You could be the best dentist in the world, with all latest equipment and plenty of paying patients, but if any members of your staff are unhappy, your practice will have a hard time reaching its full potential.

Some dental employees sounded off recently in an online forum about ways their bosses could improve conditions at their respective workplaces. A couple of samples:

“Offer bonuses based on production, incentives to do better that are like rewards or pats on the back! Say thank you when it’s due. Demand positive attitudes—including from yourself—around and towards patients.”

Another one said: “What you need is a strong office manager. It is up to the office manager to handle the problems in the office, not the doctor. If a person wants to work for you, then there are rules to be followed, and the office manager makes sure the staff follows them.”

When you’re running a dental business, you want to eliminate turnover as much as possible. Hiring and re-training is expensive, time-consuming, and disruptive. Customer service suffers, and so does morale.

A survey conducted by Robert Half, an international recruiting and placement firm, found three major reasons good workers leave their jobs:

  1. Limited advancement opportunity (39%)
  2. Unhappy with management (23%)
  3. Lack of recognition (17%)

While there may not be much room for promotions if you run a small business, Robert Half CEO, Max Messmer, says there are some other ways to prevent valuable staff members from jumping ship:

  • Find out whether employees are happy with their roles and with you by keeping the lines of communication open. Seek opinions from employees on changes that might be needed.
  • Provide incentive plans, such as profit-sharing, that reward effort and success.
  • Good work should be recognized and praise given whenever appropriate.
  • Set clear goals and realistic expectations.
  • Maintain a good, usable manual for policies and procedures.

Lastly, part of reducing turnover is hiring the right people in the first place.  A potential employee is likely at his or her best at the interview. If you see the potential new-hire as someone you can or need to grow, you are likely hiring the wrong person, unless you see your business as a training center for other businesses. You can only grow the employee who wants to grow. And they will grow in spite of your efforts. Therefore hire the talent to get the job done, and inspire them to grow and be better.