Cultivating a fulfilling work environment and cut down on turnover.

Your team is your most valuable asset. A happy, focused team not only improves your patients’ experiences and comfort, but also serves as the foundation of your practice’s success. While not all employee turnover can be avoided, the loss of employees due to the workplace environment can largely be prevented.

Cut down on unnecessary loss of team members and boost overall satisfaction by doing these 10 things.

1. Set realistic weekly expectations.

Creating realistic weekly goals that make employees feel productive, valued, and recognized. Help employees set weekly group and individual goals that provide some type of visible marker for accomplishment. Implement five-minute daily huddle check-ins and one main weekly goal meeting to discuss group and individual goals as a team. Don’t forget to include yourself in the process of setting weekly goals. Your staff need to see you walk the talk, and this will go a long way to fostering team morale.

2. Provide constructive and supportive feedback.

A lack of feedback can be detrimental to employee happiness and productivity. When you notice a team member has met a goal, performed well at a task, or you notice an area of care they could perform better in, don’t hesitate to reach out. Most importantly, provide feedback in a manner that is constructive as well as supportive, and don’t forget to include a balance of positivity and critique. It’s also not enough to just give the feedback, make sure you and your staff member discuss ways they can foster the positive behavior in others, or how you can support them to close a skills gap.

3. Encourage team members to take on new challenges.

Continuing education is crucial for each and every team member. Whether it’s participating in an online day class or signing up for an entire course, team members should be encouraged to take on new challenges that will help them grow as professionals. Help spur this growth by asking employees how they would like to improve their own skills. Providing time off work for a dental assistant to achieve certification in hygiene is a great example of how you can support their continuing education goals.

4. Make a point to connect with team members individually.

As important as the team unit is, it’s also vital that you connect on a personal level with each team member as an individual. Each employee is unique and deserves some dedicated time with you to talk, discuss any issues, and share feedback. When you have a strong bond with each individual employee, you’ll find that the entire team unit will naturally share this same bond and professional harmony.

5. Provide vacation days, mental health days, and flexible hours when possible.

A rewarding way to show your team that you trust and value them on both a professional and personal level is to be flexible with working hours. Provide vacation days and consider adding mental health or personal days in addition to standard vacation time. Offering flexibility to move hours around to allow for a family or personal emergency is also going to be highly appreciated by your team.

6. Celebrate success and achievements as a team, no matter how small.

When team or individual goals are met and important tasks accomplished, celebrate as a team. This really fosters camaraderie and encourages employees to come together, including employees who work in different areas of your practice, such as hygienists and front office staff. And remember, no success is too small to celebrate. Even a great week at work is reason enough.

7. Foster an environment of open communication and the ability for anonymity.

Remind your team that you value their feedback and your practice is a place of open communication. Look for ways you can make communication easier for employees, such as an employee-only social media group. Also, provide an avenue in which anonymous feedback can also be given. Some employees may have something important to share but may be reluctant to be direct with their feedback—especially to their employer!

8. Give meaningful tasks and then show trust by getting out of the way.

Micromanaging is a killer of employee productivity and satisfaction. Remember, you hired each member of your team because they are capable of the position and you trust them to do well for you and your patients. Prove this by giving them meaningful tasks and then getting out of the way so they can complete their tasks independently. Use daily huddles or weekly meetings to check in rather than hovering. Your team will appreciate this sign that they have your trust and confidence.

9. Provide very clear expectations of each employee’s position.

Every dental practice is different, so it’s important that you give employees—especially new employees—very clear guidelines on what you expect. This prevents communications issues and confusion and helps employees feel confident that they are meeting their job expectations without having to second guess themselves.

10. Never stop growing as a leader, dentist, and business owner.

Your team and your patients rely on you to never stop growing as a leader, a dental care professional, and a business owner. Striving to achieve the best for yourself pushes your team to also challenge themselves and grow as professionals. It’s also important on a personal level to learn new skills and take continuing education courses to remind yourself of why you love dentistry, and to ensure you are offering your patients the highest level of care and comfort.

You and your team can increase their expertise through Dr. Williams’ orthodontic courses.

Dr. Williams—or Dr. Brad as he prefers to be called—provides a number of seminars and educational courses focused on orthodontic care in general or family dental practices. As a dentist, you’ll find a number of straight wire courses that will give you the skills and confidence to begin incorporating orthodontic treatment right away.

Dr. Brad also provides orthodontic assistant training courses and orthodontic practice management, which may be an opportunity for a member of your team to develop their skills and stretch themselves professionally, so they can grow in their role without needing to leave your practice.