Episode 96 – Requested Replay: Growing Your Dental Business
“If you’re going to grow your business, you need to grow your people.”
Building and retaining a fantastic team is key to building your Investment Grade Practice™.
But so many dentists and business owners struggle with their team and office culture. In fact, it can be downright debilitating when good team members leave, and you struggle to figure out why.
There’s been a trend in dentistry to hire people outside the industry – retail, customer service, etc. – and teach them dentistry. The funny thing is, these people often end up being the best team members.
So what’s the secret? The secret is, there’s so much to learn in dentistry. Yes, money is important. Everyone needs to be in a job they feel gives them financial security. But for most people, that’s not their biggest concern in the workplace. Employees who see a path to growth, to continual learning and development they are more likely to stay.
Something I think we tend to forget as business owners is our employees – our team members – are not just taking direction from us. They are adding their own talents, skills, and personalities to the workplace. So we, as business owners crafting our Investment Grade Practices™, need to know how to find and retain those people who will invest their time and skills into the kind of practice we want to build.
Join me for today’s podcast with my very special guest, HR Management specialist, Dr. Adrienne Reynolds, as we discuss how to find and retain quality team members and:
- What drives them
- What character traits they have
- What work environment they seek
I always say if you’re going to grow your business, you grow the people, you know, not grow in widgets, you’re growing people, and I had you, you totally have blown my mind here today. This is my nugget from the podcast that intentionally look for people who don’t measure up 100% that probably there is a big shift right now in dentistry to hire non-qualified people. If you say non, non-previous experience. So there was a big exodus from frontline health, healthcare workers. The pandemic you know, brought to light, but dentistry can be you know, very toxic environment, you’ve got the radiation, you’ve got biological, things like that, and at some point, if you’re getting paid $9 an hour you go, “I don’t know, if I really want to do that.” So the pay scales have changed, the requirements have changed, and what employees are demanding in terms of safety and growth and contribution is shifting, and so I’m hoping that our doctors feel that trend, and they’re hiring on people out of hospitality and retail and customer service, and then teaching them the dental, and maybe, maybe you’re tapping into why those employees stay for so long, because there’s so much to learn, right?
And, and they can see if employees can see a path of growth, and it doesn’t necessarily have to tie to any position titles or, you know, moving up a proverbial ladder, but if they can see a pathway of continual growth and development, yes, that, as you said, it ties back to Maslow’s hierarchy. You know, yes, money is important. Of course, money is important, but for everyone, unless money is their absolute driver of you know, “Well, I’m, I’m not self-actualized unless I have or Hermes bag,” or, you know, whatever. For everyone, at some point, a 10% pay increase, while they wouldn’t turn it down, is not going to be a motivator. Okay, at some point, there is a monetary level at which people feel secure and safe, and absolutely employer should be paying that. You know, it should not be, “Oh, gosh, I wonder, you know, how am I going to pay for this medical issue or how, no.” It’s, I totally disagree with employers that do not understand that you have to pay enough to take money off the table, but then once you do, then you have to provide that ability for growth and continual learning, especially, we’re in 2021, things are changing so rapidly, whether it’s from technological advancement, or even, we’re seeing such more rapid changes socially, not only in the US, but around the world, that, it for anyone to be successful from, say for the next 50 years. So I’m talking about, you know, maybe entry-level, or fresh out of college, students coming out, they have to be prepared for continual change in continual learning and continual development, and so the mindset also of, “Oh, you’ve graduated, you’ve got your bachelor’s or your associates or whatever it is, so you’re good to go.” No, no, no, no, no, that’s just the beginning, and so that has to be inculcated into the organizational culture as well. That continual growth, continual risk-taking, that is appropriate. The ability to make mistakes through and learn from them has to be encouraged and not punished, and that’s also a critical thing about you know, how to get the most productivity, the most passion out of your people. Well, give them room to be human and learn and try and make mistakes and contribute, you know, and not just be micromanaged and do this and if it’s not your job description, no, no, no, no, you can’t do that.
Stay in your lane.
