Happy New Year to our readers! The much-anticipated DentalPost Annual Salary Survey is here, and that’s why we’re talking about team retention. A critical aspect of a stable and productive dental practice, employee retention is much-talked about and highlighted in the survey. With nearly 45% of participants looking at job boards or contemplating a career move, practice owners are facing a tough battle. Keeping your team intact is never easy, and that’s why we’re providing several strategies you can use to avoid the “grass is greener” mentality as we welcome 2024.
2024: Make it the year you keep your team
Competition for the best talent is nothing new. In fact, DentalPost’s survey proves that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with the changing landscape. One survey respondent commented, “I feel like I’m fighting a tug of war with team members thinking the grass is always greener. Despite increasing salaries and benefits, I live in fear of losing my employees.” Sound familiar? Then we invite you to consider trying one, some, or all of the strategies below to keep your team in your pasture:
1. Competitive Compensation + Benefits
We know you can still lose employees even if you increase salary and benefits, so this alone may not do the trick. It does, however, show an earnest effort that you value their work. Encourage your employees to be open and transparent when it comes to salary satisfaction, and be sure to do your homework when it comes to knowing what your competition is offering. You might not be able to beat them monetarily, so that’s why a combination of strategies may be necessary.
2. Professional Development Opportunities or CE (Continuing Education)
Ongoing training and professional development make your team stronger and better able to make a difference in the growth of your practice. You can support your employees by encouraging them to attend conferences, workshops, and courses to enhance their skills and knowledge. Yes, it might make them more attractive to your competition, but it will be you gaining a reputation as an employer who’s invested in your team, which is also quite an attractive attribute.
3. Recognition + Appreciation
It’s no secret that we humans like to be recognized for a job well-done. This is why regular and consistent acknowledgement of their hard work is crucial. How do you do this? By implementing employee recognition programs that include awards, shout-outs, or team-building activities. Knowing they’ll be recognized for solid work creates an atmosphere of accountability and excitement. And these can be very contagious.
4. Flexible Work Arrangements
Life can get in the way of work sometimes, and if the last few years have taught us anything, employees crave flexibility. If it’s feasible, you might consider offering flexible work schedules or remote work for team members who can conduct business from home. Showing your team you recognize the importance of work-life balance, and providing alternatives to the regular 9-5, shows that you’re invested in not only their professional development, but their personal needs.
5. Clear Communication
Assumptions and rumors can destroy a healthy environment, so fostering open and transparent communication within the team helps keep employees informed about practice goals, changes, and upcoming events. If you determine employees are whispering behind others’ backs, it’s vital you address it in front of the team and make it clear you won’t tolerate toxic gossip.
6. Positive Work Environment
Speaking of toxicity in the workplace, our Salary Survey revealed that one of the top motivators for seeking new employment in 2024 was a better work environment. Culture continues to play a large role in retaining and attracting talent, and you can cultivate a positive and supportive atmosphere using several techniques including team collaboration on decision-making, encouraging feedback, and being open to everyone’s opinions (this doesn’t mean you have to implement everything they want, but lending an ear is sometimes all they need to know you’re listening.)
7. Advancement Opportunities
Employees are more invested in your practice when they know they have a future clearly laid out. A path providing opportunities for advancement within the business goes a long way in showing your team you support their setting and achieving of professional goals. The old adage of failing to plan resulting in failure couldn’t be more true for an employee who cannot see past their day-to-day.
8. Employee Feedback + Involvement
Businesses often reach out to clients to solicit feedback about their satisfaction and areas for improvement, but do you do this for your employees? If not, now is a great time to ask them about their job satisfaction and what’s working and what’s not working. Involving your team in decision-making processes starts with getting their opinion on how they think things are going. Providing a platform to express their ideas is a great way to get their buy-in and support.
9. Wellness Programs
Self-care remains a hot topic, so implementing wellness programs at your practice to promote the health and well-being of your team falls in perfect alignment with this popular movement. Not everyone goes about self-care in the same way, so offering a variety of initiatives such as fitness classes, mental health resources, or wellness challenges should support your unique group of employees.
10. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)
We all face personal and professional challenges at some point in our lives. Wouldn’t it be a relief to know your employer cares enough to provide you with access to EAPs to help you through your toughest times? You can provide the same support to your team and show genuine concern for their well-being.
11. Regular Performance Reviews
When you review your team members’ performance on a regular basis, you’ll be helping them build small goals for consistent improvement and growth. Each review invites an opportunity to discuss career development and help them build a plan to achieve it. Small steps often see big rewards.
12. Fair + Consistent Policies
Employees like structure, and you can create that by implementing workplace policies that are fair, consistently applied, and that align with legal and ethical standards. Clearly outlining what’s expected of everyone and addressing any issues promptly and fairly when they arise helps maintain a positive work environment that attracts top talent.
13. Team-Building Activities
Team-building activities help your employees bond and strengthen their relationships. When they have to work together to “figure something out” that’s out of the ordinary (escape room, zip-lining, wall climbing, etc.), it can foster a sense of camaraderie and collaboration. It feels good when you’re “in it together” and overcome the obstacles put in front of you.
14. Flexible Time Off Policies
A better work environment is one of the top reasons DentalPost’s survey respondents were seeking employment elsewhere. You can help stop the hemorrhage by offering flexible time off policies to accommodate employees’ personal and family needs. Encouraging a healthy work-life balance shows your team that they’re not just another cog in the wheel.
Retaining and attracting top talent is a constant worry for practice owners, but you do have the tools to keep up with the competition. Understanding what your team really wants, and doing your best to nurture their growth makes your practice worth the stay. Be sure to check out other insights from the survey, and if you’re ready to take your practice to the next level, consider a Practice Discovery Call with an Amplify360 team member.