The best workers in your office are the superstars that you simply can’t live without, and employees like that are hard to find, so and when you do find them, it’s essential to your business and your team that you do whatever it takes to keep them. But sometimes, it’s important to keep in mind that not everyone is driven by money, nor is anyone driven by just money. Acknowledging your good employees is the actual key to keeping them.
Look around your office. These are employees who don’t complain when asked to do something outside of their comfort zone, who are willing to learn new things that will benefit the company, while also filling in gaps with a smile on their face. These are the superstars who make your job easier and a lot less stressful. Now to ask the question: Are these superstars being acknowledged fully and completely for all the good work they’re doing?
Here are just 7 things you can do to keep your superstars happy in your dental office:
1. Acknowledge good work
Acknowledgment ensures high morale amongst all your employees, but it is especially poignant with your superstars. It is not enough to acknowledge that they are doing a good job, however; acknowledging that they have a positive impact on the company is absolutely the gold medal of compliments. Doing so gives those hard workers purpose and reminds them that what they’re doing actually matters in the grand scheme.
Alex, our CEO, and author of “Responsible Dental Ownership: Balancing Ethics and Business Through Purpose” is experienced in hiring and retaining employees and understands that the millennial generation is less about the money and more about pursuing higher meaning and purpose in the work that they do.5 So if you are not only monetarily keeping your best workers happy but also ensuring that they are using their talents effectively, then you are creating an environment in which they will love to come to work every day. Be a boss that acknowledges talent and how that talent contributes to the dental practice’s success, and you will keep your superstars for life.
2. Take suggestions seriously
When one of your superstars has a suggestion, you can bet it will benefit the company. That is their goal, bringing up ideas that will help the company succeed and give patients more of a reason to come back. As an example, a good friend of mine is one of the best and hardest workers I know. Always doing what’s best for the company, and trying to take stress off his boss. He is a superstar and he has been working with this particular company for over 10 years and the industry for nearly 40.
One day, he made a suggestion about how to get the others on board with changes the floor supervisor wanted to make. Often, his boss acknowledges his good work by telling him he’s doing a great job; however, on this particular day, his suggestion was completely ignored. It was then that my friend said, “his words don’t mean anything if they can’t actually be backed up by an action.” In this case, that action was listening and possibly implementing his suggestions. Moral of the story here is simple: Actions speak a lot louder than words, and by being ignored, my friend felt that his boss undercut all the times he acknowledged his superstar’s good work.
These superstars in your dental office are superstars for a reason. They do know what’s best a lot of the time. So listen to them, and more importantly, take their suggestions seriously. Words mean nothing unless they can be backed up by action. “If you want to keep people, then involve them in the decision-making process.”2 Sure, you might not be able to make all the changes suggested, but make changes where you can and let your superstars know that you truly and sincerely value their input.2
3. Don’t micromanage
I have worked in a few different positions—cook, cashier, customer service representative—and I consider myself to be a hard worker, helping out where I can and reducing stress where I can. However, the biggest no-no for me in any job is being micromanaged. In the beginning, it makes sense for the boss to be there, to answer questions and offer assistance. But after a certain length of time, it is no longer necessary to have someone hanging over my shoulder, sending me reminders, and practically breathing down my neck every second. This just shows me that my employer doesn’t trust me to make the best decisions possible for the business7 and severely scars my morale and purpose for continuing to work there.
To retain your superstars, avoid micromanaging like this at all costs. It is necessary to be available for any questions, but it is not necessary nor is it productive to be on someone’s back constantly. Your superstars are the ones you can trust to make the best decisions for the dental practice, so let them do the job they know how to do. This, in turn, will keep everyone happy and, furthermore, help your bottom line.2
4. Set specific expectations
As a hard worker, I am always open to new and challenging opportunities, which is why when my boss asks me to perform a task I’ve never performed before, I’m on it. But accepting new challenges is not the same as not knowing what the boss expects. It is your responsibility as the boss and the leader of a team to make sure that their employees are well aware of what is expected of them. Setting specific expectations gives employees a sense of purpose and provides them with a goal they can either meet or exceed. So many times I’ve heard “I just don’t know what my boss expects from me” and it’s a phrase that usually comes right before they resign.
No employee can read your mind, which is why it is imperative that they understand what is expected of them in the dental office and how those expectations align with their purpose, the purpose of the company, and their performance.
5. Don’t hold back on promotions
Whether in a large corporate business or a small dental practice, the idea of promotions and how to achieve them is always going to be a defining factor in retaining your superstars. There is no one that doesn’t want a chance to be promoted in some way or another. And yet, I have heard the following excuse for not promoting a good worker: they are simply too good at their job.
It doesn’t matter and, frankly, it’s unfair. Not only are you not properly acknowledging the talents of your superstars properly, you are punishing them for being too good at what they do. If they are too good and there is just no way you can lose them, think of an alternative solution that will make sure they understand how absolutely valuable they are. Provide incentives, give them a raise, but don’t hold them back for being awesome. Remember, actions speak louder than words, so it’s important to understand that holding someone back from a promotion by telling them they are simply too good at their job is an insult, not a compliment and might just lose you a superstar in the process.
6. Lead by example
Leaders are crucial to how productive a team is. As a boss or supervisor, you are acknowledged as a leader and therefore are responsible for how the team behaves. Guess what, though, and some people don’t get this: that behaviour starts at the top. The best workers look to their leader for impeccable leadership. Expecting everyone to be on time for a meeting when you’re constantly running late shows that you are not following the golden rule of leadership: lead by example. All the rules you set must be followed by everyone, and everyone includes you. In fact, it should start with you. Your superstars expect a high level of competent leadership and if they don’t see it, I guarantee they will start looking for that leadership elsewhere.
7. Mutually beneficial perks
To retain good workers, give them something to stick around for, including benefits, a pension plan, opportunities for advancement, and mutually beneficial perks. As an example, my boss believes that “enhancing knowledge can result in transferable skills.”5 Which is why he offers a $500 a year contribution to any type of continuing education employees choose. Not only does this perk act as an incentive to your superstars, but it allows them to see how valuable they are and how much they can grow in the company.
Your superstars are the reason for a well-run practice and therefore those superstars should be acknowledged at every turn; but the biggest takeaway here is that words are meaningless unless they can be backed up by action, so don’t just tell your superstars how great they are and how much they contribute to the success of your practice, show them as often as you can.
For more information and more ways to keep all your superstars happy in the dental office, check out the following links below.
- 5 Things Successful Companies Do to Retain Top Talent
- 7 Ways to Keep Your Best Employees
- Keep Your Talent: 5 Employee Retention Strategies for Long-Term Success
- Business for Breakfast 7/27/18 (21:00 – 26:26)
- Zlatin, A. (2018). Responsible Dental Ownership: Balancing Ethics and Business Through Purpose. Charleston, SC: Advantage.
- Top 10 Reasons Why Employees Quit Their Jobs
- Top 10 Reasons Why Employee Empowerment Fails