What dental practices can learn from the Great Resignation

Many companies have realized the importance of positive work culture since the COVID-19 pandemic spurred the Great Resignation.

The dental industry is still recovering from the Great Resignation as practices work to hire dental assistants and hygienists, the two most challenging roles to recruit during the pandemic. Fostering a positive work culture has become a critical recruitment method.

Barry Lyon, DDS, a chief dental officer for the division of orthodontics and pediatric dentistry for Dental Care Alliance, recently spoke with Becker's about the role office culture plays in a dental office's success:

Editor's note: This Q&A is part of a weekly series featuring Dr. Lyon focused on topics in the dental industry and DSO field. This response was lightly edited for clarity and length.

Question: What effect does office culture have on a dental practice's success?

Dr. Barry Lyon: The success of a dental practice, whether private or supported by a DSO, depends on a multitude of tangible and intangible factors. Controlling expenses, efficient scheduling, providing quality care and effective revenue cycle management all contribute to the growth of a practice. The potential for their contributions to success depends a great deal on office culture. If the heartbeat of a practice is fluttering, the health of the practice suffers.

Ask any seasoned practice owner what the greatest challenge of running an office is and they’ll reply, more often than not, that it’s the development of a cohesive and stable staff. All of us remember the peak of the Great Resignation, the timing of which could not have been worse. Why were some practices able to continue to thrive while others did not? The answer to that is office culture. I learned long ago that the offices with the greatest revenue, the lowest expenses and the greatest retention of employees were the ones with positive cultures.

Practices with the greatest successes have employees who work with them and not just for them. Developing this relationship requires effort and understanding, especially of Generation Z, whether they are dentists or staff. Having them identify with the practice is crucial to developing a positive culture. Gen Zs want clear goals and feedback and exposure to technology, desire inclusivity, need career growth opportunities, and probably most important, want a work-life balance. Providing these needs will go a long way toward a positive culture and employee retention.

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