When patients come into your practice do they get consistently high levels of care? Do they leave singing your practice’s praises every time? Do they refer you to their friends and family and leave you five-star reviews online?

If so, you’re in great shape. You likely have a great team working together to serve your patients well. If not, some members of your team are likely underperforming and it’s only a matter of time before they start to leave.

Here are four things you can do to keep your best team members from leaving.

1. Invest in continuing education.

If you are not investing in continuing education for your team members, the best ones will eventually leave. It’s human nature for people to want to learn new skills and advance in their careers and personal lives. The best workers want to feel challenged and supported in growing in their business and personal lives. They don’t want to spend decades in a job they believe is a dead end.

Help your best team members feel fulfilled and excited about the future by giving them opportunities to improve. Start a book club. Take them to dental events, like the Dentistry Live Summit or a Smiles at Sea dental cruise. Buy online courses or coaching for your team.

By doing so, you will be showing your team members they don’t need to leave your practice to grow. The best team members want that in an employer.

2. Give your team members the tools and resources they need to succeed.

One of the most frustrating things for team members is being asked to do something but given the tools to do it.

Do you want your team members to collect online reviews? Give them training about how to request reviews and tools to make review collection easy. Do you want them to call patients with unscheduled treatment? Ensure you have your practice management software that makes identifying patients with unscheduled treatment easy. Do you want someone to spearhead a campaign to attract more patients seeking high-value procedures? Consider appointing a point person and getting help from people who specialize in the procedure you want to promote, such as the dental marketing experts at Driven Dental Implant Marketing.

Do you give your team members the tools and resources they need to perform their jobs well? If not, it’s only a matter of time before they leave.

3. Give frequent, helpful feedback.

Not only is giving frequent, helpful feedback good for your team members but it is also good for your practice. For example, it is one of the best ways to keep all team members consistently improving. That benefits both you and the practice. Also, frequent feedback ensures you address small issues while they are small and fresh in people’s minds. Leaders who wait for formal quarterly or annual reviews to address issues often risk alienating team members who have long forgotten the issue by the time the review period arises.

In addition to those benefits, frequent feedback helps ensure team members get used to constructive criticism without fearing for their job. This is very important for the culture of your practice. When team members are more concerned about losing their job than they are doing the right things for patients, your entire practice culture and patient experience will suffer.

Frequent feedback is not enough, though. Be sure to give helpful feedback to team members when doing so. Helpful feedback lets people know what you need to have corrected, why it’s important to correct it, and how to perform better in the future. If someone isn’t answering the phone properly, “you need to answer the phones more pleasantly” isn’t very helpful. But you could say, “We are promoting high-value procedures a lot lately. Patients who need these types of procedures are often very nervous about going to the dentist and often need help affording their treatment. When you answer the phone we need you to come across as knowledgeable and empathetic. I prepared this sheet to help you talk about how we can help patients fit their treatment into their budgets. Also, it’s been proven that people come across as empathetic over the phone when they are smiling as they speak. Let’s all make sure we are smiling whenever we answer the phone.”

That short instruction lets people know you need them to be extra sensitive and knowledgeable and gives them a sheet of paper to use when discussing financing as well as a simple trick to come across as friendlier.

4. Create opportunities for advancement.

Your best team members will want to move up the ladder. They will want to advance in their careers. Make sure they don’t have to look elsewhere to find those opportunities.

Creating opportunities for advancement starts with understanding your team members’ career goals. Ask them what their goals are for their career and look for opportunities to help them get there. Not only will this keep your best team members happy but it can also save your practice a lot of time and money. Specifically, it can be much more affordable to promote from within and recruit a replacement for a team member’s original position than to recruit someone higher up. Additionally, your team member understands the practice and the requirements of their old position already. Thus, elevating them and having them supervise their replacement can be much more efficient than keeping them in a lower position and hiring a supervisor who might bring significant change to two positions.

Are your best team members leaving your practice?

These four things make team members feel excited about the future in your practice and motivated to do their best work. If you need help implementing them into your practice, get support and direction from thousands of your colleagues in the Nifty Thrifty Dentists, Trapped in an Op, and the Dental Hub 360 Facebook groups.