In our 30-year study of the top 10% producing dental practices, we have found that one of the attributes of top practices that contributes to their success is high staff longevity. In most cases, top 10% producing practices retain staff 35% to 60% longer than most other practices. Low turnover helps practices move into the top 10% and remain there.
Keys to retaining your staff
Holding on to your staff may seem like a daunting task in today’s world, but it can be done. Consider the following keys to success in staff longevity.
- Happiness—Dentists want their teams to be happy, but what makes people happy can vary greatly. Team members can be motivated by a fun work environment, money, working four days a week versus five, time off, being in a professional environment, or their love of helping patients. One of the keys to creating a high-longevity team is to create a practice where people appreciate both the motivational factors and the environment. For example, there is nothing wrong with a team member who works mainly for a paycheck if the person can also get excited about helping patients and working in a team-based environment.
- Responsibility—Another thing we found that is beneficial in retaining staff is increasing team member responsibility. Once team members are compensated at an acceptable level, many of them are interested in improving their skill sets and taking on more responsibility. There are always people who would rather shirk extra responsibility, but you typically do not find them in top performing practices. Training and coaching your staff to improve performance over time should be a major part of your practice culture.
- Staff referrals—Top performing practices have had many staff members who were referred by other team members in the practice. Since people will refer others to work with them only if they believe they will do an excellent job, gaining new staff members in this way is ideal. We suggest offering referral bonuses to team members who refer candidates who are hired and retained for at least 90 days.
- Transparency—As busy as top performing practices are, they still make time for office managers or dentists to talk with their teams about anything from practice improvement to team member satisfaction. Being transparent and honest with your team will give them a sense of ownership and increase their desire to contribute to the practice every day.
High staff longevity is the gift that keeps on giving. Low turnover helps create a positive practice environment free from the stress, chaos, and system breakdowns that occur when staffing changes take place.
Roger P. Levin, DDS, is the CEO and founder of Levin Group, a leading practice management consulting firm that has worked with over 30,000 practices to increase production. A recognized expert on dental practice management and marketing, Dr. Levin has written 67 books and more than 4,000 articles and regularly presents seminars in the US and around the world. To contact him or to join the 40,000 dental professionals who receive his Practice Production Tip of the Day, visit levingroup.com or email [email protected].