Practice Management |5 min read

How to Get and Retain Good Employees

Real World Insights from AADOM Authors - Theresa Larson

I have a WONDERFUL team with little to no turnover. If you do too, count yourself among the lucky few.

Retaining good employees has always been a concern, but as you well know, has been terribly exacerbated recently. Since COVID hit us, the shortages stem from a variety of factors with more people working from home, starting their own small businesses, and still being afraid of the virus… just to name a few.

I think there are three main areas that office managers need to focus on in order to hire and retain good employees.

1. Respect

Give respect in order to get respect.

You hired them to do a job that you know they are capable of doing, so don’t be that person who hovers or micro-manages everything. Be the manager who gives them the respect that demonstrates your trust in their abilities, and with training, will be a superstar employee.

You can also gain respect by including current employees during the new-hire interview process, asking for their input on issues they would like to see changed, having an open-door policy, and just listening to their concerns.

Of course, thanking them for a job well done is also vital. Who doesn’t want that “pat on the back” telling them how well they did?

Giving an employee respect also helps to raise their own self-respect and their self-esteem; who doesn’t need that these days? Respect improves morale all the way around.

2. Accommodations

As we all know, dentistry is a physical job. Being bent over in all sorts of positions to complete daily required tasks is hard on your neck, back and hands.

Administrative jobs are just as bad. Ergonomics is one of the best ways to help your employees’ accommodations and overall physical health.

Ergonomics in dentistry should strike a balance between keeping the dentist and team healthy while providing efficient treatment. Proper chairs, keyboards, mouse, glasses, monitor, etc.., obviously, within reason, but also, reminders throughout the day for employees to stretch the neck, hands, and shoulders, even an occasional gift certificate for a massage, or bringing a masseuse into the office for a ten minute, sit down, neck, shoulder, and hand massage is a wonderful way to remind them of your appreciation for the challenges of the job.

It will make their job that much more enjoyable. When your back or neck hurts –it’s difficult to focus on your work, so you need to get ahead of the pain and get the proper equipment, and train your employees on proper ergonomics and self-care. FDI World Dental Federation…Opens a new window to the FDI website… has some wonderful articles on ergonomics for the dental field.

An employer who accommodates, models, and financially supports self-care, will retain employees by creating a supportive workplace environment.

3. Compensation

Times have changed! While we still have high standards and ask what the employee can do for us, we now need to let the employee know what we can do for them.

Your job is to organize and present your office as looking out for their best interests. Sell it to them!

There are many areas that can be a part of an employee’s compensation package, both financial as well as environmental.

Creating an environment that feels like a team is step one, beginning with making them feel connected during their initial days in the office and regularly throughout their employment with support and a feeling of trust. Team building is a wonderful way to have the team connect outside of work and enjoy each other. You can do it semiannually, quarterly, monthly, etc.

There have been some threads going on the AADOM message board about compensation for your team. A few of the suggestions include having your office participate in group mani/pedi’s, a painting class, self-defense class, massage, ball game, bowling, or concerts… the list is endless. It depends on what you want to spend.

Bonus systems can always be implemented as an extra incentive, and retirement and health insurance plans are important forms of compensation for employees.

Also, investing in ongoing professional development can become part of a compensation package as well.

Of course, as far as hourly wages, you will have to stay competitive. Although, at this time, demand for some wages has increased dramatically, presenting a breakdown of all the benefits you provide as part of their total package, what it turns out to be per hour, and what a fantastic team and daily quality of life is provided in your practice can all become an important factor in their final decision to accept or stay employed with you.

At the end of the day, respect, accommodations, and compensation are all important factors in hiring and retaining good employees, however, it’s your daily efforts in the simple things, like a thank you, that help an employee feel the love and show how much they are appreciated.

As we can see, it’s not necessarily just about luck to get your WONDERFUL team, it’s a daily effort that pays off in the long run.

Happy Employees = Happy Work Life!

About the Author

Headshot of Theresa Larson

Theresa Larson, MAADOM is the Office Manager at VIP Family Dentistry in Dacula, GA. She is a lifetime AADOM member and serves as a board member for the AADOM Gwinnett County Chapter. She achieved her AADOM Fellowship in 2019 and was most recently inducted into the 2022 class of AADOM Masters achieving her MAADOM designation.

Theresa is always excited to expand her knowledge and work with her AADOM tribe. Theresa lives in Winder, GA with her two dogs and one cat. In her spare time, she loves to take her Harley “Blue Cheese” for some wind therapy.

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