“Listen to the sound of the river if you want to catch fish.”
Now this is a phrase that has always resonated with me because of its simplicity, and I have recounted it many times to dental practice owners.
I first heard it from Feargal Quinn, founder of the Superquinn Supermarket chain when I was fortunate enough to attend one of his keynote speeches at a business seminar.
The hugely successful chain of supermarkets sold in 2005 for 400 million euros, so you could say he knew a thing or two.
The last year has changed the flow and direction of many a river and the ‘dentistry river’ is not immune from it.
Many of you are experiencing the positive effects with burgeoning appointment books – however – employment issues are beginning to really impact on the business of dentistry.
Dental nurses are turning their back on their career for an easier life and there is a definite shortage of new entrants to replace them. The drop in hygienists is also having an impact and the associate market is looking likely to go through a period of change as independent practice jobs look particularly attractive post pandemic.
All issues that can be resolved with the right approach and the right leadership and perhaps the loudest noise coming from the river is that of dental nurses.
I am hearing some superb positive examples of proactive business owners already altering hourly rates and looking for proactive ways of rewarding their teams. You simply cannot work without support teams, it is one of the hands that feeds you and your business.
With that in mind it is important for practices to look at why staff go to work and why they want to work for you.
Some of the reasons could be down to the culture and the team, they believe in what they are doing and have a purpose, they appreciate and respect their co workers, they have a business leader who encourages them, and they genuinely care about the company.
I know that each and every practice is plate spinning at the present moment like never before, but it is key to take the time to listen to your people and in turn they will recognise the value you place on them. And while doing this also revisit your pay and reward and recognition systems.
The independent dental river is currently flowing rapidly and is showing no signs of slowing, so, listen to the river if you want to catch fish!