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Benefits that Motivate Employees More than a Raise
By Sally McKenzie, CEO

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It’s difficult to find and keep high-quality employees these days. If team members aren’t happy for any reason, they won’t hesitate to look for another job – leaving you to begin the dreaded hiring process.

Many dentists give out raises to keep team members happy (even if they haven’t earned them), but this can damage a practice if payroll goes above 20-22% of revenues. While team members appreciate raises, (but again, only give them out if employees have met or exceeded performance measurements, not just because a year has gone by since the last raise) there are other benefits they might appreciate more.

Offering a solid benefits package is key to attracting and retaining high-quality employees who want to do their part to help your practice succeed. In fact, according to Glassdoor, almost 80% of workers would prefer new or additional benefits to an increase in pay. Not only that, information about the company’s benefits program is one of the top five things job seekers want employees to provide. This information helps them decide which jobs to apply to and which jobs to avoid.

The benefits package you offer says a lot about your practice culture and your brand. And the truth is, most employees want basic, core benefits, according to Glassdoor, which include health insurance, paid leave and retirement plans. Employees want these staples more than specific benefits such as maternity/paternity leave, dependent care, free gym memberships, stock options, free food and childcare assistance.

The message here? Employees will be more satisfied with their jobs if you get the basics right. Sure, team members also enjoy ancillary benefits and fun perks, so go ahead and offer a few if you can, but if you start cutting basic benefits they won’t be nearly as happy. And that, unfortunately, could prompt them to apply for a job at the practice down the street.

Speaking of the practice down the street, to stay competitive it’s important to know what benefits other practices in your area offer. If you’re not in line with them, it might be time to consider upgrading your benefits to help make your practice more attractive to top-notch candidates as well as to encourage current employees to stay loyal.

Now if you think you might have to make cuts to your benefits, look at competitors’ packages, and also find out how their team members reacted to any changes or modifications they made. This will give you insight into how changes might affect your team.

I also suggest engaging your employees if you plan on making any changes to the benefits you currently offer. Ask them how they feel about certain benefits and what’s most important to them. You might be surprised by what you hear. And then when it’s time for the rollout, include clear messaging about the rationale behind any modifications.

Of course, making changes to those three core benefits will have the most impact, on both current and potential employees, but adding ancillary benefits will help promote goodwill, even for those employees who don’t take advantage of them. So if you do find you need to make cuts to the core benefits, think about what perks you can add to help lessen the impact felt by those cuts, whether that’s transportation assistance, wellness programs, financial education or paid time off to volunteer.

While team members are never going to say no to a pay raise, most of them would prefer a solid benefits package. They want health insurance, paid time off and retirement planning. A benefits package lacking in any of these three areas might keep high-quality candidates from accepting a job with your practice or might send long-time employees looking at job listings. Remember, your benefits package says a lot about your brand and your practice culture. If you don’t stay competitive with what the industry offers, it will only hurt your practice and team morale. When it’s time to make changes to your offerings, do your research and try to keep cuts to any core benefits to a minimum.

I suggest you take a look at your benefits package and do some research to make sure it’s up to industry standards. If it’s not, consider making some changes and even adding auxiliary perks. Employees will be happier if they have the benefits they need, and that means they’ll be more productive and eager to do their part to help the practice grow.

For additional information on this topic and more, visit my blog: The Lighter Side

Interested in speaking to me about your practice concerns? Email sallymck@mckenziemgmt.com
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