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Keep Your Staff for Longer

February 28, 2023

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We’ve all vented our frustrations on the forums – good team members leave with no warning for a few extra bucks, and we have to scurry around filling staffing gaps and performing treatments we weren’t expecting to do while falling behind with other tasks, including trying to hire new team members

Sadly, once the team member says they’re leaving, it’s usually too late to get them to stay. Research from Seek.com.au says that 70% of people who accept a counteroffer will depart within the following year. Added to this is the potential for other team members to hear about a colleague’s pay rise and get upset, and it becomes evident that it’s easier to put steps in place to stop people from wanting to leave in the first place.

Here are our top tips for hanging on to top team members.

Reward Good Managers (and be aware if you’re not one)

Research from workforce planning business Visier shows that 43% of people have left a job due to a bad manager. In addition, numerous other studies show that bad management is a primary reason people leave or consider leaving their jobs. As the saying goes: people don’t leave bad jobs; they leave bad bosses.

But what is a bad boss?

The clues lie in the culture of your clinic. Are your team members happy? Do they show up to work early? Is there plenty of laughter during quiet periods? 

Monthly or bi-monthly catchups with the team members are an excellent way to find out if there are any concerns. Out of fear for their jobs, employees are unlikely to speak directly about how bad their manager is, but there are plenty of clues that should lead to other questions from you – 

  • I don’t enjoy the vibe all the time
  • It’s a bit negative sometimes
  • There’s a lot of pressure
  • I feel stressed
  • I’m not sure if I’m valued

By having these catchups regularly, you’ll build trust, and they’ll soon feel comfortable enough to speak more openly with you.

With good managers, the opposite will be true. Expect catchups to be positive, short and conversational. People happy at work and satisfied with their managers tend to have less to say.

Importantly, if you’re the manager, be honest with yourself. Do you have the patience and personal skillset to make your team’s job enjoyable while enforcing policies and procedures? If not, a good manager is worth their weight in gold – both in the value they bring to the business and the stress they take off your shoulders.

Deal With Toxic People. Now.

A toxic person in your business is like a virus. Toxicity spreads through gossip, comments, passive aggression and sometimes outright aggression. 

Ironically, these people are often rewarded with leadership positions because they’re seen as assertive or confident when they make themselves feel good by making others feel bad. 

Toxicity can take many forms. Sometimes toxic people are direct – telling people what they think of them and then passing it off as ‘being honest,’ or they might belittle team members unconstructively. But they may also be negative about the business or other people at the clinic through gossip and by talking behind people’s backs. This type of negativity spreads quickly, as fun gossiping turns into a negativity contest – “you’ll never believe what she did yesterday!”

How do you deal with toxic people? Quickly. Confront the behaviour and work through it, or help them find another place of work.

Make Progression Pathways Clear

If someone leaves for a more senior position, it’s probably because they can’t see a pathway to that position in your business.

When you are having catchups with your team, ask them a very simple question – 

“What do you want to do with this job?”

When they shrug, give them a list – 

“Do you want to be a specialist? A manager? Do you want to learn new treatments? Perhaps flexibility is important to you? Maybe you hope to own your own clinic one day?”

If they don’t have any big goals, that’s fine – we need people who are just happy to have a job and do it well. However, if their eyes light up about a particular area, or they say they’re keen to spend more time with their family or want to learn another treatment, you can act on it now by putting a plan in place for their future. 

Remember to put timelines on it and communicate it with their manager and make sure they know the business is supporting them to move towards creating their ideal job.

We all instinctively know what a good or lousy workplace looks like because we’ve experienced both. Most workplaces don’t improve because action isn’t taken, and people lose hope of any change and move on to something that appears better. 

Take action now to keep your people in the business as long as possible. Also, remember when they leave, they will be advocates for your business in the market – allow them to do so gracefully, and you will reap the rewards.

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