6-reasons-why-dental-employees-leave-great-practice-cultures

You’ve done a phenomenal job of building a great culture of behaviors, systems, and practices based on core values the entire team seems to embrace. Team members support one another and work well together. You are paying them competitively and showering them with appreciation. You are recognizing and celebrating practice achievements. Everyone seems happy, and you think you don’t need to worry. Then, up pops an employee resignation, and you begin to wonder, “Why?”

Q3 2022: “The Great Resignation” Has Become “The Great Exploration”

Everywhere you turn, someone you know has taken a new job, is applying for a new job, or looking at alternative job possibilities. So, it is no wonder great employees ponder, “Should I make a career move now when there are so many job openings in dentistry?” “Is the grass greener somewhere else?” “Will I regret it if I don’t take the wide-open-jobs-market opportunity to explore my options?”

“The Great Exploration” meme piques the interest of dental workers. It represents new opportunities for financial support in the wake of months-long isolation when people took a more active “journey inward” to decipher what was most important to themselves. It might be creative pursuits, socializing, or physical fitness. Maybe even financial security, spirituality, or making a difference in the world are part of their newfound pursuits. For others, adventures, new experiences, and new achievements are worth exploring beyond their comfort zone. They might want to have a bigger voice in society, and it might be a combination and a greater balance of multiple things.

6 Top Reasons Why Great Employees Say They Leave Great Cultures

When we speak of “great cultures,” we assume that an organization’s behaviors, systems, and practices are well thought-out and clear to all employees. There are values, vision, and purpose that employees can align with and rally around. But that doesn’t mean an employee will remain satisfied and engaged within that culture. We all have needs, desires, motivations, and priorities that change throughout our lives.

Here are the six top reasons why great employees decide to make a change in their employment:

1. Growth

They are ready for greater challenges and aspire to grow personally and professionally beyond the role they have in their current workplace.

2. Change of routine

They long to move beyond their daily routines to experience change. For example, they may hunger for a different role, a different manager-employee relationship, a new environment with more elbow room, or the latest technology.

3. Wages and benefits

The grass looks greener elsewhere in terms of the wages and benefits they want to grow.

4. Unmet needs

Their personal needs for feedback, appreciation, novelty, learning, and purpose are not being met in the way they once were. 

5. toxic coworkers

One other person on the team is so negative, gossipy, competitive, or bossy that the leaving employee doesn’t want to work in the same place with that person anymore. 

6. life-work balance

They crave more autonomy and flexibility to choose their hours and to spend more time with people and activities outside of “work.”

Ultimately, what motivates the retention or movement of employees is their perception of what is or will be “the best workplace fit” for their current personal and professional priorities. And this comes down to “their sense of purpose.”

Prioritize the Individual’s Purpose to Increase Retention

Do you know what energizes every individual on your team? If you ask them what is important to them personally and professionally, you will likely discover new insights that will help you support their sense of purpose and fuel their passion for what they do. You can have one-on-one conversations about understanding their why and how it synergizes with your why.

According to London School of Economics research commissioned by Unilever, employees who have discovered their purpose are 49% more likely to report intrinsic motivation, 33% more likely to express higher job satisfaction, and 25% more likely to go the extra mile. Proactively helping employees discover their whys pays interest. The fact that you care about their whys is bonding. Now you can offer resources, support, and even coaching.

What Is a Great Workplace Culture?

Many would say workplace culture is “how we do things around here.” Standard operating procedures/systems are necessary, but workplace culture is more than how we operate. It’s about our group’s aligned priorities, mission, core values, the meaningful taglines we strive to live up to, how we treat others, what behaviors we accept and reject as appropriate, and to what extent we are empowered to solve problems and meet challenges on our own or as a group, whether we mindfully put other people first by thinking about what is in their best interest, and even the words we use. 

My list of what a workplace culture embodies is extensive, but we need a short definition we can hang our hat on, so…

A strong workplace culture exists when behaviors, systems, and practices are guided by an overarching set of values that everyone in the organization shares. When everything and everyone is aligned by beliefs and values, a dental practice can reach a point of “greatness” for smooth running and growth. 

We all might come up with different definitions, but to me, “great” workplace culture is more than just great. Workplace cultures should be healthy. A “healthy” culture is based on respect, equity, accountability, open communication, welcomed expression, and recognition. Building and reinforcing a healthy culture fosters employee engagement and long-term satisfaction with the practice. This is how we keep our best dental team members from leaving.

For further reading about building a healthy workplace culture:

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