The Hiring Advantages of Community Pharmacies


Even with today’s high unemployment rates, most businesses are still experiencing challenges hiring good people. Community pharmacies are no different. Independent pharmacies are constantly competing with chains in hiring pharmacists and technicians, and are competing with other local businesses for hourly employees. Chains have strong brand names and opportunities for advancement, and often offer compelling salaries and benefits.

But, like other small businesses, community pharmacies have significant competitive advantages. It is important for owners of independent pharmacies to understand and leverage these advantages during the hiring process. Important advantages include:

  • Greater flexibility. A distinct advantage of community pharmacies and other small businesses is the ability to offer employees greater flexibility, which some surveys indicate is what many employees most want from an employer. Flexibility might entail flexible hours, job diversity, or a flexible career path. In contrast to large companies, community pharmacies can tailor a job, benefits, and hours to meet a person’s specific needs.

A survey from American Express Small Business Monitor found that flexible work hours, independence, career development opportunities, and a dynamic business culture were more important in attracting talent than profit sharing, higher pay, and comprehensive benefits.

  • The ability to make a difference. Community pharmacies have less bureaucracy than a large organization. A result is that each person can have a direct relationship with the owner and everyone’s ideas can be heard and acted on. Most people want independence and freedom; they want to be creative and share ideas that can make a difference. In a community pharmacy, each person has the opportunity to make a tangible difference to customers and to the business. Having a sense of purpose and feeling like a valued contributor is often lost in large organizations.
  • Job breadth. In large organizations, people often have very narrowly defined jobs. But in smaller businesses and community pharmacies, people can wear many hats, work in many roles, and learn a diversity of skills. For many people, this is far more appealing.
  • Customer interaction. High levels of service and personal relationships with customers from the community are what typically distinguish a community pharmacy. For individuals who enjoy interacting with customers, particularly to help improve their health, working at a community pharmacy can be a great fit.
  • A family-like culture. Many community pharmacies have very low turnover rates and long-tenured employees because the owner creates a culture that feels like a family. Employees feel like they belong and are cared about. They love being part of the organization.

Pharmacy owners need to be aware of these competitive advantages and leverage them when attracting new employees. Appealing to individuals’ desire for flexibility, job variety, and an inclusive culture can counter the advantages of large organizations and can attract great people into community pharmacies.