Attracting and Maintaining Quality Employees

Feature article from the Dental Entrepreneur Magazine Spring 2020

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Ask any business owner about the ongoing challenges in owning a business, and I guarantee, finding good employees tops the list. Let’s face it, finding individuals who value your business, the investments you’ve made and your brand are difficult to come by. And while there is no quick, 1-2-3 method to finding that one-in-a-million rockstar, there are some key principles that will assist in attracting rockstar team members and achieve your professional goals.

People Don’t Plan to Fail. They Fail to Plan.

A vision is the picture you have for yourself and your business. Having a clear vision is the ability to maintain your vision and not be dissuaded by peripheral things. Your dreams, aspirations and goals are contingent upon your drive toward the pursuit of their fulfillment.

What are your goals? Be specific. Write them down and find a means to monitor your progress in achieving them. Share your goals with your team. Employees are integral to your vision and its success. Their emotional investment in your vision will promote connectivity and fuel their own passion in its success. This all begins and ends with a mission and vision statement. These statements should be the mainstay of your business and the driving force behind the decisions made toward their accomplishment.

Set Your Team Up for Success

Having the appropriate training protocols in place before an employee starts eliminates confusion and sets a standard of excellence and professionalism from day one. This would include an employee handbook, required training or continuing education, and their responsibilities in written form.

Offer Competitive, Attractive Salary and Benefits

This is the least-favorite topic for employers, but it is the source of much chatter around the watercooler. After all, why should we pay top dollar for an employee who’s yet to prove themselves? The reality is, you often get what you pay for. When seeking high quality employees, it’s necessary to offer high quality benefits. As much as we’d like to believe our employees would do what they do for free, reality states otherwise. A little extra goes a long way. After all, would you continue working every day for free? Most of us would not approve. It’s not necessary to break the bank, but often, paying a salary based not on what you can afford, but what you seek to acquire, is necessary. And this leads to the next key point …

Find Out What’s Valuable to the New, Prospective Employee

While this may sound contradictory to the last paragraph, money is often not the primary employee motivator. Security, respect, responsibility and growth opportunity are high-ranking nonmonetary values team members seek. Discover your employees’ Language of Appreciation, based on the best-selling series The 5 Love languages. The concepts in this book help employers and those in supervisory roles, communicate appreciation to their staff using their unique appreciation language. For example, Words of Affirmation may communicate value to an employee, while Acts of Service (offering to help out) sets another employee up for joyful success in the workplace. This, in turn, motivates the employee. It fuels passion and motivates a desire to succeed and grow your business.

Meet Regularly

Team huddles and leadership meetings are an excellent way to keep day-to-day scheduling snags and squabbles at bay. Quarterly meetings, however, allow you to motivate your team and hold them accountable in their roles. These are critical in moving forward on the path toward growth. Dentistry is changing and evolving into a greater entity than it’s ever been. Our role is quickly moving alongside mainstream medicine. As our list of services and treatment options continues to expand, our team should feel partnered together with us in that growth. Business growth requires a business growth mindset. Your team is critical to that success.

Let It Go!

As mentioned before, dentistry is changing. In fact, it’s already changed! If you are living in the past, let it go! It’s time to let go of old ideology and paradigms. Let go of the old mindset, the outdated equipment and dated workspace. Shag carpet and antiquated equipment sends a message that your business practices are equally archaic. Investment in your office space will attract patients and better-quality employees.

While you’re at it, let go of the toxic employee. Many business owners admit to hanging on to a negative, trouble-maker far longer than they should have because they were afraid they couldn’t replace them. Once they did, they realized the addition of a team player can alter the dynamic of the entire office in the most positive way!

Finally, let go of preconceived, assigned roles. Perhaps the wide-eyed, bubbly person you hired to be your dental assistant is great with people and would be a tremendous addition to your front desk, admin team. Be willing to present that option. You may find they’ve been hoping for an opportunity like this for some time! You only stand to win when the right people are in the right positions.

Talk About It

Get a little nervous when your spouse says, “Honey, we need to talk?” Communication does not have to be uncomfortable. Regular, open communication strengthens relational bonds, family or otherwise. We’ve all heard the silly adage, “Do you know what happens when you assume?” Assumptions can lead to dissension.

Open and clear communication eliminates confusion. Refusing to address concerns ultimately leads to the proverbial white elephant in the operatory. No one enjoys walking on eggshells. Send the elephant packing and sweep the eggshells off the floor. Squelching issues while they are small will strengthen your work-family bond. Your team will thrive in the safety of effective communication. As an added benefit, your commitment to communicative excellence will cause their respect in your leadership to soar.

Be the Example

Looking for amazing employees? Be an amazing employer. Looking for loyalty? Be loyal. It truly is that simple. If you are looking for a hard-working team but want to have fun while working, be the employer known for having a great time while being productive. Like attracts like. Remembering the years you worked for someone else will keep you humble and grounded. Always be that example.

Leaders Lead

Assume your position as the captain of your dental ship. Even if you are not a natural born leader, cultivate leadership skills. Leadership is an action, not a position. No one will ever cultivate your dream with the same intensity as the heart from which it originated. Step up and lead by humble example.

Learn the art of true leadership. Recognize the difference between effective management and micro-management. Confusing the two could potentially drive off team members and destroy all you’ve created.

Two keys to successful leadership are investing in yourself with continuing education and maintaining accountability via mentors. These non-negotiables are vital to propelling yourself forward and keeping yourself in check. You are only as good as the company you keep. Keep the company of stellar individuals and you will eventually emerge a star.

Intentionality

Running a quality business begins with quality-based principles. Implementing those qualities is the result of keeping your ultimate goals in focus. Great leaders become great because they are intentional about becoming a great leader. Great teams are made by being intentional in your leadership. It’s never about the role. It’s always about the goal.

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