What a difficulty it is though for and you see it everywhere it you know, the authoritative top-down type of management’s breaking apart, and there’s this balance between certainty and predictability in the role yet variety to grow, and striking that right balance. So not every day is not a new day. Hey, right. That day, I don’t know, what do you feel like doing, you know? There’s, there’s this system, I often I often think of it as, as a dance, right? You think about ballroom dancing, you’ve got the man the masculine energy that holds the framework, and the woman that gets to flow, you know, kind of in and yes, it sounds like that’s what you’re describing to your business has to have enough structure and framework that we know the rules of the game and where we’re going, but then freedom to how you get it done.
He’s been sitting in all my classes, because yes, in one of when I teach leadership to my undergrad, my sophomores, I start the week off with a clip of Fred Rogers and Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dancing, and have them describe to me what is it that they’re seeing and you know, and most of these kids have not tried ballroom dancing, but they kind of understand the mechanisms of it, and if not, then I give them a quick intro into what that means and it’s exactly this, I said, “Well, you have a framework, okay but imagine if you were only watching Fred Astaire dance.” Now, granted, marvelous dancer, but Ginger Rogers brings that extra component, and so those two together, you know, it creates that, you know, a synergy that’s greater than the sum of the parts type of thing, and I said, “Here’s what you as a business owner or manager have to realize that as you’re providing the structure, you, you know, maybe kind of guiding her with your hands of how to where you’re going to go next on the dance floor, but she is looking just as marvelous as you are, but she’s doing it backwards and in high heels.” So think of your employees, they’re not just taking direction from you, they are adding in their own capabilities, their own thoughts, their own talents, and the most successful business owners harness that, they recognize it.
So they provide structure, but if an, if one of their employees has an exchange with a customer, you know, or client, and something happened from that, and that sparks an idea, and then they need to have the voice to bring that to the business owner. So that, you know, “Oh, I never thought about that, but wow, that that could maybe really enhance our business.” You know, I’m trying to tell, I’ve seen three different dentists since I’ve moved to the state of Missouri and nobody seems to have nitrous oxide here, and I still have horror stories from my childhood dentist, who I mean, I can still smell the office, it was one of those 70s you know, scary places for kids. So even when I go to get cleaning, I’m the biggest wimp I want nitrous man, I’ve got relax and if you don’t have nitrous, then I’ve got to find some value or something because I just, I have that childhood fear, and so since moving to Missouri, it’s like, “What do you mean, you don’t have nitrous?” I mean, Florida, maybe we’re a bunch of babies in Florida because everybody has nitrous in their offices. So I’m trying to put the word out to every dentist I go to,” Hey, get some nitrous in here.”
Now to you and I’ll put the word out here.
St. Joseph, Missouri and so
All right, we’ll see what we can do. We’ve got a big network around the country.
Okay, yes, please get the word out because they’re not getting it. I guess their employees have no voice because I tell every hygienist and every assistant that comes in my cubicle when I’m there, like, “Please tell them to get some nitrous I don’t know maybe the cleaning?” Yeah.
Oh my gosh, Adrienne, I want to spend an entire day with you. I really do, but you brought so much to the table today. Talking about growing the people and ways of growing the people like focus. Focus on that and love the way you set it out with focus on the people and your passion, and the purpose, and then the profits come in great alignment with that, thank you so much.
You’re very welcome. Thank you for having me, and I could, I could talk all day about it, because this is my passion, is helping those in business learn this. I mean, I’ve, I’ve worked in, you know, in other fields, and I’ve been that employee that felt like a number or felt like I was, you know, being treated like an infant, and I’ve also worked for leaders where I thought men, I would follow that person to the end of whatever business goal they have, because I know I get to contribute and be a part of it and of course, it’s part of my research and my study, and I want everyone to be able to experience the type of, you know, amazing joy I’ve had and that letter type of position and for business owners to find that joy of, “Oh, wow, this actually is better.”
If you could give leaders one tip, a tip from Dr. Reynolds, that could instantly improve their leadership, what might that be?
Every employee is a human being first, and so don’t learn your employee about your employees or learn them or interact with them by their job titles, interact with them by their names, and who they are as human beings. That is my top tip for sure.
Wow, simple and yet not always easy, because of the way that we’ve been trained to be leaders.
Very true but the most effective leadership has a very high degree of empathy and emotional intelligence and you will not have either of those things at a high level, if you cannot see your employees as human beings first.
So, agreed. Thank you so much for being here today. I so appreciate you.
Oh, it’s my pleasure. I really appreciate it. Thank you, this was an honor.