Healthcare is a constantly evolving and stressful environment. This has been especially true within the last year due to the pandemic. Work-related fatigue and burnout have been steadily climbing. Conflicts can arise over almost any factor, or even over nothing at all. Managing your practice is a busy job, but taking time to ensure your staff are happy and fulfilled in their jobs is especially important.
Employees who enjoy their work and are happy in the workplace are more likely to have a good work ethic and invest time into your practice. This can result in creating a healthy working environment, a safe place for patients, and a profitable investment that also saves you money. So, what exactly is the key to team retention and a healthy dynamic in the workplace? There are actually several key aspects to team retention and synergy. Here are a few tips to improve your work environment and retain team members.
Provide Tools for Success
This pointer seems simple, right? It is! You could not perform as a top-notch dentist without the appropriate tools. All employees want the tools they need to be successful, too. Start by asking your team what they need to improve their daily workflow. It could be an increased stock of office supplies or an updated phone system. If the internet connection is spotty, phone systems cannot handle the call load or there is not enough ink for the printer, how would that workday look? It seems hectic and stressful! Staying organized and providing a channel for employees to get what they need can help create a calmer, more productive environment.
Create an Environment of Trust
Providing high-quality, safe patient care starts with trust – and not just trust between the patient and his or her provider. Trust between team members is also necessary. Trust can be built in several ways. Maintain an “open-door” policy. As an administrator or manager, you want to be sure your team feels you are approachable. Take it a step further and approach your team members to ask what you can do to help them feel safe and fulfilled in their current position.
Trust can also be built by following through on requests that are made by staff in a timely manner. Be open to feedback from staff, positive and negative. In a nutshell, communication is key. In a blog about improving work environments, an executive vice president of marketing and business development states, “It ignites enthusiasm, increases innovation, builds trust and drives bottom-line results.”
Create a Positive Environment
A positive work environment sets the tone for employees’ workday. Offer spaces for employees to take breaks or have privacy away from workspaces. Obtain good lighting and keep workspaces clean and organized. A positive environment can extend beyond the office, as well. What out-of-work activities can you organize to boost morale? Employee satisfaction is important to your business’ success. Look for ways to create and feed a positive team atmosphere in your dental office.
Who does not like to feel appreciated? People want to feel appreciated by management and coworkers. However, keep in mind that people like to be shown appreciation differently. For example, some people would appreciate an email or note expressing thanks rather than receive recognition in front of a group of people. It may be useful to explore the personality dynamics and traits of your employees by using a credible survey.
Appreciation can also be shown by making the work environment comfortable, offering your assistance with a task or simply saying “thank you.” Your talented team could work at any dental office, but they chose to use their skills and experience for you! Regardless of how you do it, showing appreciation for employees shows that you value them in your business and it is a significant motivator for success.
While money is not the most important thing, your employees want to feel that they are being fairly compensated for the skilled work they perform. If possible for your business, evaluate your employees’ pay and see if they are competitive with other dental practices in your area. While companies are not required to offer vacation time to employees, this is a benefit that is highly valued by working people. If you already offer this benefit, encourage taking paid time off. If you do not offer it, investigate options for offering the benefit in the future. Sick time, designated lunch hours, and time off on holidays are also benefits you could consider for your office.
It is important to know the dynamic of your office. Do your current employees work well together? Maybe some of them are friends outside of work or have hobbies in common. When you need to hire new staff, keep your current staff needs in mind. Consider having a peer interview and listening to your employees’ opinions of the potential hire. Hiring the wrong fit for your office could bring down morale, affect workflow, even cost you another employee if someone decides to quit.
How much experience do you have in the dental hiring process? Consider using a professional company like Strategic Practice Solutions. They are experienced in staff training and education, locating the best potential job candidates, and making the overall hiring process easier for you and your business.