What Values Should Your Employees Have?

When it comes to keeping the right people on your team, the most important step is to identify what they value. It’s easy to get caught up in how proficient a person is at their job and overlook their lack of passion or values. 

A good example of this is when I coach people that bought a practice and need help connecting with the staff. A common comment I get is:  “I’m nervous this person will leave. She’s been here forever and everyone knows her.” 

If the person that has been there “forever” is a great example of the values you want on your team, then why would she leave? But if not, then why would you want her on your team? 

If you establish support as a core value and she values control and influence then most likely she’s not a good fit for you, the other employees and especially the patients. It makes employees cynical when you talk about how we all need to support each other yet a leader in your practice is anything but supportive and you allow it.

Keep in mind that people want to feel significant and that they belong. Patients and employees are not going to leave a practice they are connected with because of one employee. It’s not easy finding the right practice and it’s inconvenient to switch. 

The Importance of Establishing Values

To establish the right type of values for your organization you have to understand why they are important to have. 

To have a healthy organization it starts with establishing a strong leadership team. These could be people hired for corporate roles in a multi-location organization or simply a leadership team made up of a front office leader, back office leader, and a clinical leader in a smaller practice.

Regardless, the owner and the leadership team needs to establish a vision. This vision helps motivate the leadership team to define it’s values, and establish its culture. This culture is what drives the behaviors of the staff. Those behaviors create the patient experience that helps build a brand that connects with your ideal patients. 

See why this is important? How much money does staff turnover cost you a year? How much money are you spending on marketing? Those costs diminish greatly when you have values that help you hire the right people, retain great employees, and attract your ideal patients. 

How to Establish Values

Be Authentic

The most important thing to remember when establishing values is that they have to be authentic. If you say being organized is a core value but you yourself aren’t very organized then people won’t take any of your values seriously.

Be Unique

I know many organizations have gone through making mission statements and core values that just become words at the bottom of an email no one cares about. 

The problem is that they often state the same values every organization states. Here’s a prime example: 

Shaver Dental Arts is a community focused dental group committed to providing high-quality dental care in a friendly environment. We believe every person should have access to great dental care!

As great as this sounds, every dental office should focus on their community. Every staff member should strive to be friendly. No one should provide mediocre dental care and if you don’t take medicaid then you don’t provide everyone with access to your care. 

Your core values should be something the ownership and leadership team truly believe in and practice. It should be written in a clear way people can relate to. For example: 

At Shaver Dental Group, each team member is in control of their own success. We help our  employees create a personal growth plan. This includes technical training to increase their efficiency and communication training so they are effective in their interactions with other staff members and patients. This provides a great work atmosphere and an experience our patients can’t wait to talk about. 

That statement says more about why this practice is desirable. Whether I was looking for employment or to be a patient at this practice, I know they take care of their employees and their patients. 

Do What You Say

The key here is that no matter what these values are they are practiced consistently. 

We stress to each client the importance of developing a leadership team. Even if you have small office of five people there should be a front office lead, a back office lead, and a clinical lead. One of these people should be the team leader with ultimate accountability.

Use The Right Tools 

Most practices are utilizing behavioral assessments these days but fall short on finding out what people value. Combining a behavioral assessment with a value assessment will help you not only know HOW someone will show-up everyday but also WHY. 

This knowledge is a huge advantage in making sure the employee you’re looking at will share your core values. It’s also crucial in keeping staff motivated by knowing what they value and supporting them on their journey. 

Download a sample Behavior & Values Assessment from a dental hygienist by clicking below:

About the Author Ben Shaver

For over a decade, I've guided growing dental practices and groups on how to use leadership and communication to build referable teams and memorable brands.

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