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Happy Dental Team

4 ways to retain your dental staff during trying times

Sept. 13, 2023
Yes, there's a dental staffing shortage, but it doesn't have to affect you and your practice. Following these steps from Dr. Roger Levin can help you keep the staff you have.

There’s no question, and this is based on real studies and data—dental staff longevity increases production. In other words, the longer your staff is with you, the more likely you are to have high production and gain high practice profit. 

We’re in an era where dental staffing is very challenging. The best way to avoid having to recruit, interview, hire, and train new staff members is to keep the team you have in place and grow their skills and capabilities. These four recommendations will help you keep your team in place.

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Become an exemplary leader 

Being exemplary means leading by example. Simply identify four or five traits you would like to see in your team and begin to demonstrate them every single day. Don’t make any announcements about what you’re doing. Simply let your team notice these new leadership behaviors. In most cases, it will not take long (only a few weeks) for some team members to begin to adopt your new character traits for themselves. Staff members like to stay with a leader they respect. 

Be a consistent leader 

Staff members don’t like inconsistency, and this breaks down trust. If you decide to demonstrate punctuality, you follow through for two weeks, but then you turn up late every day for a week, you’re basically saying that the team cannot look to you as a leader to determine how they should act.   

Create a positive culture and environment 

Staff members today will not stay with a practice that is not positive. People are more willing to resign positions and change jobs than ever before, and in dentistry they can find a new job in about five minutes. Negative environments, criticism, unpleasant days, stress, and frustration will gradually drive some of the best staff members to seek employment in other practices. A positive culture starts with the leader being positive every day and viewing every option or challenge from a positive viewpoint of “What are our options for solving this issue?” 

Communicate openly and honestly 

Team members will no longer tolerate secret information or surprises that are sprung on them. People want to feel that they are part of the practice or even like a partner in the practice. Making people feel this way is how you build an ownership mentality and create a long-term team. By being open and honest, even when it’s uncomfortable, you’ll gain loyalty, accentuate trust, and inspire feelings of belonging to the practice on the part of the team. 

These recommendations will help any practice to increase staff longevity. A well-trained, smooth-running team knows what to do and is efficient. This creates many opportunities to increase practice production and profitability and will also make each day easier and more fun.

This article originally appeared in DE Weekend, the newsletter that willelevate your Sunday mornings with practical and innovative practice management and clinical content from experts across the field.Subscribe here.

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