Need to motivate your team? Give them the benefits they want

By Sally McKenzie, CEO Printer Friendly Version

Once you find and hire high-quality employees, you want to keep them happy. You need loyal, hardworking team members to help you grow your practice, after all. That’s why you give them a pay raise every year—whether your practice can afford it or not.

Sure, raises help keep team members happy, but that happiness won’t last long if your practice begins to struggle because of it. When payroll costs start inching above 22% of collections, it sends overhead costs skyrocketing out of control, leaving you unable to invest in new technology or to make practice upgrades. The situation becomes even worse if employees haven’t actually earned these raises. Their performance stays the same and the practice continues to struggle. Nothing changes, yet they still get their bump in pay.

Developing a compensation policy will help alleviate this situation and get your practice back on track. That means making it clear what it takes for employees to earn raises and when they will be discussed, and only giving out raises if they’ve been earned and if the practice can afford it. How do you know if the practice can afford it? Conduct an Employee Salary Review. The review only takes about 10 minutes to complete and will tell you exactly how much money you need to bring in to cover pay increases.

While raises can be motivating when handled correctly, it’s also important to remember there are other ways to reward employees—including a benefits package. You might be surprised by this, but according to Glassdoor, almost 80% of workers value new or additional benefits more than a larger paycheck.

What to include in your benefits package
Putting together a solid benefits package will help you attract and retain the type of employees who will contribute to practice success. In fact, it’s actually one of the top five things job seekers want employees to provide.

What do employees expect from a benefits package? Mostly basic, core benefits such as health insurance, paid leave and retirement plans, according to Glassdoor. They’re interested in these general benefits more than specific perks such as maternity/paternity leave, dependent care, stock options, free food, free gym memberships and childcare assistance.

Bottom line: Employees will be more satisfied with their jobs if you get the basics right. Now that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t offer ancillary benefits and fun perks. These types of benefits say a lot about your practice culture and will help your office stand out from others in the area. But, don’t sacrifice the basic for the fun.

Stay competitive
As you’re putting your benefits package together, I suggest you find out what other practices in your area offer. This will help you stay competitive. If you’re not offering as much, it might be time to consider some upgrades. Remember, the goal is to attract and keep top-notch employees who want to help your practice meet its full potential. Providing solid benefits is a great way to do that.

Get your team involved
Ask your team members what benefits they’d like to have and use their responses as a guide. And if you need to make changes to your existing plan, let them know before you do it. Find out how they feel about certain benefits and what’s most important to them.

Making changes to those three core benefits will have the most impact on current and potential employees. Ancillary benefits help promote good will and show team members you want to go above and beyond and provide them with benefits that help make their lives easier. So, if you ever need to cut core benefits, ask team members what perks would help make the loss easier to take. Transportation assistance, wellness programs and paid time off to volunteer are examples of popular perks you might want to consider.

Get the most out of your benefits package
While your team members aren’t going to turn down any raises you offer, most would prefer a solid benefits package. These packages help them feel secure and should at the very least include health insurance, paid time off and retirement planning. Leaving just one of these elements out could result in top candidates not even applying for an opening at your practice, and loyal team members looking for a job at the practice down the street.

Your benefits package says a lot about your brand and your practice culture, so it’s important to send the right message. If you’re not in line with other offices in your area, it will only hurt your practice as well as team morale. If you need to make changes, do some research to see how similar adjustments have impacted other practices, and be sure to keep cuts to core benefits to a minimum.

Once you have created a benefits package, team members will be happier to come to work each day, more motivated to excel, more productive and more likely to stay loyal. They will want to do their part to move the practice forward, and that means good things for your bottom line.

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