And How to Better Position Your Practice for Success
The Great Resignation continues to impact every workplace. People have quit their jobs at an unprecedented rate, transitioning to new opportunities in the wake of the pandemic. This has left organizations scrambling to operate and manage customer expectations during heavy employee churn. And the dental industry hasn’t been spared either.
Find out how the Great Resignation affects dental offices, and what practices can do to keep their employees happy.
What is the Great Resignation?
The Great Resignation is a phenomenon in the post-pandemic era in which droves of people quit their jobs or switched careers.
A survey by Microsoft revealed that over half of Millennial and Gen Z workers are considering leaving their jobs this year. And 35% of Gen X and Boomer workers are also thinking about changing their work.
There are various igniting factors that led to the Great Resignation. From economic reasons to the death of job loyalty, people are looking for better-paying jobs with better work culture and work-life balance.
And the dental industry was affected as well. Some staff resigned to take care of their families, others to seek healthier work environments. The effect of COVID was felt in every dental practice in their own way.
And the Great Resignation is far from over. The general change in the attitude towards work and workplaces is set to continue driving people to change their jobs.
How Has the Great Resignation Impacted Dental Offices?
Dental offices still feel the effects of the pandemic. From lacking PPE during lockdowns to patients suffering from avoiding preventive care, the dental industry took a hit. And now, the Great Resignation makes it harder for the dental industry to retain staff.
Discover how some dental offices fared during the pandemic, and how they’re meeting their staffing needs.
Changes in Day-to-Day Operations
Dental offices struggling with staffing due to the Great Resignation still need to find a way to care for their patients.
“We have no choice but to make do with our current roster of staff. If someone calls out, then everyone just has to pick up the pace to cover for the personnel shortage,” says David Chen, DDS.
Luckily, some practices, such that of Dr. Brian Harris, found some relief to staffing shortages in the form of technology:
“My day-to-day operations have completely changed after my staff resigned. I had to automate booking appointments and customer service by introducing chatbots to the mix. This helped me take some workload off my plate. As a result, I could focus more on my dental practice rather than the itsy bitsy things around the office.”
Patient Care in the Great Resignation
While some practices go on relatively unscathed in terms of patient care despite the Great Resignation, others didn’t fare so well. And patient experience and satisfaction may feel the fallout.
“The wait time that used to be a few days to schedule a certain procedure has gone from days to weeks,” says Dr. Michele Bishop.
The Great Resignation can affect more than just the patient experience. It can also affect patient health.
“For most dental patients, changes to care have impacted the health of patients. The routine patient care was interrupted and increased dental emergencies. Cavities were not being diagnosed or monitored leading to pain and infections. Dental offices are still trying to catch up on patients making it harder to get an appointment with the dentist when in pain,” says Elizabeth Graves, RDH.
Culture Changes in the Dental Office During the Great Resignation
Many employees who left their jobs recently have cited the need for a positive work culture and a healthy work-life balance. People don’t want to work in a stressful environment.
Dental offices that prioritized employee satisfaction before the pandemic have fared well during this phenomenon.
Meanwhile, some practices that lost staff during the Great Resignation felt a change in culture for the better, such as this one:
“The staff that remained with me felt happier with their jobs. That’s because I revised their salary packages to compensate for the high inflation. As a result, this improved their productivity and job satisfaction,” notes Dr. Brain Harris.
Even some dental offices that haven’t consciously changed their work culture felt some improvement.
“Dental teams have been under immense stress due to the mix of challenges they face in their work, personal, and social lives,” remarks Dr. Greg Grillo, “But we've developed a deeper sense of respect for each other and our patients realizing that no one is immune from the effects of the pandemic.”
What Can Dental Offices Do About the Great Resignation?
While there are a multitude of best practices to follow when you’re running a dental office, dentists highlight two tips that can lower the effects of the Great Resignation.
1. Treat Your Team Like Family
Dr. Michele Bishop takes workplace culture seriously. She says that dentists should "foster the mindset of your team at work is your family. Help them grow and succeed in their job but allow them the independence to innovate new ways to help the practice. Treat them like the stars they are - no dental office can function without a cohesive well cared for team.”
Dr. Greg Grillo adds to that, “There's not a cookie-cutter solution to practice success. But we've proven that core values of respect, courtesy, and empathy carry a lot of weight in stressful times.”
2. Automate Your Processes
Automation in the dental office doesn’t just save you time and money. It also makes the workload of your staff more manageable and can lead to a less stressful work environment, higher productivity, and lower turnover rates.
The experience of Steve Mascarin highlights these points:
“We’ve used technology to make us more efficient and effective. Tasks that can be automated, like confirming appointments, we automate. Creating systems that manage routine tasks automatically frees us up for the most important work we do – taking care of our patients.
Creating a climate and culture that promotes education and training for new tech keeps us fresh and makes us better and the business more profitable.”