Fostering a positive culture in your dental practice can be beneficial to your bottom line and easier than it may seem. Use these simple tips to help create a working environment where employees and patients thrive.
Why is a Positive Culture Important in Dental Practices?
When you create a constructive working environment for your dental practice, you help:
- Increase productivity
- Increase employee and patient satisfaction
- Increase employee and patient loyalty
- Improve your bottom line
- Reduce the number of errors in your practice
- Foster a fun place everyone looks forward to coming to
Five Steps to Creating a Positive Culture
1. Set a Positive Tone for Patients
Your patients are the bread and butter of your practice and without them, nobody in your office would have a job. It's critical that you first and foremost work on creating a positive environment for your patients, especially considering that some people may have a great deal of anxiety about going to the dentist.
How to Do It: Train your employees on good customer service techniques. Give them tips on how to make patients feel welcomed, such as acknowledging them as soon as they walk in the door to smiling and answering questions in a friendly, kind manner. Make sure your staff knows that patients come first, always.
2. Foster Good Communication
Communication breakdown is one of the key challenges of busy dental offices. When communication isn't fluid between staff members, every aspect of your practice can begin to suffer. You'll need to go the extra mile to make sure that the lines of communication remain open and that both employees and dentists feel heard.
How to Do It: Have a short meeting every morning to set expectations for the day. Allow a few moments for employees to make you aware of any issues that may impact the day. Host a working lunch once every week or two where you can meet with your staff and take a deeper dive into solid communication.
3. Cross-Train Your Staff
It's inevitable that hygienists, and administrative staff will need to take time off, sometimes unexpectedly in the case of illness or emergency. If your current staff isn't cross-trained to do different jobs, your practice (and your patients) can feel the sting of the missing employee.
How to Do It: Ensure your staff is cross-trained to perform different jobs in a pinch, but avoid cross-training a single employee to know how to do more than one other job (or two if the jobs are closely related). Employees should feel capable of doing the second job when needed but not overwhelmed by too many responsibilities.
4. Create Bonding Opportunities Outside of the Workplace
It’s likely your employees want to bond with you and become invested in your practice and your team as people. Creating bonding opportunities outside of the workplace might help you achieve that.
How to Do It: Host a monthly dinner out (or in!) or a seasonal picnic and holiday party where employees can bring their families and get to know everyone outside of your practice walls. Give your employees a chance to get to know everyone in your practice as people, and you'll notice that your bonds at work may begin to strengthen.
5. Recognize Employees for Positivity
Employee recognition is huge in any workplace, but it's especially important for working environments that are innately stressful to a certain degree. The dental industry certainly fits the bill, so make sure to keep employee recognition on your list.
How to Do It: When your employees go out of their way to help a patient, resolve a conflict with another employee in a positive manner, or engage in any behavior that helps foster a positive culture, recognize them. A thank you email or even a Post-It note can suffice for quick, daily kudos. In cases where employees deserve more recognition, consider a small gift at the end of the month given during staff meetings to recognize and reward staff members who went out of their way to create positivity.
There's No Better Time to Start Than Today
Fostering a positive work environment at your dental practice can have significant benefits for your patients, your employees, and your bottom line. When it comes to creating a positive culture in your dental office, the cost is small and the payoff may be huge. You can start creating a more positive dental practice anytime– even today.
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