Employee Retention: Engage Your Employees Early and Often to Retain Them Long-Term

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Employee Retention: Engage Your Employees Early and Often to Retain Them Long-Term

By CEDR HR Solutions

Hiring and turnover are always popular HR topics in the world of dentistry. But, with employees across the country quitting their jobs in record numbers, right now the HR experts in CEDR’s HR Solution Center are fielding questions about turnover, employee retention, and hiring from private dental practice owners left and right.

You’ve probably heard it referred to as the “Great Resignation”, but the reality of the ongoing increase in resignations is that it should be thought of as a “Great Job Hop” since most of the newly unemployed are going to have to find work somewhere. The trick is to make sure your practice is ready to attract and employ the best of those people and hold on to them when the opportunity presents itself.

High turnover costs your practice more than just good employees. In fact, estimates for the cost of replacing an employee when they go range from 33 percent to 200 percent of the employee’s salary. That means you can expect to spend more than $10,000 to hire a new person for just about any position at your practice, and much more for highly specialized roles.

Of course, some turnover is inevitable. But, when it comes to keeping your employees on staff for the long haul, it all comes down to a little thing called “employee engagement”. And keeping employees engaged all starts on an employee’s first day of work. Here are a few tips:

Set clear expectations from the start.

No matter how good you are at what you do, starting a new job is stressful. New employees have to adjust to an unfamiliar environment, learn about your practice’s SOPs, and figure out how to navigate the social landscape of their new workplace. Where you can’t prevent all of this stress for your new hires, you can at least set them up for success by making sure they are clear on their job duties and your company culture from day one. In fact, using a structured onboarding process has been shown to reduce turnover by as much as 50 percent!

Have new employees review and sign their job description.

Employees perform their best when they know what is expected of them. A good job description outlines your employee’s job duties, physical requirements, educational and licensing requirements, standards of performance, expectations for demeanor and culture, and communication skills so there is no confusion about what they will be doing in their new role.

Having your new employees read and sign the job description for their position during the onboarding process ensures that they are clear on the expectations for their job and gives them the chance to ask any questions they may have about those expectations. What’s more, having a signed job description on-hand can provide legal protections for your practice should you need to terminate later.

Click here to download professionally written job descriptions for front desk and dental assistant positions from the HR experts at CEDR.
Have new employees review and sign your employee handbook.

A well-written and legally compliant employee handbook will not only protect your business, but it will help your new employees integrate into your unique company culture while also explaining your office policies on topics like dress code and time off, outlining standards of professionalism and appearance, and much, much more.

Give your employee time to review this document completely on their first day, then make sure they sign your handbook to illustrate that they have read and understood it. Collecting a signature on your handbook builds important legal protections for your practice.

Need help with your onboarding process? You can find a checklist that makes onboarding a breeze in CEDR’s Free Hiring Guide.
Hold regular one-on-one meetings with your employees.

A study by Gallup suggests that employees would need a 20 percent pay raise to poach them from a workplace where they are engaged and very little to entice them to leave a position in which they feel disengaged. Contrary to popular belief, employee engagement is a lot more about human relationships than it is about money.

Having weekly or bi-weekly one-on-one meetings with your team members is a great way to address performance issues as they arise and coach employees on how to improve. Regular one-on-ones also make it easier to get to know your employees and find out how things are going for them both on the job and in their lives outside of work.

Listen carefully when an employee expresses a concern. Knowing how and why an employee is struggling, whether at work or in their personal lives, can give you the chance to offer solutions that you may not have even thought you needed to consider.

If an employee resigns, hear them out.

When an employee resigns, be respectful of their decision and treat them with as much kindness as you can muster. After all, the rest of your team will be watching as this process plays out. We also recommend that you provide them with an exit interview form to see if there is anything you can learn about your business from their departure that might help you hold onto the employees that are still around.

Similarly, should you see the need to terminate someone, do so in a way that keeps their dignity intact. Be quick and honest with your termination meeting and up front with the rest of your team without oversharing to prevent trouble brewing in the ranks.

For help with terminations and resignations, download CEDR’s free Separation Guide.

Turnover is part of running a practice. But, by engaging with your employees and tuning into their needs in a balanced way that also serves your practice, you can have a direct impact on your practice’s ability to keep employees on your team. And, if done correctly, the end result is more money for your practice and a better working environment for everyone on your team.

Have questions about hiring, retention, or employee engagement at your practice? Contact CEDR HR Solutions or crowd-source answers from more than 9000 of your peers in our private, professional Facebook Group, HR Base Camp.


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