Dental offices thrive when all employees are on the same page and feel like the conditions are there for them to thrive and become valuable contributors. Healthy and cohesive teams can only benefit dental practices because they are the driving force behind productivity. 

Especially considering the current state of dental staffing as practices try to recover from losses suffered during the pandemic, optimizing the dental office work culture improves the possibility of dental employees staying in their positions. How do you establish a strong dental office work culture? Here are some key dos and don’ts to follow.

Do: Be Clear About Your Culture

Before you can execute a good work culture, you have to make said culture tangible. Aspects like trust, respect, consistency, and teamwork are often the go-to traits that leaders refer to when defining what a work culture is and the values that everyone must follow. Of course, the work culture should have these aspects. But, they do little on their own to enact behavioral changes and trigger the kind of cultural shift necessary to make an office thrive. 

Many companies have all of the above-mentioned aspects as a part of their mission or value statements and still struggle with various detriments, including: 

  • Disengaged employees 
  • High turnover rates 
  • Silos between departments 
  • Lacking chemistry between departments and employees

Culture is less about the what and more about the how: 

  • How do leaders treat their employees? 
  • How do leaders invest in the careers of their employees? 
  • How do you improve employee engagement?

Answering the above-mentioned questions adds tangible value to the dental office work culture and creates the rules of engagement that ensure dental teams are on the same page. Establishing clearly-defined, agile mindsets, as well as preaching accountability on all sides, ensures that a dental office work culture remains consistent and can easily be followed. Work culture must be lived, experienced, and reinforced for it to have success and maintain relevance.

Don’ts: Relying on Current Skill Sets and Capabilities 

A good dental office work culture also promotes opportunity. With opportunity comes the need to upgrade the skills and career prospects of every employee on staff, whether they are dental temps or long-time permanent employees. For dental temps especially, an opportunity for skill development is one of the biggest benefits they experience when working in a dental office with a strong work culture in place. This allows them to make themselves prime candidates for internal and external opportunities, potentially upgrading their temporary statuses to permanent.

A good work culture promotes growth at every level, particularly for younger workers seizing available job opportunities. Relying on current skill sets and worrying about the costs necessary to fill knowledge gaps or upskill will put your dental practice at a competitive disadvantage. Employees will give their best to an entity that truly values their contributions, and many of them will leave if the culture isn’t conducive to growth or is entrenched with toxicity.

Dos: Building a Culture of Honest Communication, Constant Feedback

A culture that promotes a safe space for everyone to contribute and share any concerns is one that wins. Dental employees should feel like their ideas hold weight and are valued to ensure a consistently productive work environment. 

Leaders should always be asking for feedback, including when creating or reviewing a work culture strategy. Employees will only believe in a dental office work culture if they feel like they’re a part of creating or optimizing it. Whether it’s the long-time hygienist or newly-hired dental temp, every opinion should be seriously considered to create surroundings that facilitate skill development and positive morale.

Also, a strong dental office work culture encourages straightforward and brave communication. Employees shouldn’t be afraid to broach difficult subjects. The more open-minded leaders are, the better they can address negative cultural shifts and encourage accountability. Also, you prevent miscommunication, pent-up emotions, and office politics from festering.

Don’ts: Excessively Policing Behavior

If your dental employees are performing poorly, the instinct to police them constantly kicks in. This is a habit that dental leaders must shy away from.

Always be clear about expectations and, through the above-mentioned focus on feedback, work with struggling employees to determine what can be done to provide better conditions for success. Once they understand their expectations and are open about their struggles, leaders can hold them to higher standards knowing that they’ve provided a clearer roadmap to achieve these standards, so their performances vastly improve. 

Employment engagement peaks when dental employees are being held to a high standard from the moment they’re hired and when leaders aren’t too focused on minor behavioral issues. Every employee has bad days, and some take longer than others to adapt. A good work culture ensures that employees can just focus on improving rather than avoiding issues that may make leaders tick. 

TempStars helps practices spot such talents to optimize their practice’s productivity right away and further contribute to a strong dental office work culture, including a wide network of dental temps. Sign up today and learn more about our trusted services!