Employee retention and staff turnover are significant problems and challenges for many dental practices. And there’s no end in sight.
The current competitive job market is not only suppressing practice growth, but it is also making it difficult to schedule and care for existing patients. It is a burden on patients and other staff and can be very costly to the practice.
When even one employee resigns, it can have a domino effect on the practice, leading to an increased workload for the rest of the team, a potential decline in morale and culture, and ultimately a decrease in practice performance and profitability.
Many Practices Have Already Implemented Some Combination of the Following Strategies:
- Career advancement opportunities, when possible
- Employee appreciation and recognition
- Heart-led management practices
- Fair and competitive compensation and benefits
- Employee wellness and work-life balance
- Flexibility where possible
- Increased focus on culture
Recently, another trend gaining popularity is retention bonus programs.
Retention bonuses not only improve employee retention but can improve employee loyalty and engagement. Some practices have combined retention bonuses with smaller year-end bonuses and annual wage/salary increases.
The challenge with larger annual increases is their cumulative nature and compounding impact in the future. Once you give an employee a raise, you can’t take it back the following year.
Factors to Consider When Implementing Retention Bonuses:
- The amount needs to be significant enough to be appreciated and gives employees an incentive to stay, but not so generous that the bonuses use up all of the profit in the practice.
- Retention bonuses should be a cascading program of overlapping bonuses so that employees always have an incentive to stay. If you pay a retention bonus today, make sure you’re announcing the next round of the program today too. You should always have the next round in place when the current bonus is paid so that staff always have the incentive to stay with your practice.
- Be clear with communication. Be authentic explaining your reasons for the program. Show genuine appreciation for your staff and their importance to the practice.
- Be transparent that the program will change as the job market changes. If the job market loosens, the program may scale back or be eliminated.
There is no one solution to the current staffing issue. Implementing a retention bonus program can be one option to retain more of your top talent. Reach out to SVA and let’s chat about your practice needs.
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