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a blog by Chris Barrow

The ‘Great Resignation’ and what you must do about it NOW - a guest post by Mark Topley

I’m frequently contacted by people who have products and services of relevance to my clients. For over 25+ years I have maintained a policy that I do not accept introducers fees or commissions – I simply broadcast and comment on good ideas.

Mark Topley writes:

22.30 - Sunday evening. The Principal’s phone pings with another WhatsApp message;

“Sorry boss, I’ve found another job. I’ll chat to you in the morning but please take this message as my 1 week notice”.

The dread descends once more as the cortisol levels rise. Sleep will be difficult and yet another round of recruitment will start in the morning.

It’s the most common lament in dentistry in 2021 - I can’t find good applicants for the jobs I have vacant, and I can’t seem to keep the staff I have. One practice I heard of recently has had a 40% turnover of staff this year alone.

At the excellent London Dentistry Show on Saturday, the same reflections - staff are leaving:

  • Leaving because they’ve had enough of dentistry

  • Leaving because they are being poached by other practices

Add those factors to the fact that there is a serious shortage of suitable candidates in the market, and you have a perfect storm, in which the conditions for financially based incentives to attract staff is rising.

And it’s by no means just in dentistry. According to global pensions, investments and benefits giant Mercer’s 2021 Global Talent Trends Study - an eye watering 41% of employees plan to leave their current jobs this year.

41% of employees plan to leave their current jobs this year.

Your team has never been under greater attack.

You have to stop the rot.

You have to stop your team imploding.

You have to fight the ‘Great Resignation’.

What Matters More to Your Workforce than Money?

A recent Glassdoor study published in Harvard Business Review found some striking results that back up what I have seen time and time again. Money is a factor in where people choose to work, but it’s by no means the factor. Here’s what they found:

‘Across all income levels, the top predictor of workplace satisfaction is not pay: It is the culture and values of the organisation, followed closely by the quality of senior leadership and the career opportunities at the company.’

Mercer’s 2021 study says the same thing:

“brands that align themselves with connection, progress and a commitment to employee development are viewed positively by both employees and consumers. While 72 percent of employees felt that their employer was failing to deliver all three, for the few employers that did, 90 percent of their employees said they intended to remain.”

What does that mean in practice:

Connection - convince people not just to stay in their jobs, but become motivated to throw their whole selves into a company’s mission through an engaging leadership narrative.

Progress - help your people feel pride in being part of something bigger than themselves, and this means company achievements being known and valued by the people whose opinions matter to the employee.

Development - employees want to work for employers who help them to deliver their best, and who reward them when they do.

You need leadership

The truth is that trying to stop the team exodus with money is like trying to hold back a dam after it has broken. It’s too late and it will crush you. What is much better is to create a culture, mission and working environment that your team just doesn't want to leave. And the secret to that is simple - leadership.

Eighteen months ago if I had asked you what you were working on to make your practice more successful, I would hazard a guess that these things would have ranked high on the list:

  • A great interior environment

  • Strong systems and processes

  • Cutting edge technology

  • A beautiful website

  • An exceptional patient experience

But as many businesses in commercial history have found, these things will only get you so far. What caps the potential of any organisation, and what I believe has been the single most important factor in successfully navigating the past 18 months has been one thing - leadership.

But what if you don’t feel like you’ve got the leadership skills and framework you need?

To echo the Chinese proverb, the best time to build a culture of positive and strong leadership was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.

If you’re reading this blog post, then you still have time. And the time is now.

If you want to give yourself the best chance of stopping the Sunday night WhatsApp messages - you better learn about leadership.

The third cohort of my Confident Leader Club starts next Monday - 27th September. In this 10 week, online programme you will not only learn the fundamental aspects of good leadership, you’ll join a community of people just like you and gain strength and wisdom from each other.

“Mark’s course has literally transformed our practice. The change in atmosphere is palpable.” Susan Watt
“I now want to be the person that people want to come and work for. I want my team to be the best they can be.” Steph Durham
“The club is a systematic step by step progression. Mark is an amazing mentor and was always there for us with extremely useful, relevant advice. It was also great to be with likeminded people and amazing networking. Highly recommended” Camila Pema

You can find full details of the course here. But hurry because registration closes on Friday evening, or when we’re full.

There has never been a more important time to develop your leadership skills. And it is possible to do. And this course works.

What I want to do is to give you the skills, knowledge and confidence to lead, and perhaps to transform your Sunday night...

22.30 - Sunday evening. The Principal’s phone pings with another WhatsApp message;

“Boss I wanted to let you know that ‘that other practice down the road’ offered me a golden hello to work for them. I’ve told them to stick it, because I love working with you and our team. See you in the morning”

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