Overcome Turnover and Staff Burnout in Your Dental Practice
For a dental practice to succeed it must have a well-trained and committed staff that provides excellent oral health care and services to patients and its surrounding community.
However, professionals in the dental industry as much as in the medical, are highly vulnerable to workplace burnout. In fact, studies show that more than 84% of dentists and 26% of dental auxiliaries reported feelings of burnout.
According to the World Health Organization, burnout results as a reaction to repeated stress, loss of energy, increased desire to take a mental break from co-workers, feelings of negativity, loss of productivity/efficiency in the workplace and more.
Feelings of burnout aren’t always 100% work-related.
At times, it’s a combination of work and personal/lifestyle causes such as:
- Long work hours
- Stressful work situations (i.e., demanding job expectations)
- Workplace conflict
- Lack of recognition / hard work
- Insufficient pay and benefits
- Uncooperative patients
- Lack of sleep
- No work-life balance (i.e., no time off for social or relaxation time)
- Negative view of self and surroundings
- Focus on “perfection”
- Need / wanting to be in control
If burnout isn’t addressed immediately it can result in turnover of qualified dental staff.
More importantly, it can have an effect in patient safety due to the increased risk of medical errors from dental professionals.
Here are 3 ways dental practices can overcome turnover and dental staff burnout:
- Communication: Establish ongoing communication throughout your dental practice. As a dental employer, create a culture where you engage your dental staff. Get their feedback and opinions when it comes to certain company policy decisions, contract negotiations, position descriptions etc. All of this will allow you to build a “solid” relationship with staff, while showing them how much they are valued.
- Maintain Commitments: Another way to show your dental professionals how much you value them is by maintaining the commitments you make. As a dental employer, if you have specific workplace incentives and benefits (i.e., bonuses, paid time off, health insurance, flexible scheduling, etc.) make sure to keep them. Preventing high turnover rates can help maintain dental employee’s morale, foster workplace productivity, and reduce costs of acquiring qualified dental candidates.
- Mitigate Burnout: Keeping in mind burnout stats, as a dental practice you should have a strategy around mitigating staff burnout. Encouraging employees to keep their wellbeing top of mind is key. To do this, dental employers must be able to recognize the signs of staff burnout in order to create resources to help dental staff manage stress, anxiety, burnout etc. In addition to these resources, employers should encourage staff to take their paid time off and sick days. To successfully keep the practice running while key staff is away, dental practices should consider working with locum tenens dentists.
Employee turnover and burnout is preventable.
As a dental employer, be proactive and create a positive work environment for your dental staff. We encourage you to try some of the recommendations discussed, but feel free to come up with your own strategies based on your own practices’ learnings.