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Dental staff retention strategies that work include vetting employees for their work values.

Dental staff retention strategies that work

Sept. 18, 2023
While many dental offices struggle to find and retain good employees, this dentist-owner says her office doesn't have that issue. What are the secrets to a staff that stays?

Ask dentists about some of their biggest challenges running their dental office, and many of them will talk about hiring and retention. Finding a contented and motivated team significantly impacts patient satisfaction and the overall efficiency of a dental office. Practices can avoid these retention pitfalls by implementing a hiring process that vigorously vets the right people and keeps them through a strong company culture that values them.

Here are a few ways dental practices can improve retention.

Financially reward your team

The main key to attracting reliable applicants is competitive compensation. Running a dental office is expensive, but employee compensation is not the place to cut costs. You get what you pay for, and a good clinic makes sure they offer salaries and benefits in line with or above industry standards. Conduct regular reviews and consider performance-based bonuses and raises to reward excellent employees.

You might also be interested in: 3 tips to improve poor employee engagement

If you want your team to value their workplace, they must feel valued first. Reviews are a great way to gauge performance and give the owner and employee a productive way to discuss how they can work better together.

Foster company culture

Foster an atmosphere of trust and open communication. Include the team in decision-making, especially with bringing on new team members. Remember, you are building a healthy team, and that’s one that enjoys being around each other. Productivity is influenced by enjoyment. Also, encourage the team members to share their ideas and concerns freely. Create opportunities for team bonding through activities like team lunches or office outings.

Our team really values team-building exercises. If you want your team to stick around for the long-term, consider fostering an environment where you get to know everyone on a personal level. People do better when they feel safe to be themselves. We are committed to each other in and out of the workplace and are a part of each other's lives. Reliable employees will stay at your practice if you genuinely show you also value them on a personal level. 

Have an employees-first mindset

An “employees-first” mindset is counterintuitive for many dental practice owners, but employees should come before patients. The logic is simple; if your employees are happy, it’ll reflect in how they treat the patients. Show your team you respect them, and also ensure they are respected by patients.

Remembering that your team has a personal life and encouraging them to have a healthy work-life balance can go a long way. Show your team you’re dedicated to their personal and professional growth. This could mean encouraging them to participate in continuing education or even to go back to school to further their education if they feel inclined. A healthy team needs to know their leader is invested in their personal growth, so don’t be afraid to help someone better their life. Be confident that it’ll come back around. 

Lead by example and show gratitude

As the leader of your dental office, you set the tone for the entire team. Demonstrate professionalism, respect, and a strong work ethic. When your employees see your commitment to the practice, they are more likely to mirror these qualities.

Finally, practicing gratitude will help you attract more positivity in your work environment. The team will feel affirmed by their leader's attitude of gratitude. Nobody wants to work in an environment where they feel unappreciated; this can create an insecure and hostile workplace. I encourage all business owners to always have gratitude internally and allow it to radiate to their staff. Vocally express your appreciation for the team, and even reward them with small personal treats. They deserve it.

I recommend the book Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek. It can help dentists learn the qualities of great leadership.