There is plenty of good advice out there on how to hire great dental employees. But what happens once you have them? Practice owners don’t often think about retaining the people they have hired. Sometimes getting your staff to stay can be as difficult as hiring them in the first place!
Most people will change jobs several times during their career and your employees are no exception. There can be positive or negative reasons for these job changes. Positive reasons include things like pursuing advanced degrees or moving closer to family members. But quite often, the reasons behind someone quitting a job are negative. Maybe they don’t like the work environment or they don’t get along with their colleagues. So how do you make sure your employees would like to stay and not leave for greener pastures at the drop of a hat?
Overtime – Paid or Otherwise
One of the biggest complaints amongst dental employees is that they are overworked and underpaid. The problem lies not with the actual salaries or benefits but is more subtle and happens over time. As your practice grows, you may not have noticed that your employees are putting in more hours than before. Some dentists expect their staff to stay late whenever they are running behind schedule.
While you can certainly ask your employees to stay after normal work hours, make sure that they know it is not required. They may already have made plans with their families or have other commitments. Employees often feel pressured to stay late because the boss is doing so. When this happens often enough, they become fed up and quit.
There is no quick solution to such situations. Sometimes the answer is to hire a new employee to balance the workload. In other situations you might ask a few people to stay late or come in on a holiday. Make sure you let them know in advance so they don’t have to cancel other plans and pay them appropriately. The important thing is to keep your eyes open and notice when such situations are becoming more common than you realized.
Encourage Transparency and Honesty
Workplace attitudes and culture are largely shaped by practice owners. For the most part, employees will treat your patients the same way you treat them. A pleasant work atmosphere goes a long way in improving the customer experience as well. Honest and open discussion between team members is the best way to resolve issues before they get out of hand.
Some practice owners have regular meetings where staff members can air their grievances or discuss workplace issues. You can supplement these meetings with one-on-one interactions as well. It signals to your workers that you are interested in listening to them and that they can come to you in case of any problems.
Provide the Right Tools
Tools in this context don’t just refer to medical equipment or supplies. Think of all the hardware and software you use in your practice everyday. There are computers, dental equipment and even furniture that are essential to the functioning of your clinic. Even a small thing like uncomfortable chairs can greatly influence the mood of your employees.
Most dental clinics will invest in upgrading the dental infrastructure but don’t pay much attention to other fixtures. Working with old equipment or things that frequently break down puts additional pressure on your staff members. Make sure you have room in your budget to replace or repair all such tools. Everyone likes to work in an office where they are comfortable and know they are appreciated for their work. The best way to retain employees is to make sure that they look forward to coming to the office everyday!