Employees who go the extra mile

March 1, 1997
Want to have your practice hum with people who work hard, enjoy what they`re doing, and pull together to make and keep your practice successful? The way to start is to address your employees` job-related needs and create an environment that is so satisfying that they will want, really want, to "go the extra mile."

Bob Levoy

Want to have your practice hum with people who work hard, enjoy what they`re doing, and pull together to make and keep your practice successful? The way to start is to address your employees` job-related needs and create an environment that is so satisfying that they will want, really want, to "go the extra mile."

At the outset, how important is money to this process? Up to a point, very important. But money has less motivational power than many dentists believe. Skeptical? Suppose you gave everyone on your staff a $1,000 raise starting tomorrow. How much harder would they work and for how long?

In truth, there are numerous factors that affect motivation and job satisfaction in today`s new world of work, among them: work that is interesting and challenging. Some 30,000 readers of Working Woman ranked this number one in answer to the question, "What makes a job satisfying?" How is it done? On-the-job training; job rotation and job enrichment are a start. It`s giving people a chance to learn and grow on the job; tackle new assignments that require what industrial psychologists call s-t-r-e-t-c-h. The principle involved: the competence of most people is increased when given a challenge and with it, their sense of achievement. And it`s achievement that leads to motivation, not the other way around.

Action steps: provide opportunities for employees to upgrade their job skills; work with more experienced personnel, attend CE programs, order supplies, interview job applicants, lead staff meetings or educate patients. The change-of-pace and challenge of such assignments will provide a motivational shot-in-the-arm for employees with this job-related need.

Bob Levoy is a marketing consultant, seminar speaker and writer based in Roslyn, NY. His new book, "101 Secrets of a High-Performance Dental Practice," will be published by PennWell Books, (800) 752-9764, this month.

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