by Lori Anne Paananen, VP, Human Resources at dentalcorp
Increased attention has been given to employee engagement and retention in recent years. Many practice leaders are now making it a top-priority, investing more time and resources into assessing and subsequently improving engagement among team members. And for good reason. It has long been suggested that engaged employees are more productive within—and loyal to—their organizations. Yet many of us fall short on engaging our employees or find ourselves stumped on where to start.
The following are a few best-practices to consider as you set out to engage your employees in the year ahead.
Take the Pulse
The start of a new year is a great time to take the pulse of your practice, its culture and employees. Employee Engagement or Opinion Surveys offer a rich opportunity to learn more about your practice environment and potential problems that may exist. They also offer valuable insight into the employee experience and can be administered throughout all stages of the employee lifecycle – from onboarding to exiting from your practice.
Generating candid and honest feedback is crucial; so, it’s important to let your employees know that their feedback will remain anonymous. Having a neutral, third party administer and analyze your survey and its results is highly recommended. That said, administering and analyzing formal surveys requires time and resources. If you don’t have these resources available at your fingertips, don’t fret—you can still gain valuable insights through active listening with your employees.
Conducting listening sessions with your employees can prove to be a very insightful experience for both you and your team members. These sessions can complement Engagement/Opinion Surveys by providing an opportunity to listen to the story behind the results of the survey; to address and further identify potential issues and areas for improvement. They can also generate feedback on the positive elements within your environment. As the success of these listening sessions relies on open and honest feedback, it’s important to create a safe space where your employees feel comfortable to speak candidly.
Your work doesn’t end here, however. How you decide to act on the information you receive is of utmost importance. It is necessary to develop and share an action plan with your employees, outlining how and when issues will be addressed and avoided in the future.
Invest in Professional Development
Investing in professional development speaks volumes to your employees and ultimately sends the message: we’re investing in you. Professional development is deeply personal, however, and won’t be the same for everyone. While some employees may be driven by monetary means or a change in title, others may seek to learn new skills or take on new challenges within their roles. Different people are motivated by different things and taking the time to discover what matters to your employees will be worth your while. That said, it is important to focus your time and efforts on employees who express a desire or interest in being developed.
Give Credit Where It’s Due
Your employees need to feel valued. Hard work with little recognition can lead to burnout and taking the time to acknowledge your employees for a job well-done can go a long way. Consider introducing an employee recognition program that spotlights employees who positively contribute to team culture and overall practice performance. This will have a dual effect—both validating your employees’ efforts while reinforcing the importance of team culture and performance within your practice. Your employees will take notice and will almost certainly appreciate the gesture.