First, just a warning. I’m going to start off with a bit of a negative tone with this post. However, it comes from a place of caring… by fully understanding the impact that unwanted turnover can have on your practice, my hope is that you’ll be motivated to take the proper steps to address it. So let’s get past the negative realities and we’ll move on to the POSITIVE solutions!
Without a doubt. high turnover in your dental practice can have severe negative consequences. It can disrupt the continuity of patient care, erode trust, and damage your practice’s reputation. Frequent staff changes can lead to decreased productivity, as new hires require training and time to acclimate. Moreover, it’s costly, with recruitment and training expenses adding up. High turnover also affects employee morale, creating an atmosphere of instability and stress. Ultimately, it can compromise the quality of service, hinder practice growth, and make it challenging to build long-term patient relationships. OUCH!
To thrive, you must prioritize retention strategies and create a stable, supportive work environment. So what can you do about this?
Here are 5 steps you can take now to reduce the sting of unwanted turnover:
1. Provide strong and inspiring leadership
Poor leadership consistently tops the list of why employees leave. There seems to be a lot of truth in the saying that people don’t leave jobs — they leave their bosses.
We’ve all had the experience: you’re feeling a bit under the weather, the alarm rings, and you’re faced with a choice: struggle out of bed and make it into work against your best judgment — or stay put.
Your choice is often determined by your boss. You’re much more likely to stay in bed if you don’t give two hoots about him or her. So, unless you’re able to staff your practice with competent leaders, this mentality spreads across the entire organization. Are your leaders providing the support, guidance, and mentoring that employees look for?
Do they have the emotional intelligence and people management skills to really lead their team – or are they in a leadership position based purely on technical skills and experience?
It’s worth noting that it’s the perception of your employees that counts here. For example, you may think you have the greatest office manager on the planet, but if his/her team members are heading out the door in droves, it could be the first place to look.
2. Pay strict attention to employee needs
Unless you have a system of gathering employee feedback, you probably don’t understand the needs of your employees. You may think you do but in reality, it’s just guesswork.
An annual performance review is not going to cut it. Face-to-face meetings between leaders and employees need to be frequent, forward-looking, and based on constructive ideas for development; rather than infrequent, based on past performance, and only considering KPIs.
Unless there is an effective feedback system in place, you may never know when problems are brewing before it’s too late – and people start heading for the doors. In short, get closer to your employees.
3. Develop career paths and opportunities for growth
Unless you offer your employees a realistic opportunity of advancement, they will quickly try to find an organization that does. A perceived ‘dead end’ job with lack of opportunities for development is highly de-motivational and generally gets people looking around, sooner or later.
People want to grow and develop themselves — this is natural within all of us. Once you understand your employees’ goals, it’s important as leaders to help develop people and set them on the right path to achieve these goals. In professional terms, this means some sort of career path.
It’s considered unfashionable in some quarters to stay with a company for an entire career nowadays — and it’s true that ‘job hopping’ is much easier than it used to be. But many companies seem to encourage talent drain by not providing a compelling enough reason for employees to stay. People require direction, hope for the future, meaning in their work, recognition, opportunity, and challenge — these are all strong motivators.
4. Provide more flexibility
People are more aware than ever of the importance of their own wellbeing. They realize that sedentary lifestyles and stress contribute to a range of other factors in leading to poor health.
Many employees are looking for more flexible work arrangements that allow them to strike a better work-life balance. For some, this may mean leveraging technology to work from home one or more days per week. When this isn’t possible (for a hygienist, for example), offering alternate work schedules like a 4-day work-week might be valuable.
Rather than asking your employees to sacrifice personal needs to fulfil the requirements of the job, take a fresh look and see if there are ways you can design the job around changing lifestyles that are more mobile, flexible and geared towards healthy living.
5. Focus on improving your workplace culture
Do you promote a culture of recognition, accountability, engagement, transparency, reward, positivity, and success — or do your people cast envious glances towards the competition?
In some workplace cultures, the opposite dominates: silos develop and conflict, secrecy, fear, threat, and negativity all lead to de-motivation, which in turn leads to a decline in both performance and the employee experience of actually coming to work.
Your top team members naturally gravitate towards positivity and harmony and are unlikely to hang around in an environment they perceive as toxic or harmful to their growth.
Build teams that cultivate a positive culture through connectivity, empowerment, engagement, and a sense of fun.
As a dental practice owner, it’s important to realize you’ll always have some level of turnover. But surprisingly to many, money is not usually the main reason for leaving. It’s obvious that you should be paying employees well for the work they do; and you can’t do much about employees leaving to go traveling, fulfilling a long-held ambition, starting a family or moving to the other side of the country.
However, many of the main reasons for employees leaving can be addressed at the source by every practice owner. Resist the temptation to think that high staff turnover is simply a sign of the times; with the immediate and temporary nature of social media, some business owners accept poor staff retention as the ‘new norm’. They believe that people are simply ‘job hoppers’ nowadays. However, as a leader you can take action to stop the talent drain: by focusing on the above five actions, you will start to close the gap between where you want to be and where you actually are now.
Hope this helps!
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7 Key Financial Practices That Separate Thriving, Growing Practices From The Rest.
There’s no denying it. Creating a thriving practice is about much more than practicing medicine!
Topping the list of “other” priorities is your practice’s financial management. In this short guide, the experts at STAC Bizness Solutions outline 7 financial best practices that differentiate struggling practices from those which are highly profitable and experiencing healthy levels of growth.