Building the Type of Practice that Retains Staff

An illustration of a group dental practice

I recently joined Kelly Tanner on the Dental Handoff podcast. We spent a lot of time discussing why it’s so important to cultivate the type of practice that staff will WANT to stay in.

After all, dentistry is about relationships. And if you want to build long-term relationships with your staff, you need to be the type of leader that inspires respect.

So how can you “own the operatory” in a way that makes your practice a great place to work?

Kelly and I discussed this at length, including:

  • Learning to “read the room,” or understand the non-verbal cues your staff (and patients!) are sending 
  • Why great leaders should keep an open mind and encourage staff to share their ideas
  • How to nurture the staff development that is vital to a strong, stable practice
  • Ways to create an atmosphere where team members will strive to improve the practice — together

We also talked about how important it is to choose the right staff for your practice, whether you’re hiring an associate or auxiliary or looking for your successor. When you find someone who “meshes” with the staff and practice, you increase the likelihood of long-term satisfaction for all involved — doctors, staff, and patients.

But success isn’t guaranteed when you find the right person; rather, you should also lay out an integration plan that will help the entire practice through the transition. A good integration plan will ensure that everyone is prepared so that the new team member feels confident treating patients from their very first day.

A good integration plan varies depending on the type of transition, but typically includes:

  • Ensuring the incoming person shadows the practice at least three times to understand how the practice flows
  • Drafting scripts, a welcome letter, and website/social media announcements to introduce the new staff member
  • Ensuring all credentialing, licensing, etc is sorted out well before the first day
  • Introducing a new doctor to local specialists and community members

An incoming doctor should also hold one-on-one meetings with each staff member. The goal is to begin to build a solid working relationship. The incoming doctor should ask and understand:

  • Their respective roles and how they’ll work together
  • What each team member wants to see from the new doctor
  • What each team member wants to learn or do and what they DON’T want to do
  • Ideas for improving the practice 

Download a sample integration plan and see how it can help you streamline your next hire.

Download Integration Plan

And listen to the full podcast episode for more on building the type of practice staff will want to stay in!

See also: 

Retaining Your Dental Staff Through the Great Resignation

No Surprises: How to Prepare for a Successful Practice Transition

Your Checklist for a Successful First Week