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Staffing: Seven Steps to Build a Superior Team

Course Number: 700

The Changing Desires of Today’s Dental Staff Member

There’s been a dynamic shift in what people want from a job today. Traditionally, business is focused on transactional employment, which can be defined as “you pay someone to do a job and they do it.” Today we are seeing a shift to what I call “relationship employment.” People have a much deeper need to derive different types of satisfaction from their work. Consider the following:

  1. Purpose. Many dental team members today work for a paycheck, but that is not their main goal. They want to have a purpose, and that purpose could be making a difference in the success of the practice, providing excellent patient care, interacting with other people, or being in a professional services environment. Having a purpose that is clearly defined is often referred to as a mission. Your mission will go a long way toward helping people feel high levels of satisfaction in their work.

  2. Collegiality. Many people also want to be part of a positive harmonious team. They want to go to work to be with coworkers that they also view as friends who are supportive, positive and moving in the same direction. People no longer want to feel anxious on Sunday night as if “I have to go to work tomorrow.” Instead, they want to look forward to going to work. They want to be in an environment that has a positive strong culture where they feel that they work in cooperation with others to achieve daily and long-term goals.

  3. Flexibility. Although this is difficult for dental practices, there are an increasing number of people today that would like to have more flexibility in their work. Between children, daycare, elderly parents, and other life challenges, they would like to be able to work only on certain days or certain hours. In fact, we are already seeing an increase in job sharing in dental practices where the dental assistant position is split between two team members to combat some of the effects of the dental staffing shortage.

  4. Growth opportunities. Jobs in dental practices often have limited growth opportunities. Team members cannot necessarily be promoted or moved to other departments easily as how it happens within larger corporations. However, growth opportunities can also come in the form of additional advanced training, bonus systems, increased responsibility, and periodic meetings to identify the team member’s interests. Leaders today have a new role beyond simply showing up every day. It is imperative that they spend time with team members to understand their individual needs and motivations, all of which leads to higher levels of staff longevity.