Top 5 Tips to Avoiding Employee Churn

by Dr. Ron Arndt

Dental CEO’s, if you want to avoid employee churn, stop rushing the hiring process.

An ongoing challenge for many dentists is staffing. How to find them; what to do to retain them; how to make them an integral part of the practice? There is a long-term labor crisis brewing. The Kiplinger Letter reports that over this decade, the labor force will increase by about 12 % while the number of jobs, including seasonal, part-time, and second jobs, will grow 15%. Likely to be in short supply: dental employees of all types.

Dental office receptionist new patientsMy dental clients all over the country are frustrated by a double threat:

  1. A lack of employees. It is getting harder and harder to find applicants for many of their open positions.
  2. There is a skilled-worker shortage. Dentists are even more challenged to find candidates with acceptable qualifications.

Therefore, it is even more critical to create a hiring plan that will increase your chances of hiring the “right” people and then retain them.

The following 5 Tips will help you inspire employees who must work harder to woo new business to your practice plus do the work once handled by larger staffs.

1. Embrace the philosophy: “If I take care of my employees, they will take care of my patients.” This doesn’t mean you have to go overboard or be some snively, touchy-type person that you aren’t. You simply need to take care of them so that they feel valued and appreciated. When they feel special, they will treat your customer in the same way. Read the book The Customer Comes Second by Hal Rosenbluth to learn this technique. He grosses over 2 billion taking care of his people.

2. View your employees as an asset and not a liability as they appear on your Income Statement. Successful businesses behave in a way that demonstrates that they believe their people are their most important asset. Remember they represent you in all facets of the business. They are the ones your patients will be dealing with, both when you are present and not. How do you treat your other investments? With care, skill, and judgment? Do the same with and for your team.

3. Don’t wait until it’s a CRISIS. Like my brother, Dr. Scott says, “I never think about this hiring stuff until someone quits or I have to fire them. Then it’s a crisis because I don’t know where to begin.” Stop taking the hiring process lightly. Put a simple plan in place in advance. At least have ads for each position pre-written; keep your compensation package updated; have a list of general open-ended questions written up in advance; and be prepared to screen applicants initially by phone. If you wait until you are desperate for help, you will lower your hiring standards and subsequently the quality of your team.

4. Know what you’re looking for. Create an “Ideal Employee Profile.” Not a physical description…rather a list of the qualities, characteristics, and traits you are looking for in your employees. Some examples might include: communicates well; detail oriented; prompt; collaborates; willing to go the extra mile; or positive in time of crisis. By compiling this list it will help you know if and when this person is sitting in front of you. Create your profile and share with your current team and your patients asking them to help you find this person.

5. Share your values. Let all new prospects know what your Core Values are and how you apply them to your practice and the treatment of your team. These governing principals provide the direction to all the members of your team, including you, on how to behave and interact in your practice. People are looking for direction, safety, and a sense of what’s right in the workplace. Your values provide this beacon and you need to look for people who have the same sense of values.

How you treat employees, your best and most expensive asset, will set the tone for their satisfaction and the success of your business.

Take the steps listed above to create your plan and mindset for that time when you least expect it…when you need to hire a new member of your dental family. Set a time line of 30 days, involve your current team, and finalize at one of your monthly staff meetings. You will then have a much better chance of hiring RIGHT.

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