Creating a healthy atmosphere and culture in your dental practice is key in maintaining staff and keeping them happy.
There are incredible people working in our industry! Carolyn is one of those creative and dedicated dental office managers. Her first priority is to improve the culture of her practice. The practice has doubled in size in a noticeably brief period. Knowing that there has been so much growth, she decided to find out how things were going by meeting with each employee and really listening to them. How many of you have a relationship with each employee where you have spent 15-30 minutes with them on a regular basis to learn more about what is important to them? My guess is very few. The big question then is: Why aren’t you doing this?
Carolyn opened my eyes to something else. She talked about how the company “culture” was key to hiring the right people. We all know this, right? But she took it a step further and pointed out that since they are not paying the highest salary in the industry, this is even more important. Her objective is to make sure there is a work/life balance and that employees are happy to get up in the morning and want to come to work.My guess is you have not had the time to really think about it. That is why people like Carolyn are so important to have in your world. She is an “idea person,” a leader who can stand back and see the big picture while managing her responsibilities. Leaders are visionaries who look for ways for continuous process improvement to help create a good place to work.
This conversation made me think about the biggest pain point in a dental office. That would be staffing, right? The problem is that employers have been so focused on recruiting that they are ignoring what is even more important. That is retention. The question to really ponder is, “How much time are you spending on retention?” With this dental staffing shortage, it is even more crucial than ever. You must do something to make sure your employees do not jump ship. Why? Because you will not find anyone to replace them.
What is the culture like at your practice? Is it a fun place to work? Is it a place that you are proud to say you work at? If not, that is a red flag. If you do not like where you work, how does that play out with your patients? To think that they do not sense that you are unhappy is naïve. They know what is going on in the practice. If you are seeing patient turnover, that can be a sign that things are not copacetic. Could it be that your staff is overwhelmed and burned out? Could it be that they are sharing this with the patients? My guess is probably.
Last summer, I worked in a challenging dental practice. I was not sure if the practice would survive due to the number of empty key positions. It was tough to get onboarded in a practice where there is no one to train you. The stress was taking me over the edge. This dental job was keeping me up nights. I was not sure the practice would survive. Heck, I was not sure I would survive. I realize now that my health took a precarious nosedive while working in this stressful situation. When I hired my replacement, I left. It was enough. The dentist wanted me to continue to recruit remotely doubling my salary, but I passed on that opportunity. It was time to regain my health and lower my stress level.
Think about your practice. Are there employees who are stressed to the max, having trouble sleeping at night, and not looking forward to going into work? Get to know your employees up close and personal. Listen to them. Pay attention to what can make this work environment a place that people love to go to every morning. Remember that if you are not checking in on your staff…you may lose them. That is something none of us can afford.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and share what you love about your job and what are you doing to keep your employees happy.