DR. ACE GOERIG
OWNER & CO-FOUNDER
A recent Harvard Business Review analysis indicates that pandemic-influenced resignation rates are highest among mid-career employees in the 30 to 45 years old range, and also among healthcare workers. Translation: well-trained, educated and experienced people are more mobile than ever in the job market.
While media reports focus on shortage trends (how many teaching, trucking, and nursing positions are vacant, etc.), just one vacant position in your practice can create huge business challenges. Endodontic practices don’t operate with a lot of “fluff” in their staffing. Everyone plays a vital role, and the whole practice is built around everyone being in their place on a daily basis.
Obviously, a resignation initiates an immediate recruitment drive to find a new person. Debra Miller, Director of Coaching, shared some tips last year for recruiting. But recently, many doctors have found it is very difficult to find a new person at the same level of proficiency of the person who is leaving.
Impact of the Experience Gap
In most practices, a new team member who lacks experience creates an immediate ripple effect on overall team productivity. Even small things can take longer. Communication can suffer. Mistakes occur more frequently, which can lead to stress and drama. In short, the rhythm of your team is disrupted, and daily flow is disturbed.
This can be more pronounced in highly productive teams where the teamwork and systems of the practice have been tuned for higher performance and optimized at a more nuanced level. The finer details of teamwork that make the practice particularly productive often aren’t even perceived by an inexperienced new team member.
Even if you can replace a team member with someone equally experienced, it’s important to remember that they will also come with baggage that interferes with productivity. That baggage is the systems and procedures that they are accustomed to in their previous practice. That can be significantly different than the standards in your practice, which creates an alignment issue.
Maintaining Success During Turnover
Often when I look at the historical performance factors of a practice, I notice a sequence of months where there was a sudden drop in productivity … sometimes by as much as 10%. That equates to over $7000 per month in an average practice. Questioning the doctor often reveals those months are when a key team member left the practice.
The only way to maintain productivity and flow in the face of staff turnover is through an effective and focused training program. It is even more important when you can’t hire at the same level of experience. Instead, you should hire for attitude and then train, train, train them up to the level you want.
Most doctors under-invest in team training in general, which is why many practices linger in the average range and under-achieve their possibilities. Growth in an endodontic practice is largely driven by the team, and a team without training resources can rarely improve on their own.
Training is never more important than during staff turnover and yet doctors often make the barest of efforts to provide training. They hope the new person can learn on the go by osmosis, and that other team members will fill in the gaps when needed. This kind of passive approach prolongs the pain of staff turnover.
Your team is the human capital that drives your business success. Practices need an active strategy for training, especially for turnover and also for growth in general. It’s always a useful process to ask yourself if your team is at the level that it should be at, if each individual team member is at the level that they should be at, and what is your plan of action to get the team to the right level? … And keep them there!