How to stop the “turnover train” with your team

You keep thinking that your team is finally set, in a good place, your staffing worries are over and then you get the next resignation text/email/letter and the whole cycle starts again. The dental staffing crisis is far from over, although the increased salaries are bringing more people to the profession, it’s not nearly fast enough.

Increasing salaries to best other dentists in the area will not be your only solution to keeping staff on board. You will need a combination of solutions to make it work in your office.

The first solution is a change in your interviewing process. You will want to make sure that you are listening well to everything said in the interview and asking the tough questions. Very often, when interviewing we only hear what we want to hear so that we feel that hiring the applicant is the right choice. This is selective hearing at it’s best.

You will need to be asking probing questions that will get you the answers you need to make an educated decision. This may catch an applicant off guard at times which will reveal more of their personality than the standard interview questions. Ask them what their accomplishments were in their last three positions, whether they were dental or not. If they don’t have an immediate answer, then ask them why they didn’t feel accomplished at their last positions. The lack of an answer may be because they weren’t engaged in their position or perhaps the management style wasn’t good for them, yet each team member should take responsibility for their own accomplishments regardless of the environment.

Creating a full training plan with proper documentation and performance goals will make it clear from the start the goals and expectations of the office. You can’t expect someone to become a star team member without giving them a map and instructions on how to get there. This documentation can be in place for every position long before you need to hire.

Lastly and most importantly ensure that your office has a great culture for both your patients and your team members. We work so hard to create that 5 Star VIP experience for every patient visit yet very often we don’t create the same experience for our team members. Creating a great team culture is a soft skill that many offices don’t think they have the time to cultivate, and a lack of attention to this is often the reason that many team members move on.

Creating a great office culture for your team includes:

  1. Frequently praising in public and if there is any feedback need to be given it should be in private.
  2. Letting your team know that only positive attitudes are acceptable in the office.
  3. Everyone should know exactly what they are working towards, whether it is checking off all the boxes for a 5 Star VIP patient experience or a metrics goal, have everyone moving in the same direction.
  4. Ensure that you have a great organizational structure in place, this includes well documented protocols and clearly defined roles. This will leave everything very clear for your team as to the office’s expectations.
  5. Ensure that your salaries are in line with others in your community. You don’t want to have the highest salaries or the lowest salaries in your area.
  6. Celebrate the small wins in your practice, whether it is with public praise, a pizza lunch, or a bonus, let your team know that they are appreciated.

A dental practice is more than a health care facility for patients, it is a place where your team members spend more than a third of their day, ensure that they enjoy coming there and you will find your “Turnover Train” coming to a full halt.

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