’s not going to be one solution that always works. So you’ve got to stay on your game. Things are changing all the time in the hiring world. 5, 10 years ago it was, I remember everybody was looking for a job that was a clinician. They were getting paid 15 bucks an hour coming out of grad school at this crisis center locally. It just was like really, really tough and now it seems like it’s flipped where employers, it’s really hard to find employers or find employees for employers.

So let’s just start with that, that it’s a game, that you’re constantly testing your unique market. You’re testing, what’s working, you’re making sure you’re communicating with your own current staff. But there are some things that I think are good guiding principles when we’re thinking about both finding and attracting top talent and then retaining them.

So let’s start with the attraction side. Put yourself in someone’s shoes that maybe they don’t want to start a practice. They may be fresh out of grad school, they may not. They may want a side gig, they may not. The people are going to fall into a couple different categories. Some are going to say, I want to dip my toes in private practice and maybe do that full-time or some people are going to say I just kind of want a Moonlight, make some extra money on the side. I don’t want to think about a practice. There’s other folks that it may be a long term solution to leave their full-time job. We don’t know what people’s specific motivations are.

So for you to find who are the type of people you want to hire, probably not people that want to grow their own private practice. Those type of people is going to be pretty hard to retain them for very long because they’re going to go and start their own thing. So you want to find people that most likely are in it for the long haul with you, if possible. So some kind of long tail things that you can do is if there’s a local master’s program or one that’s pretty close to have relationships with those professors so that you can be speaking in there, so that a few years before these folks graduate, they think of you as having the clinic that’s one of or premier clinics.

Some folks find it helpful to bring on interns. If you’re a private pay practice that can be really hard because you have an intern that’s seeing a bunch of people for free and then they have to switch over to being private pay. But maybe if you take insurance, that could be part of the model as well. In regards to attracting them, finding what kind of culture you want to build? So do you want it to feel like this family culture, where everyone is at barbecues together, they’re great friends, they connect or is it more they show up, they do the work, they go home? It really depends on what kind of culture you want.

Then a lot of people think that it’s always about the money but really that security, the having good benefits is part of it. Being able to help people rise up in leadership within that practice, having their ideas be valued, having autonomy, being able to develop and grow things, those are all things that people really value in a number of different ways. So you want to make sure you think through those things and are serving your current staff as well. So that’s the other thing that you’ll want to do on a regular basis.

One thing that I ask the Practice of the Practice staff on a regular basis, and now is just a part of our conversations is what do you love doing that you’re doing right now? What do you hate doing that you would wish we could take off of your plate and where do you see yourself growing into something new? I think about Sam C who started out doing just visual design, and then she helped us put out a magazine and then got video editing training, and then social media management training and YouTube video promotion. So now we have all these different things that we off for our consulting clients that are kind of behind the scenes all because people have said, this is something that I would want to do that I would want to grow within Practice of the practice.

So having that autonomy is not always just about the paycheck. It’s about kind of the life they get to live as a result of working with you and for you. As well there are creative ways that you can add different bonus structures, that you can have different ways that you can take them out to eat once or twice a year to celebrate when you have really good months. Find ways for them to have a voice.

A few tools that I found really helpful is, Sally Hogshead’s book, How to Fascinate, they have an assessment in there that I had my whole team go through when I owned Mental Wellness Counseling. That gave me some tremendous insight into how people think. Using things like the Enneagram or other things like that can be really helpful.

Then I would say, make sure that you’re happy. Make sure outside of the practice you’re doing your best to make your relationship strong, to grow into the person you want to be. You’re going to bring whatever stress or happiness you have outside of work into the workplace. So the more that you can be learning about being a good leader, about being a good boss, a good manager, about letting go of things instead of talking about your practice as your baby, think of it as it’s a business project. It’s not your baby. You don’t need to like wrap all those emotions into it.

So the more that you can be healthy and grounded in doing things outside of the business, that sets the tone for the business. Because if you’re always there, if you’re always coming down on people or telling them where they came up short, they’re going to do things different than you. They’re going to up with different solutions. So the more that you can let that go the easier it’s going to be for them to thrive in their own. Whenever you hand something off there will be bumps and having that ongoing feedback is good, but there also needs to be that stepping back and letting people design it in the way that they want.

Whenever we have a new project for example, moving away from a certain email service provider I let the team decide how they want to make that happen. What’s the process going to be? How can I get out of their way? How can I support them so that then it’s easier for them to implement it, but it’s also easier for them to teach it. So giving people that autonomy and having them come to you when they then need help, to me, that’s some of the best advice I can give you for attracting top talent and for retaining that top talent; because that reputation it’s going to be in the community, people are going to hear that you’re a great person to work for. It’s a lot of fun. They have that autonomy, they make good money, all those things, if you work together as strong as you can.

We’d love to hear your comments too, on social media. Feel free to share them with me. We’re going to be posting some of these audiograms on Instagram. Feel free to share it there.

We are so excited to have Gusto as a sponsor. Gusto is all-in-one HR platform, is a game changer for growing businesses. From full service payroll and benefits to team management tools and more, Gusto makes it easy to support your employees from day one to day 1000. Get three months totally free when you sign up over at, Gusto is what we use at Practice of the Practice and I recommend you use it too.

Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music. We really like it. And this podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. This is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.

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