Have you noticed reduced staff productivity, increased absenteeism, carelessness, or heard unwanted feedback from patients? If so, your team may be experiencing symptoms of burnout.
Working in a dental practice requires the staff to cope with anxious clients, manage scheduling issues, and perform a multitude of complex tasks every day. Not only does it require high focus and concentration, but it’s also a physically taxing work environment.
The American Psychological Association (APA) found that workplace burnout has risen since 2021, with healthcare workers among those who are the most affected—which includes dentists and their staff. The APA’s studies have shown that 3 out of 5 employees have reported negative impacts of work-related stress, making this a crucial topic for retention and success.
With inevitable circumstances creating hardships for dentists, COVID-19 being only one of them, practices must create an environment that combats stress. While some causes of burnout can be out of your control, there are many ways to keep employees engaged and happy at work.
Show dental employees they’re appreciated
With a never-ending list of tasks, hours of working hard, and multiple clients daily, not being recognized for hard work can substantially affect productivity or worse. According to Forbes, 46% of U.S. workers left a job because they felt underappreciated.
Making your staff feel appreciated can come in a variety of forms. You can recognize an outstanding individual performer by celebrating an employee of the month. Handing out gift cards can be an easy way to lift spirits and say thanks for their extra effort. Giving handwritten thank you notes to let team members know how much they’re needed goes a long way. Or simply dedicate time every week to call out the wins you’re noticing from individual people in front of the entire team.
Whether you show gratitude with a quick thanks, an award, or free lunch of their choice, a little recognition can go a long way.
Check in with your dental staff
Stand out from other practices and create a space for workers to feel heard.
According to Harvard Business Review, nearly 40% of global employees reported that no one in the company had checked in to see if they were doing okay. While evaluations have their perks, they are often a significant source of anxiety for workers and can lead to wants and needs being overshadowed by their progress.
Millennial dental patients and staff differ in their desires from previous generations. More than any generation before, Millennial employees put high value into businesses that create an open environment. They crave safe spaces where they can be involved, making it imperative that leaders take time to get to know their team.
If your team is more reserved or shy, try creating an anonymous survey sent out monthly or having a box in the break room dedicated to improvement suggestions. Address these responses in a big group meeting where you can reach a unanimous solution, and no one gets singled out for their idea. If timidness is not an issue, schedule one-on-one sessions with employees where they lead the discussion.
Creating a compassionate, human-centric space can help combat burnout and keep employees happy with their job. In every one-on-one meeting, start incorporating wellness questions. Ask your team what is overwhelming them, how you can support them, and check in on their mental health.
Upgrade essential equipment in your dental office
Dental practices need specialized tools and gear to ensure proper patient care and employee satisfaction. Focus on upgrading the fundamental pieces of equipment that are used day in and out.
Here are examples of crucial tools your team needs to be set up for success:
- Headsets and phones for taking calls and scheduling appointments
- Printers and copy machines for managing patient records
- Computers, administrative software, and dental membership plans
- Cabinetry that’s durable, functional, and easy to organize and access instruments, suppliers, and gear
- Sterilization equipment including autoclaves, ultrasonic cleaners, and heat sterilizers
- X-ray equipment for diagnosing and planning treatment
- Practice lighting for waiting areas, hallways, and operating rooms
- Chairs for workers who sit all day, patients waiting in the lobby, and dental operating chairs
- Personal protective equipment like masks, gloves, gowns, goggles, face shields, and sanitizers
Reevaluate compensation and benefits
Take time to research the salaries offered by competitors and see how your practice stacks up. Are you honoring your longest team members for their loyalty? Evaluate performance and see if there is room for increases or bonuses to reward deserving employees.
Along with compensation, take a look at the benefits you offer. Membership plans are an excellent option to give employees dental benefits. You can also explore less common perks, like education credits, a fitness stipend for gym memberships, or reimbursements for childcare.
Unlimited paid time off is another popular consideration. It helps employers be as flexible as possible and allows workers the time they need to live their personal life without feeling the stress of the job. And make sure your staff uses their time off—they’ll thank you for it later. The main idea is to be as supportive and flexible as possible.
Plan exciting events outside of the dental practice
Promoting work relationships is one of the leading factors in employee satisfaction. Allow your team to get to know each other outside work by planning holiday parties, team bonding activities, and exciting workshops.
Attending events outside of the practice together can really allow relationships to flourish. Spending time together outside of work will not only strengthen the existing culture but also help new employees become acquainted with each other.
Planning an event provides so much more than just a fun time. Building relationships within the team gives employees a support system on a tough day and the confidence to express their wants and needs. Ultimately, it makes work something the team looks forward to together. Besides, when was the last time you had a team dinner on the weekend or a company retreat?
Reducing dental practice burnout
In conclusion, burnout among dental employees is a growing concern that can negatively affect productivity and employee satisfaction. By taking these steps, practices can improve employee engagement and overall practice success.
And if you’re looking for tools to provide better care for patients while easing the burden on your front office team — see how Kleer can help you build a high performing membership plan that requires little administration. Get started today!