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How to Improve Company Culture at your Dental Office

Great pay. Benefits. Career advancement. These are all job perks that employees may cite as a reason for staying at your dental business. Have you also considered what you bring to the table with your company culture? If you haven’t, take a look at these best practices for creating a top-notch workplace and company culture at your dental office.

What is company culture?

It’s hard to provide what you can’t define, but company culture is recognized as a company’s shared values, goals, and attitudes. Much goes into a company’s culture, from the way it treats employees to how it fosters communication and growth.

With a “toxic company culture” being blamed for much of the high turnover in some industries, it’s wise to consider how culture affects your dental employees.

5 ways to improve dental clinic company culture

Not every idea on this list can be implemented immediately, but working toward them can increase employee satisfaction in dentistry businesses of all sizes.

1. Show empathy to everyone

Care is contagious, and the way you treat your patients translates to how employees treat one another. If you are especially caring with all your patients, asking questions and showing interest in their lives, you will set an example for everyone in your business.

Be sure to do the same for your employees, too. A double standard (showing kindness to patients and not employees) is a recipe for resentment within your group.

2. Encourage teamwork

Tasks outside a job description shouldn’t be off-limits for those wanting to help. Assisting a reluctant or scared child with their first cleaning is an example of something everyone can be a part of, even if it’s not “their job.” Ask your employees how comfortable they feel supporting team members in other parts of the office. You may be surprised at how long they’ve wanted to help but were reluctant to show initiative. True dental team collaboration often just needs your permission.

You can also hold regular team-building activities both inside and outside the office. Simple exercises don’t need to take all day and can include everything from “ice breakers” to less formal group lunches.

3. Create traditions

Setting up recurring fun activities or volunteering opportunities can go a long way toward building a healthy company culture. It gives employees something to look forward to and brings everyone together for shared memory-making. Parties, potlucks, and themed days are easy and affordable ways to celebrate and can renew enthusiasm throughout the year.

4. Celebrate wins

Recognizing achievements in dental practice employees is a low-cost thing you can do every day. While you can continue “employee of the month” programs and other more-formal programs, positive words of affirmation, hand-written notes, and public call-outs create a positive work atmosphere and don’t exclude anyone.

One word of warning: Don’t be insincere. If someone isn’t warm to patients, don’t offer false praise. Instead, focus on their efforts and what they have gotten right; positive feedback builds confidence and helps employees grow strengths over time.

5. Prioritize safety

Horror stories of workplace harassment and abuse can dominate HR headlines, but they don’t have to happen at all. By staying alert to what’s going on in your business and keeping communication lines open, your team is more likely to come to you with problems before they become serious. Don’t discount the value of regular training on appropriate workplace behavior; not everyone has the same employment background or ability to know what’s expected.

Take the steps needed to put safety first, whether it’s a more open office design, doorless exam rooms, better lighting in the parking lot, or security cameras. These protect employees from unwanted interactions and mitigate the risk of patient abuse. If you aren’t sure what other opportunities exist, ask your employees what they need to feel protected.

Next steps: Honestly assess opportunities

If you’ve suspected a flawed workplace culture for a while, you may already know the things that need to be changed. It’s also possible you have few ideas but are open to learning. Whichever the case, go into your improvement plan with an open mind and consider that the problems may go deeper than what a change in process can resolve. If you have been accused of having a “toxic” workplace, be prepared to assess every part of your business, from hiring to billing, to get at the heart of the issues.

Fostering a positive dental workplace isn’t a one-and-done checklist to accomplish. It’s a long-term employer value proposition that maintains the DNA of your workplace as one that’s admirable and lasting.

It also begins long before you hire your team members. From the very first job ad you place, you are communicating something about your workplace culture. With Wizehire for your dental recruiting, you can ensure consistency in every detail and keep your culture goals in check. 

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