Retention key to stopping the revolving door

Dentistry’s Revolving Door

added on: July 16, 2022

As a leader, have you ever considered keeping employees a better business strategy than constantly finding new ones?  Constant turnover is data you can evaluate.  Blaming a lousy economy, Covid or bidding wars for employees are outside the dentist leader’s control.  These things cause stress and no action to improve or fix the human capital challenges in your practice.

Change in the team creates a change in team culture, work inefficiencies, difficulty aligning on priorities, confusion around expectations, difficulty communicating, and difficulty building or maintaining trust.  Many practices have recently experienced changes to their teams, including losing or adding a team member.  These changes are stressful, creating extra workloads, burnout, and fatigue for the remaining staff.

The costs for a practice with employee turnover that is directly measurable are, i.e., recruitment costs, background checks, skills or behavioral style testing fees, temporary worker fees, and overtime for the current team.  There are indirect costs, i.e., lost production during recruitment, hiring, onboarding, and training, time to review applications and interviews, customer service decreases, and the high-performing practice culture declines.  The focus for dental practice needs to be to stop spending on attraction while ignoring retention.

A September 8th, 2021 article from McKinsey & Company revealed the results of an extensive study of both company and employees.  They discovered a significant difference between why people actually leave and why companies think they go.  This McKinsey article also said, “By not understanding what their employees are running from, and what they might gravitate to, company leaders are putting their businesses at risk.”

The chart below reveals the differences between why employees say they are leaving versus why the businesses think their employees are going:

This revolving door of employee turnover can improve by creating a people-first culture and making your team feel valued, inclusive, and have a sense of belonging.  Stephen Covey says, “trust is the highest form of human motivation.  It brings out the very best in people.”

Trust is the essential foundation of a healthy, high-performance culture.  Your culture absolutely is unique to your practice, and the one element that must be present in all great dental practices is a high level of trust.

In a recent article, Keith Ayers of Intégro Learning Company said, “our research clearly shows that employees who trust their managers are far more passionate about the work they do and the organization they work for – resulting in the highest levels of performance.  And yet, it seems that many leadership teams do not know how to build trust with their employees, and now with the disruptions, we’re having, more importantly, rebuilding trust.  Intégro’s extensive research has identified five needs all employees have that, when satisfied, result in a high level of trust in management.  It makes sense – satisfy their needs – they trust you!”

So, if creating a people-first culture includes making your team valued, inclusive, and having a sense of belonging, the place to begin is by building a high level of trust to satisfy these needs.

In the graphic below, The Passion Pyramid, you will see the Five Needs that Ignite Passion in the center, beginning at the bottom.  On the left are the Leadership Skills that need to be used to satisfy the needs, and on the right are the Outcomes/payoffs for the practice when the needs are satisfied.

The model was built as a pyramid because Intégro’s experience shows that leaders must start at the bottom to build up. For example, employees do not want to learn from a leader who does not respect them, nor will they feel like an insider if they are not respected.  Intégro’s research shows that when you satisfy these five needs for all employees, they will be passionate about your organization and about delivering their best every day.  They will also have a high level of trust for their leaders.

Let’s look at these five needs more closely:

 The Need to Be Respected: all people have a “need” to be treated with respect.  They need to know that what they do is valued by their leaders. One of the most important ways to demonstrate respect for someone is to truly listen to them. Unfortunately, there are many ways leaders unintentionally treat employees disrespectfully, and nothing diminishes trust faster.

 The Need to Learn and Grow: People have a “natural” desire to develop their talents and do things that utilize their strengths.  They want to perform at their best.  To do that, they look to a leader to continue to help them learn and grow in their roles.

 The Need to Be an Insider: No one likes to feel excluded. Being included in discussions, and involved in problem-solving and decision-making, especially on decisions that directly impact employees, makes it clear that employees are on the same team as their leader. There is no Us and Them.

 The Need for Meaning: People need to know that what they do is meaningful, that their work is making a difference to someone else. They want to be able to answer the question “why does my job exist” – to understand how their work contributes to their practice’s purpose.

 Need to Be Part of a Winning Team: the highest levels of passion come from being a part of and contributing to a winning team’s success. I’m sure you have experienced the excitement of “team spirit” on some of the teams you have been part of in your life – whether sporting teams in your younger years or work teams that have achieved success.

 Satisfying these Five Needs Will Transform Your Culture

Unless practices pay particular attention to building strong workplace cultures based on trust, cultivating a fully committed team passionate about the practice and the job the practice may face a significant challenge. If you want to improve retention and decrease the speed of your revolving door, you need to do the work of increasing employee passion and trust.

What you measure, you can manage.

As an Intégro Learning Company Trust Inside Assessments Certified Facilitator, I provide Intégro’s Employee Passion Survey that measures the trust employees have for management.  I will give you detailed feedback about the degree to which the Needs that Ignite Passion are currently being satisfied. It makes sense to measure first, so you know where to start.   The survey also measures the level of trust employees have for management; we know there is a strong correlation between the level of needs satisfaction and trust.  For trust to be high, needs satisfaction must be high.  The survey results will be available by department, business unit, branch, or team level so you can pinpoint what needs to be done in each area of your practice to build a high-performance culture with certainty.

Contact Cindy Ishimoto today to learn how to measure your practice’s culture and get back on track to rebuilding trust in your practice.

Posted In: Culture, Leadership

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