From your specialist dentist who is a master at a handful of important tasks and your dental hygienist who does a thorough cleaning quicker than anyone else to your dental assistant who is incredible at placating anxious staff and your dental receptionist who tries to make sure everyone attends their appointments on time, there are many moving cogs in the machine that is your dental practice.
They say, “The whole is only as good as the sum of its parts,” and it’s definitely true when it comes to the world of dentistry. No matter how skilled, talented, qualified and experienced your staff are, your practice simply won’t be able to compete with other high performing offices if your employees don’t feel happy and enjoy working with you.
If you answer a resounding “Yes!” to all the questions below, you’re doing a great job and your dental staff love working with you. But if you answer quite a few “No”s, there’s a chance you’re not the great dentist you thought you were and your dental staff don’t enjoy working with you.
Take our quiz and find out!
1. Do your staff know what’s expected of them?
Clear communication is key when it comes to running a successful dental practice and many problems arise simply due to the lack of it. It’s important you have job descriptions for each of your employees, describing their areas of accountability. It’s not a member of staff’s fault for not performing a task if they never knew it was theirs in the first place.
2. Is your practice visually-pleasing?
The way your practice looks doesn’t just affect your patients — it affects your staff, too. Having to work in an environment which has seen better days, with unnecessary clutter, aging decor and worn furniture will wear down even the most dedicated employee.
If your practice has seen better days, consider giving it a little makeover. You’ll be shocked what a lick of paint, some new artwork, modern furniture and some fresh flowers can do to improve the atmosphere in your dental practice.
3. Do you treat them like equals?
As a dental practice owner, you might be in charge of your staff, but you can expect to get a lot more respect if you show them some, too. When working with a dental hygienist and treating a patient, it’s easy to say no more than the few directions necessary to get the job done. But, assuming it doesn’t get in the way of the treatment, a little friendly chat goes a long way.
Above all, make sure you treat your staff with respect when speaking to them in front of patients. People make mistakes and it’s important you never lose your temper when speaking to employees in front of patients.
4. Are you providing your staff with a harmonious work-life balance?
A true work-life balance is something we all search for, yet very few of us find it. When you run a dental practice, you know how many patients you need to see and how many treatments you need to perform for it to be profitable. But this shouldn’t come at the cost of your staff’s wellbeing.
If you find yourself giving your staff far too much overtime, refusing vacation days and groaning when someone gets sick, it’s time to reduce the burden for everyone and hire some temporary staff.
If you hire dental staff with Cloud Dentistry, you can search hundreds of profiles created by dental professionals in your local area and chat directly with them to find out which ones would best suit your practice. When you work with temporary staff, you pay an hourly rate set by the staff themselves. And if you find someone who’s such a great asset to your business that you want to hire them permanently, you can do so with no additional fees.
5. Do you encourage them to continue their training?
With ever-developing technology and research, dentistry is a field which is constantly moving forward. In order for your dental practice to stay ahead of the competition, it’s important your staff continue with their training and education. Many dental practices don’t stop at just encouraging staff to continue training — they even offer to cover the costs and hold their job for them until they return.
If you’re concerned about paying a small fortune for your staff to improve their skills, see it as an investment for your business. When they return to work, they’ll be more knowledgeable and will be able to provide more complex treatments which you can add onto your list of services. Showing your staff that you’re willing to invest in them is also a fantastic way to prove to them that they’re a valuable part of your team.
6. Do you show your appreciation?
Everyone likes being told they’re good at their job and the same is true for your staff. It doesn’t matter if someone has worked for you for 10 years as a dental hygienist or 10 minutes and a temporary dental assistant, if someone excels themselves, congratulate them and let them know you appreciate them. Small gestures like this go a long way.
7. Delegate and share responsibility
It can be tempting to take on too much work as a dental practice owner, especially if you just recently opened. But this will quickly lead to burnout on your part. Instead, help your dental staff feel more like an integral part of the team by delegating tasks to those suitable to carry them out.
Even if it means hiring temporary dental assistants or temporary dental receptionists to help ease the workload, sharing responsibility will help you feel better and improve the flow of your workplace.
8. Do you hold regular team meetings?
One of the best ways to prevent staff from leaving your practice is to fix problems as soon as they arise. As a dental practice owner, there’s a good chance you’re a very busy person and your staff members might not find many opportunities to let you know when something’s not right.
To ensure they don’t simply walk out the door, it’s important to set aside time once a week, or at least once a month, when staff can raise any concerns they have. If you know about the problems, you can find solutions before they can get out of control.
Sometimes staff members will have an issue they don’t want to bring up in front of everyone else. To combat this, it’s worth letting your staff know that you’re available on a certain day at a certain time if anyone wants to go to your office to chat about anything.
What your results mean
When it comes to running a dental practice, it’s easy to be so focused on certain aspects of the business, like maintaining high patient satisfaction, that you totally forget about other parts of your business, such as ensuring your staff are happy and feel valued.
While you might feel like you’re the captain of the ship a lot of the time in your dental practice, your business simply couldn’t survive if it wasn’t for your dental staff. If there are any questions above you answered “No” to, consider why that is and how you can change it.
Creating a pleasant working environment in which everyone feels like an integral team member who’s valued for the unique skills, talents and personality they bring to the table will result in a fantastic organization with a great work ethic that can be seen from outside as well as within.