Turning the Tide of Turnover

December 13, 2017 10:01 pm Published by Leave your thoughts


As a dental consultant, one of the top issues I run into with dental practices is staffing.

Many doctors have expressed the pain that turnover has caused. Why do some dental practices have content team members that stay for years, while others consistently turn over?

The employment ecosystem has changed, particularly with the rise of millennials, who make up a third of the labor force. Most stay with an employer for less than two years before moving somewhere else, and will move to obtain even small pay raises, benefits, or better schedules.

There’s no need to lose valued members of your practice. If you hire the right team and pay attention to their needs, they will be far more likely to stay with you for the long term. Here’s where you should start.

What Matters Most

Let’s look at the most important factors that affect the longevity of your team members.

Pay and Benefits

If you want to have an above-average dental practice and hire above-average people, you might have to consider paying above-average wages. They might want health benefits, or perhaps they already are covered through a spouse and would prefer a pay increase. If employees are leaving to find better pay and benefits elsewhere, the answer is obvious—you need better compensation packages.

It’s not just about providing more, but the right combination that matters to them, too. If you give a generous two-week vacation and they aren’t using it, perhaps you can eliminate the unused benefit and apply it to a pay increase if they prefer. To find out what they want, you’ll need to talk to them. Open the lines of communication!

Praise and Respect

Would it hurt you to know that the lack of a few kind words now and then might be costing you great employees and thousands in hiring costs? It’s true. People won’t stay if they don’t feel appreciated and respected.

Six in ten employees rate this personal well-being on the job as very important, and those six aren’t planning to be with their current organization a year from now. Doctors and managers need to express their appreciation for employees and develop good working relationships with them. The best offices I’ve been to have an atmosphere that is happy and inviting, where the team feels like one big family.


Millennials especially are looking for opportunities to learn and grow. They want to feel a sense of purpose in their roles and understand how they fit in with their team. They want to know how their efforts are fueling your success and how you are different from your competitors.

Close to nine in ten millennials rate growth opportunities as very important and left their last employer so they could change roles. This is great news for you; your team members probably want to handle more responsibility and learn new things (they’re just afraid to tell you). Provide them that opportunity and everybody wins.


Employees care far more about work-life balance than they used to. If your practice is stressful, communicates poorly, or doesn’t have the manpower to be flexible with schedules, even great team members might leave for another opportunity that is more conducive to their needs. Even the best of us sometimes get burned out. Without talking to your team members about what their needs are, you won’t know what you can do to keep them.

Communication Is Key

Many things have changed since I first started in dentistry, but one thing has stayed the same: practices that suffer turnover usually have a communication gap. Great employees that work well with patients might not be comfortable discussing their needs with you. Work to ease the channels of communication in your practice.

If mutual respect doesn’t exist between you and your team members, you may never get the opportunity to right the ship before they walk out the door forever. They look to you, as the owner of the practice, for guidance and leadership. You are the communicator-in-chief.

Be proactive with your team, lead conversations about what they want for their futures, and they will continue to work with you down the road.


~Linda O’Grady

Tags: ,

Categorised in:

This post was written by Linda

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *