The right benefits can motivate your team to excel

2016 05 24 14 35 52 802 Mc Kenzie Sally 2016 400

Everyone loves to get a raise but, when it comes down to it, most employees prefer the security of a solid benefits package to a little more money in their paycheck.

Yes, raises help keep team members happy, but they also can do a lot of damage to your practice. If you give out raises every year no matter what or because an employee has asked, there's a good chance your payroll costs are above the 22% industry benchmark, leading to high overhead and a lot of extra stress.

Sally McKenzie, CEO of McKenzie Management.Sally McKenzie, CEO of McKenzie Management.

Paying an employee an extra dollar or two an hour might not seem like much, but it can leave your practice struggling to make ends meet if the extra money just isn't there. You're left unable to invest in the types of technologies and office upgrades that allow you to provide the best experience possible, which could cost you patients.

To make matters worse, your team members will have no motivation to improve their performance. After all, they already received their raise, so, to them, they must be doing something right. That means nothing improves, and your practice continues to suffer.

Of course, raises can be effective when handled properly, which is why I suggest developing a clear compensation policy and following it. With this policy, make it clear what it takes for employees to earn raises and when they will be discussed, and only give pay increases if the practice can afford it. You can quickly determine this by conducting an employee salary review. In just about 10 minutes you'll learn exactly how much more money you need to bring in to cover pay increases.

The good news is that raises aren't the only way to reward your employees. In fact, offering the right benefits package can be even more motivating. Why? It's what they want. Almost 80% of workers value new or additional benefits more than a larger paycheck, according to Glassdoor.

Want to learn how you can use benefits to motivate your team members? Read on.

Start with the basics

You know employees want a benefits package, but what does it take to create a solid offering that helps you attract and keep the type of team members who contribute to practice success? Most are satisfied with core benefits, such as health insurance, paid leave, and retirement plans, according to Glassdoor. They want these basic benefits more than specific perks like stock options, free gym memberships, maternity/paternity leave, childcare assistance, and dependent care.

Of course, offering fun perks and ancillary benefits also helps to keep morale high. Who doesn't want a free gym membership? Just remember these types of perks won't seem nearly as nice if they're meant to replace the core benefits employees want most. Get the basics right, then add extras as you see fit.

Do a little research

The type of benefits package you provide says a lot about your office culture. It also can help you stand out from competitors, which is crucial when trying to attract top-notch team members. So, when putting together your benefits package, I recommend you take the time to find out what other practices in your area offer. If yours doesn't stack up, you might want to make some adjustments.

Get input from your team

Your team members have an opinion about the type of benefits they want, so ask them and use their responses as a guide when putting your package together. And if you ever need to make changes to your existing plan, let team members know ahead of time. Talk with them about which benefits are most important to them before you make any adjustments.

Remember, any changes made to those three core benefits will have the most impact on current and potential employees. If you ever do need to adjust or completely cut a core benefit, ask your employees what ancillary benefits they want most and then offer them if you can. Doing so will help make the change a little less painful and will show you want to do what you can to keep team members happy.

It's also a good idea to find out how changes similar to what you're planning have affected other practices before you pull the trigger. And again, be sure to keep cuts to core benefits to a minimum.

It's not just about raises

Everyone loves to get a raise, but when it comes down to it, most employees prefer the security of a solid benefits package to a little more money in their paycheck. That's why I suggest at the very least including the three core benefits -- health insurance, paid leave, and retirement planning -- in your offering. Omitting just one will make your practice a lot less attractive to job seekers.

It comes down to this: Providing team members with the benefits they want will give them more reasons to stay loyal to your practice and more motivation to excel, helping you to grow practice productivity and your bottom line.

Sally McKenzie is the CEO of McKenzie Management, a full-service dental practice management company. Contact her directly at 877-777-6151 or at [email protected].

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

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