Stop the Revolving Door of Staff Turnover
CEO Business Training Case #CEO213
Did you know that dental professionals have some of the best jobs in the nation, according to U.S. News and World Report, which ranks dentists first and orthodontists fifth on its 100 Best Jobs List/Best Health Care Jobs for 2017? Dental hygienists came in at #32 on the list of 100 best jobs. This data was drawn from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine jobs with the greatest hiring demand, salary, growth potential, work/life balance and stress level.
So why do so many dentists complain of chaos and disharmony in their practice? Is this not stressing? Does this sound like an example of work/life balance? “Dr. Jess” (names have been changed) didn’t think so and reached out to McKenzie Management for guidance.
Dr. Jess decided to attend McKenzie Management’s Dentist CEO Business Course to improve her skills in dealing with staffing issues. Her practice was a “revolving door” of turnover, mostly at the front desk, though she had also recently experienced the loss of her lead dental assistant to maternity leave that extended into full time motherhood.
Dr. Jess lamented: “I love dentistry and my patients but I am disappointed in my staff. They are lazy. They have good salaries and benefits yet they want more without doing more. It just makes me furious.”
During the CEO training, the discussion came to job descriptions and accountability. Dr. Jess admitted she didn’t have anything in writing for her Office Manager nor for anyone else. “I assume she knows what she’s doing. She doesn’t hear from me unless there is a problem. The schedule is always falling apart and I have been complaining to her a lot about that.”
The doctor’s interaction with the Office Manager was not getting the results she wanted, so we discussed that perhaps she should try another approach.
The position of office manager is a big responsibility, requiring the juggling of a lot of tasks to keep the practice productive and prosperous. The full comprehension of the position came to light for Dr. Jess during the training. The suggestion was made to have a meeting with the manager every two weeks to discuss the practice, ask questions, give compliments and show interest in the position and what the job entails. This would assure the manager that Dr. Jess trusts her with the job responsibilities, while knowing she can perform to greater satisfaction.
Your office manager should be your ally and always have your back. Trust from the doctor feeds this loyalty. The more engaged your office manager is in your practice, the more you will gain in terms of staff loyalty and retention of a great employee. Reward your office manager for working with you to achieve practice goals. It’s important to reward a job well done with a show of appreciation – even a small token will do.
Years ago, a dentist I worked for was so appreciative of my work that he made coffee for me every morning, even putting in the cream. I never forgot that. A thank you card, a gift card for a favorite restaurant, or even a onetime bonus check are all great tokens of appreciation. People don’t just work for paychecks as in the past – they often want a feeling of job satisfaction and appreciation for the challenging work they do. It is a measure of what you think of her work, personality, interaction with patients and most importantly, what you think of the job she is doing.
Document your meetings and use this time to share with your office manager things that are being done well and things that can be built for the future of the practice. A strong manager is critical to building a successful dental practice. Most importantly, this value needs to be communicated by the dentist.
Dr. Jess completed the CEO training with a more clear understanding of the dental business systems that create a profitable and happy dental practice. She could no longer blame the office manager for failings in the schedule and realized they needed to work together as a team, sharing the responsibility and perfecting the process. She now uses the same approach when communicating with the remainder of her team as well.
Want to be a better CEO? Sign up for McKenzie Management’s Dentist CEO Business Training Course today.Forward this article to a friend
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