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Top 10 reasons your staff might quit

Dental Products ReportDental Products Report-2011-10-01
Issue 10

With the economy like this, no one’s quitting their job-right? According to Gregory P. Smith, a business growth specialist, that’s the worst assumption any employer can make. “It’s a big, fatal mistake a lot of companies are making right now,” Smith says. “A person may ‘quit’ three to six months before they actually turn in their resignation.”

With the economy like this, no one’s quitting their job-right? According to Gregory P. Smith, a business growth specialist, that’s the worst assumption any employer can make.

“It’s a big, fatal mistake a lot of companies are making right now,” Smith says. “A person may ‘quit’ three to six months before they actually turn in their resignation.”

Top 10 reasons people quit
Dental practices face some of the same pitfalls as other businesses, large and small, and primary reasons employees quit can include:

Mismatched ethics. Being forced to treat or charge a patient in a way that makes them uncomfortable or, on the flip side, having their ethics questioned.

Strained relationships. Whether with the employer or other staff members, disrespect, discord and delayed reconciliation make an otherwise great practice a nightmare to work for.

Uninspired. Pride in one’s work is only part of the equation. Feeling as though the employer is equally invested in trying new things and trusting staff to execute new protocols is part of what keeps the job interesting and rewarding.

Few opportunities to learn. Likewise, a commitment to continuing education and making that promise a reality is crucial to staff feeling valued and committed to you.

Unnecessary competition. Pitting departments against one another creates dissension among staff and disregard for the person in charge.

Salary and benefits. Conversations about raises, bonuses or other ways of recognizing work well-done are off the table or current numbers aren’t competitive with other practices in the area.

Hours. Too many or too few can be a deal-breaker for an employee with a family’s needs to consider.

Downward spiral. Losing patients, losing money, and employer seems uninterested in addressing problems or brainstorming solutions.

Commute. With gas prices up and salary flat, making long drives might not be worth it.

Poor communication. Whether it’s pay, protocol or Patty at the front desk, the employer didn’t create an environment in which employers recognized or asked about the needs and concerns of their staff.

Smith, President of Chart Your Course International-a management development and consulting firm located in Atlanta-believes that the key to avoiding these and other problems starts with the dentist knowing what motivates his or her staff.

“Everyone is motivated differently, and it is best to have an individual retention plan when you hire that person,” he advises. “You should continually be thinking about how you can re-recruit your staff. Why are they there? What do they expect out of their job? Maybe your hygienist is there because she loves people. But another hygienist may be there because she loves money. Where do each of them expect to be four to five years from now?”

Having worked with dental practices for several years, Smith underscores the fact that dental staff aren’t cheap to replace. In the case of a dental hygienist, for example, you can’t just bring in a new one off the street.

Recognizing the individual needs of each employe doesn’t require a degree in psychology, just a willingness to talk and listen. Simple steps Smith suggests include:

Talk to each person for 15 minutes-not about work.

Open yourself up to a 360° assessment. Let your team evaluate your management skills and suggest how you can improve.

Take an online personality quiz. They’re accurate, easy to do, and help the dentist better understand a person’s communication style. For an example, click here.

Ask people for ideas and suggestions. Help them feel like they have a say in impacting the environment.

When in doubt, get creative

Every good business person will tell you that hiring the right people is important. Too often, the advice stops there. Once you hire good people-keep them!

“You can’t manage a staff as if it was one person. Everyone has to managed and motivated individually,” Smith says. “There are the things I refer to as ‘turnover triggers’ that can cause people to leave, such as marriage, death, divorce, or in our current economic climate, a spouse losing his or her job. The other major issue though, is that once people have been in the office for awhile, you forget to make sure they like the people they work with-that’s why team building is so important.”

Assuming that you’re a good doctor who keeps your employees motivated and really listens to their needs. Great! The problem is, with the economy slipping, the things everyone seems to need most is more money. Obviously, pay raises and bonuses may not be an option for every practice. Smith suggests thinking outside the box.

“In order to reward top performers, one CEO of a company lent his employees his BMW for a week,” Smith shares. “This is an example of where money only goes so far. People talk about their year-end bonus for two days. Getting to drive a BMW for a week? They’ll be sharing that experience for years.”

Luxury cars aside, what can you offer to make your staff feel special, even when money is tight?

Bottom line

Keeping staff happy is good business, but even more so in a healthcare field such as dentistry. “We should always take care of our people,” Smith concludes, “because if they feel good about their workplace, then they make our patients feel better about coming there as well.”


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