Employer of Choice: Port Medical Aesthetics

Who are you and what is your business?: My name is Dr Kristy Kostalas, and I’m the owner and CEO of Port Medical Aesthetics Clinic (PMAC), located in Port Macquarie.

Describe your core business: We offer a doctors-only cosmetic and aesthetic service – cosmetic injectibles and high-grade dermatological skin services. 

How would you define an excellent employer? Somebody who supports their employees’ work-life balance (to prevent burnout), encourages innovation and open communication (because I don’t think my ideas are any better than anybody else’s), as well as encouraging professional education. A good employer tries to make the best of each of their employee’s human potential.

In your organisation, what are some of the things you do that make you an employer of choice? I try to pay well – my staff are well remunerated which is one of the reasons why we have an incredibly low turnover. If you lose a staff member it should be because their life choices direct them away from the business, not because they are not getting paid enough. We put a lot of effort into team engagement – we all get along, we choose to spend time together, we have parties, we have numerous staff activities throughout the year including glamping, paintball, cocktail nights, and a big end of year celebration. The last couple of years we have used the charity platform we created called ToxTails – we throw a big party to raise money for Liberty Domestic Violence Specialist Services. My whole team helps to run it. Already in 2023 we have raised $45K. These kinds of activities are really good for staff morale and feeling of purpose, as well as enabling us to give back to the community. 

Why is it important to you that you are an excellent employer? Firstly, my philosophy as a human being is that whatever I do, should be the best that I can possibly do. I apply that maxim across the board, so of course I want to be the very best employer that I can be. Secondly, and more fundamentally, I value all the people who work with me, because their time is valuable and I’m so grateful they’ve chosen to spend it with me. Being a good employer is me repaying them and showing them that they are valued.

What have you learned along your journey to becoming an employer of choice? I’ve learned as an employer you cannot allow even a small amount of toxicity to exist in your company because it can poison your whole team. The minute I flag any kind of negative behaviour, I am extremely firm on my boundaries: our motto is kindness. I don’t want to hear anything that is not kind or helpful or constructive. Workplace culture comes from the top – I set the tone for kindness and generosity and I expect that back from my staff. 

Do you employ young people (under 25)? Do you consider you do that effectively? Why/Why not? I have found that young people require a huge amount of support and energy to succeed in the workplace. They gain a lot of depth of character and maturity being around the older members of staff, who teach them when things matter and when they don’t, what is important and what is not. Part of my lesson is that everyone has different levels of executive functioning and I need to be aware of that and to adjust my expectations to those differences. I do feel younger staff can sometimes be more prone to being overwhelmed and thus need more support. 

What is your advice to organisations that want to improve as an employer? My advice is to invest in your employees as human beings – get to know who they are and what they do with their time – what are their triggers, what’s their love language, how do people feel valued – because valued people are loyal people!  

What key trends do you see impacting your business in the next 5-10 years?

Short term: I think over the next two years there will continue to be a decrease in discretionary spending which will result in clearing out of smaller business models. 

Long term: It is projected that our industry will see a 30% increase over the next 10 years in Australia. Our industry is much more mainstream now because of changing demographics, acceptance of cosmetic procedures, and an increase in male clients. So basically it’s on the up and up!

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