Why the Staff will Stay
21 Oct 2021 - Simon Palmer - Seller : Preparation Staff

It is quite common for practice owners to be fearful of how the staff will react if they learn that their practice is for sale. 

While it is, of course, always possible that a practice could experience some staff attrition when it changes hands, it is, in fact, extremely rare. 

Believing that the staff will quit when they hear that the practice is being sold is to believe that the only reason that the staff is there is because you are the owner, that your ownership is somehow so good that no one could fill your shoes and that staff will believe that they are better off leaving, rather than even trying to work for the new owner. This way of thinking is perhaps a little narcissistic. 

As good a boss as you are, you can rest easy as there is probably a multitude of reasons why your staff work for you and will stay when you sell.  For example:

  1. Financial

Simply put, for most people, quitting your job usually represents more financial risk than staying.

Chances are that your staff are working for you, not for a love of the job or for a love of the business owner, but out of some financial necessity. While it may be the right time and financial conditions for the owner to retire or try something different, it would be a huge coincidence for your staff to reach that same juncture at exactly the same time. 

a. Staff who stay maintain their current salary. 

There are no promises that they will get the same or better terms elsewhere.

b. Staff who stay maintain their current leave entitlement accruals.

  • Staff who quit could lose their long service leave entitlements (Depending upon the state that you are in, how long you have worked for the practice and your reason you are leaving).
  • Sick leave (now called personal/carer's leave) is accrued at a rate of 10 days per year (For full time, pro rata for part time) and these days are cumulative. Any outstanding sick/personal/carers leave that an employee has on resignation is forfeited and not paid out. For long-term staff, this can be a huge amount to just give up.

2. Convenience

People are often geographically restricted by where they can work. It usually needs to be within a certain distance from where they live and their kids go to school. It is rare that there will be an equivalent or better position, with equivalent or better pay available at the time, within the geographical limits of where they will consider. 

3. Respect and job competence

Staying at their current location means a transference of respect from their old boss and team to the new boss. They can continue to work in an environment where they are proficient with the tools/software that are available, how to use them and where everything is kept. They know the strengths and weaknesses of the team, whom they can count on for assistance and whom they can’t. They are familiar with the equipment in the office, the patients, reps, suppliers, neighbouring businesses.

Starting at a new practice will mean “earning their stripes” from scratch, proving their worth and starting to earn the trust of their new boss and team, while at the same time learning how to do their job in a new environment, with new procedures, new tools, new unknown team-mates and, as a result, with compromised competence, at least initially.

In short, if your staff are currently happy with their jobs, leaving it would usually mean less financial security and losing leave entitlements, to work in a position that may not be as convenient and that they will most likely be less competent at. 

Why would they put themselves through such an ordeal just because you are selling?

The truth of it is, that if your practice is for sale, most staff will be far more fearful of leaving their job than they are of the new owner. 

 

For more articles about staff interactions in a dental practice sale, click here: