Navigating the challenges of providing dental care in the COVID era is a team effort that is easiest to achieve when employees find their jobs rewarding and are motivated to succeed.
Navigating the challenges of providing dental care in the COVID era is a team effort that is easiest to achieve when employees find their jobs rewarding and are motivated to succeed. Unhappy employees can create a negative environment in the practice, which can threaten to drive patients away during a time when growth and retention are crucial.
A thriving dental office begins with a leader who is willing to communicate and incorporate healthy initiatives into the daily operations that motivate employees to perform at their best.
Practice owners can set the tone for a positive work culture and help to keep team members happy with the following tactics:
Revisit your practice’s mission statement
Since resuming routine care, dental offices have had to make necessary adjustments to ensure the safety of patients and staff. In addition to implementing increased cleaning measures, some offices might be onboarding new employees, making it a great time to revisit the practice’s mission statement and define how each team member is expected to contribute to it.
Take time to write down the values and goals of the practice. Include employees in the process by asking them to establish two or three goals for their job role and for the patients’ benefit. Defining the office’s culture requires accountability from staff and provides clear expectations of each team member’s role in support of the practice. The values and goals should also be included in the employee manual for future reference.
Provide opportunities for growth
When discussing individual goals with staff, provide opportunities for growth by giving them more responsibilities. New opportunities will prevent employees from becoming bored with their jobs and give them a sense of fulfillment and a reason to perform at their best.
Ask employees for their thoughts about issues the practice is facing and challenge them to find ways to make tasks more efficient. Allowing staff an opportunity to be problem-solvers and move into leadership roles will increase their self-worth and give them more pride in their work.
Give employees the opportunity to express concerns
Working during a pandemic under new polices and protocols can put strain on employees’ mental and emotional health. Check in more often and offer additional support when possible. Extending sympathy, flexibility and grace will be critical for businesses during this time. Also include a statement in the practice’s employee manual that ensures staff have a safe place to express their concerns about their working conditions.
Practice active listening and let team members know their opinions are valuable. This not only encourages open dialogue , but it allows employers to give employees honest feedback and opportunities for coaching or training to improve skills.
Read Tips for reducing tension among dental staff members for additional guidance on mitigating employee concerns.
Celebrate small milestones
Finding joy in the small things can give team members the sense of normalcy they’re seeking during uncertain times. Incorporate innovative ways for staff to come together and share their small victories, whether work-related or personal, such as picking up a new hobby. Taking the time to acknowledge milestones will make employees feel accomplished and boost morale among the team.
Happy employees help build successful practices that attract and keep patients. Continue to offer proper guidance and promote a positive culture to keep team members productive and motivated.
More practice management tips are available in the CDA Back to Practice resource center.