Employee Retention at the Lean Dentist’s Office


leanblog.org | Lean Blog: Q&A With the Lean Dentist, Part 2

This is an old post from 18 months ago, but someone asked Dr. Sami Bahri about retention in his office.

The response from Dr. Bahri:

Employee retention is actually very easy in my office. Some people have been with us for 16 years or more. To be specific, we look at employment at two levels. The first level is what I call the “core staff,” those who decided that they like our culture and have been with us for a long time. We do everything to keep them. The second level comprises the new employees who are testing the culture. If we find a compatible member in the second category, we do everything we can to add them to the core.

Usually, within a week or two, a new employee would either like our culture and stay for a long time, or feel repelled by it and leave. Those who stay get infected with the “Lean virus”. It becomes almost unthinkable for them to work in an environment where they can see waste and not eliminate it. They won’t work if their opinion is not heard. Since my office has no competition in the Lean and “respect for people” environment, It is usual for my people to come back after they’ve found that the grass is actually not greener on the other side. They also come back after long maternity leaves, after a spouse’s job transfer or any other reasons that force them to stop working for a while. Even if they moved to another office, they would still come and help us when a seasonal demand exceeds our capacity. We like to think of our office as their professional home, they can go wherever they please, and come back to Bahri Dental Group. It is not officially employment for life, but it sure is very close in spirit.

I hope I answered your question to your satisfaction.


Sami Bahri, DDS

Are people in your workplace infected with the “Lean virus”??

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

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