11.2.12 Issue #556 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Nancy Haller, Ph.D.
Leadership Coach
McKenzie Management
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Is Turnover Killing Your Practice?
By Nancy Haller, Ph.D.

According to a recent article in Fortune, the U.S. national average for turnover usually runs between 2-3% per month, whereas the top 100 companies have a turnover rate of only 2-3% in an entire year. Obviously, a certain degree of turnoveris unavoidable, but the last thing you want to do is lose your best performers. Turnover sucks the life out of your practice and equates with knowledge loss. Consider the impact when the person leaving is in a key role or hard-to-fill job in your office. It may take six months to find their replacement and a year or more before they are up to speed. To add insult to injury, what if they go to a direct competitor in your community?

Understandably, turnover is not preventable. Employees relocate to different cities, go back to school, and decide to be full-time mothers or fathers. But with some focused attention, reducing turnover is a solid and achievable goal. Here are four important factors that increase retention.

Leadership Matters
Employees don’t leave companies, they leave bosses. Your leadership is the #1 factor in reducing turnover. What is the quality of your interactions with the people on your payroll? Are you creating the right work atmosphere? Fine-tune your people-skills with Leadership Training so that you maintain a culture where employees are engaged and want the practice to succeed. When your staff is happy, they won’t want to leave.

Confront Your Hiring Process
Research shows that most employers make a decision on an applicant during the first 4 minutes and 20 seconds of the interview. This susceptibility to first impression is natural, but hiring an employee based on “gut feeling” is a reckless business move. There is more you can do to make an informed decision about the people you bring into your office. 

Review job descriptions. Good hires need to have a clear understanding of the job you want them to do. Not only what to do but how you want them to do it. Standardize your interview. Eliminate subjectivity as much as possible by structuring questions that are focused on the real needs of the job and your office environment. Expand your selection tools beyond the resume. With the increasing importance on interpersonal effectiveness for job success, employers who add pre-employment testing have a strategic advantage.

It’s NOT about Money
Pay may be a factor for turnover in some cases, but only if your compensation structure is far below community standards. When employees use money as a reason for leaving, it’s more likely an excuse. What they aren’t telling you is that the work environment is so toxic that the wages aren’t a good trade-off for the misery they have to endure.

Focus on improving the level of trust in your practice. High trust is correlated with high retention and boils down to communication, communication, communication. Trust is more than honesty. It’s also about appreciation for others and the willingness to sacrifice personal gain for that of the team. Take the time to extract your employees from the mayhem of everyday work with an event like a team retreat. Explore team synergy, and as a result you will increase retention rates.

Create a Better Future
Employees who see a pathway to a better future will generally stick around to experience it. Training and development are crucial to help people know there is a brighter future. Make a plan to cross-train your office staff. When employees feel they are being developed they know they are important to the practice. It also makes the work more interesting.

Express more appreciation and praise to your staff. Let them know when they are doing things right, even if the best you can offer is to acknowledge their efforts to learn. Stop micromanaging. Set your standards at “excellent” and let go of “perfect.” When employees see you collaborating instead of controlling it goes a long way toward building loyalty and longevity.

Spend your time, money and energy on programs and processes that have a positive impact on employee happiness. You will reap the benefits. Dental practices that focus on these four factors will have more employee satisfaction, and that equates to lower turnover and higher retention rates. I’m here to help.

Dr. Haller provides training for leadership effectiveness, interpersonal communication, conflict management, and team building. If you would like to learn more contact her at coach@mckenziemgmt.com

Interested in having Dr. Haller speak to your dental society or study club? Click here

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