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7 Strategies Dentists Can Use to Improve Employee Retention

Maintaining employees is a vital aspect that most dental offices tend to ignore. However, this practice is a perfect way to build a competent team. While employee retention has many benefits, it's not always easy.

For example, increasing salaries and incentives may work for some team members, but not for others. Learning the most suitable ways to keep your employees happy and listening to concerns can reduce job abandonment and resignations. Here, we offer the ultimate employee retention guide by discussing seven creative strategies.

1. Discuss Expectations Clearly

Do you wonder why most new employees don't abide by your practice's culture or code of conduct? It's possible you didn't set clear expectations during initial onboarding. There may even be vague statements in your handbooks/resources that are open to different interpretations.

For example, you may have told your bookkeeper that you need them to provide reports midweek, instead of giving a specific deadline. While you mean by Tuesday, they may schedule it for Wednesday, especially if the office is open all week.

To avoid confusion that may lead to conflict, it's advisable to be specific about what you expect from each member of your team. It also helps to check for understanding during your coaching conversations to ensure that the employee truly understands what is expected of them. Gaps can typically be identified at this point, allowing you the ability to clarify if needed.

Create an employee handbook providing all this information and distribute it to each of your employees upon their day of hire. In addition, encourage the team to ask for more details if they don't understand your instructions.


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2. Make Employees Feel Welcome and Comfortable

Conflicts and disagreements in your office can make some people on your team feel uncomfortable. If you don't solve such matters, It’ll affect your employee retention rate. One way to make everyone feel welcome is by checking in with them.

Taking this step will allow you to proactively identify any issues affecting working relationships and interactions. Encourage all employees, regardless of their ranks, to present their problems directly to you.

3. Create a Safe and Clean Physical Space

Did you know that about 36.6 million employees don't get paid sick leave? This issue forces them to report to work even when they are not feeling well.

7 Strategies Dentists Can Use to Improve Employee Retention

Unfortunately, having a sick person in the office can be catastrophic for your entire practice. For example, when your dental associate has a cold, they may pass it to patients and other employees. Many states require employers to offer paid sick leave as a requirement. Reminding your employees of available sick leave is always a good idea. Even if your state/practice only offers unpaid sick leave, it’s still prudent to remind employees of their rights and benefits!

HR for Health has the ability to track sick leave hours — one of many ways we make payroll headache-free.

Improve employee retention by providing a safe and clean office. Liaise with your janitorial or housekeeping team to ensure that the environment is suitable for both employees and patients. Additionally, it’s more important than ever that you follow current CDC and local health department guidance regarding best practices for cleanliness. As quickly as such guidelines have been evolving since 2020, it’s vital to listen for updated announcements and engage in your own due diligence. 

Another way to improve employee retention by creating a safe space is through open communication. Encourage your team to let you know if they notice potential health risks. Moreover, ask them for ideas on improving compliance and boosting safety in the office.

7 Strategies Dentists Can Use to Improve Employee Retention

4. Respect Internal Processes

Having a boss or leader that doesn't respect the rules they require employees to follow can be frustrating and cause a hit to morale. Your employees are looking to you as the leader to model proper behavior and the expectations set forth for employees so your behaviors should match or exceed what you expect from others.  It's always crucial to observe the code of conduct and other policies you set in your office. Failing to do so may result in a lack of buy-in from your employees.

For example, if you want the entire team to be in by 9 AM, ensure you also report by that time. Moreover, follow the specific communication channels you require them to use.

Abiding by your internal processes can improve employee retention by making your team understand that you also respect rules. Besides, it ensures that all operations run smoothly, increasing employee satisfaction.

5. Stay in Communication

Are you looking for a straightforward way to improve employee retention in your practice? You can start by ensuring everything you communicate is well-delivered and understood. Avoid covering up problems affecting the office or service delivery, as this can deteriorate trust.

For example, if your practice has seen a decrease in patients, inform employees so they can help brainstorm ways to increase revenue. It's also advisable to consult them before making major decisions, like changing your Electronic Health Record (EHR) system.

Some communication strategies you can apply to boost employee retention are:

  • Regular meetings
  • Email updates
  • Using collaborative software
  • Updating the employee handbook
  • Requesting feedback from employees

Maintaining proper communication is the best way to ensure each employee knows the activities going on in the office. This measure then improves employee retention by building long-lasting relationships and trust. With HR for Health’s software, you have the ability to send messages to your employees electronically, making this process simple and effortless.


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6. Be a Mentor

Did you know that lacking proper guidance and mentorship is one key reason most employees switch jobs? Providing your team with the help needed to grow technical and soft skills can increase employee retention.

7 Strategies Dentists Can Use to Improve Employee Retention

An ideal way to mentor them is to observe their behavior when interacting with patients. After that, correct any mistakes made politely but professionally, then follow up later. Be sure to document the follow-up conversation.

With the ability to document and store coaching conversations and other evaluation tools in the cloud, HR for Health makes employee review and retention a breeze.

When your team feels you take pride in helping them grow, they will be more willing to learn. This aspect can increase employee retention and expertise in your practice.

7. Recognition

Recognizing excellent work and effort has many benefits that can improve employee retention in the long run. Some of these pros are:

  • Promoting teamwork
  • Reducing work-related stress
  • Increasing engagement
  • Greater work satisfaction

While recognizing your employees is crucial, you should also understand everyone on your team. This way, you can ensure that the appreciation method you use feels genuine. Explore meaningful gestures, like making a personalized note or giving event tickets. Alternatively, acknowledge excellent work through a simple email or comment in a meeting.


For extra tips on increasing employee retention, check out this webinar replay:

Use Them or Lose Them: How to Retain Top Talent.


How HR for Health Can Help

Maintaining high employee retention rates can reduce hiring costs and build the reputation of your office. At HR for Health, we provide software to help you manage and maintain your team.  

With an automated, cloud-based  solution, it's easy to create, store, and access clear job descriptions and employee handbooks at a moment’s notice. Our software also makes onboarding easy, and solid onboarding can contribute to higher retention rates.

Contact HR for Health to learn how cloud-based HR software, backed by industry experts, can help significantly boost employee retention in your dental practice.

Schedule an HR Consultation