As the calendar page turned over to a new year, many of us turned introspective and thought about the year past and what we want this new year to hold. Many of us have set our new year’s goals or are considering forging a new path.
In the annual dental salary survey, DentalPost found that up to 30% of dental professionals are considering a job change this year! While better pay was a leading driver, a bigger desire for job satisfaction – including “a more positive work environment” and simply wanting to feel appreciated by an employer – were among the top reasons dental professionals consider new job opportunities.
Is that you? Or someone on your team?
For the past four years, DentalPost has asked dental professionals to respond to questions about their compensation and experience. Published each January, this survey digs into industry trends in job satisfaction, pay, benefits, and more. And this year’s report is eye-opening thanks to input from nearly 15,000 dental professionals helping to paint a picture of what’s happening in the dental industry.
It’s no secret that hiring right now is hard. Many offices are making do without a much-needed team member. Unhappy employees are dropping resignation letters and going where the grass seems greener. And employers feel like they are being held hostage by their team.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. It’s not an “us versus them” scenario. Each role holds some responsibility here. So what’s the trick to having happy employees? And the secret sauce to feeling fulfilled in your workplace?
If only it were an easy checklist to keep everyone on the team feeling fulfilled and connected, employers would knock that out at the morning huddle. But the truth is each team member needs and values different things. Taking the time to get to know the unique personalities of each member will go a long way to understanding their needs. DentalPost offers DISC and Core Values assessments to make this easy. Anyone with an account can access them for free, so you can get your team to complete the assessments and review them together at your next staff meeting. It will be eye-opening, trust me!
For me, a little appreciation goes a long way. And I’m not alone. This year’s salary survey found that the desire to feel more appreciated is one of the top 3 motivators for many dental professionals who are considering a job change. Taking the time to recognize a team member for a job well done in the morning huddle, a note, or even on your practice’s social media goes a long way in ensuring they feel valued and, in turn, stay loyal to their existing employer.
A stay interview is exactly what it sounds like–an interview to retain key players before they reach the point of no return. It’s an infrequent, proactive opportunity to individually give each team member time to express what is and isn’t working. It’s retention-based vs. recruiting-based and preventative instead of reactive, and it signals to team members that they are valued and held in high regard. This could be the perfect opportunity to adjust the sails before you get wrecked on the shore and down an employee. Read this blog for a more in-depth overview of how to conduct a productive stay interview.
Job satisfaction does not rest solely on the employer. We are each in charge of our own destiny and only we can determine what is needed to feel great about doing our job. Likewise, we must be proactive in communicating those needs. Is it updated equipment? CE opportunities? Different appointment lengths? Often this is only voiced at the exit interview (if there is one). But it doesn’t have to be that way!
I remember being envious of a colleague whose employer was sending her to a dental conference. So much so that I thought about leaving my practice and joining hers. Thankfully, I mentioned the event to my employer, who readily agreed to send me to that conference. While not all requests are as easily resolved as that one, it’s crucial for individual contributors to recognize what is important for their overall job satisfaction and communicate that need to the employer.
The grass is not always greener on the other side. Placing our job satisfaction expectations solely on an employer will follow us from position to position. Instead, it’s important to figure out what we need to feel satisfied every day. If you or a team member need help to determine those priorities, check out this alignment questionnaire (also free when you log in to your DentalPost account!). This is the first step to defining what is most important for an individual, both personally and professionally. After expressing that vision, both the employee and employer can be on the same page.
Successful offices work together. That’s why they call us a team. Everyone is searching for a workplace they feel good about going to daily. After all, we spend an awful lot of our lives there. So, it’s up to each of us to do our part to ensure that our needs are met, our team is supported, and we get the job done. It’s a delicate balance with no procedure code. But it could keep you out of the 30 percent of the dental workforce feeling dissatisfied with their work circumstances and save your practice from unnecessary churn – and the high cost that comes with it.