Your dental practice relies on dental hygienists, dental assistants, and administrative staff to keep your practice afloat and deliver an excellent patient experience. But if your dental office is like many, you may be struggling with staffing and retention. 

Weave’s 2022 State of Dental Staffing report found that 66% of healthcare clinics were short-staffed as of February 2022. That’s why your practice needs to work hard to retain the qualified dental professionals you already have. 

These dental staffing solutions can help you improve employee satisfaction and retain great dental professionals, benefitting your dental office overall. 

Offer Competitive Compensation and Benefits

While some of the professionals on your staff may have entered the dental field because they love oral healthcare and dental hygiene, others saw the dental industry as a reliable, fulfilling way to make money. If you fail to offer competitive benefits, your current dental staff may leave your office for one providing better pay. 

You can identify the going rate for dental professionals by evaluating listings for career opportunities in your area and visiting the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Your practice should offer pay and benefits based on experience to encourage the most qualified applicants to stay at your practice and reward them for their commitment to the dental profession. 

In addition to offering a great salary to your dental assistant and dental hygienist staff, consider the benefits you can include in their employment packages to go above and beyond other practices in the dental community. These may include:

  • Generous PTO policies
  • Low-premium health insurance plans
  • Generous 401(k) matching

Provide Professional Development and Advancement

Your dental staff should see their jobs as careers — not just temporary assignments to make ends meet or fill gaps in their resumes. Providing professional development opportunities for your administrative team and hygienists can help you encourage retention, as your staff will feel a sense of loyalty to your practice. 

For example, you can provide resources from the Dental Assisting Institute to help hygienists gain the certifications to become assistants. Meanwhile, you can help your administrative staff or office managers pay for the schooling to become registered dental hygienists. 

These professional development opportunities can also help your practice find permanent placements to fill staffing gaps without needing to rely on a dental staffing agency or a full-service dental employment agency. You’ll be able to shape and train each dental professional in-house according to your practice’s goals and values. 

Automate Tedious Tasks to Reduce Stress and Burnout

Weave’s 2022 State of Dental Staffing report found that around 8% of hygienists who were employed in March 2020 were no longer employed in September of that year. Stress was likely one of the major contributing factors to this loss. 

Burnout can lead your staff to leave permanent positions they once thoroughly enjoyed. If your practice fails to address the root causes of burnout, it will create an endless cycle of searching for new temp employees to fill in the holes. 

Many factors can contribute to burnout, but one is repeating the same tasks day after day. Your practice can automate tedious tasks to reduce some of the burden on your team members. 

With Weave Dental Software, you can streamline patient communications, scheduling, billing, marketing, and a wide range of other tasks. One dental practice found that its staff saved over 15 hours per week after integrating Weave into daily processes. 

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Offer Flexibility and Accommodations

What type of employer are you: a strict, no-fuss boss who holds employees to rigid standards? Or a flexible, easy-going employer who gives reasonable accommodations when necessary? If you’re unreasonably strict, your personality toward your team members may be one of the reasons behind your struggles with retention. 

Issues sometimes arise that your employees can’t control. Childcare mix-ups, unexpected illnesses, and transportation trouble are all valid, albeit unforeseen, excuses for missing work. Being accommodating when your staff approaches you with reasonable requests can help you create a sense of trust and security, leading to better retention. 

One way you can offer better flexibility is by providing remote work options for your staff. If your office uses Weave, your front desk can take the office phone with them anywhere using softphones. This allows them to answer calls placed to your office number from anywhere. Weave also enables staff to remotely text patients, schedule appointments, send digital forms for intake, and so much more.

Providing remote work options not only helps you retain your staff but can also attract a larger talent pool. Because candidates won’t need to live as close to your dental office, you can look for staff in a larger geographic area and get more applicants.

Foster a Positive Work Environment

The dental industry isn’t necessarily a walk in the park, but your office doesn’t always need to reflect the clinical, serious nature of dental problems. You can foster a fun, light-hearted, positive work environment that motivates your team to look forward to clocking in each day. 

You can curate a positive environment throughout your dental office by:

  • Fostering a positive workplace culture
  • Conducting routine surveys and check-ins with your employees
  • Creating a physically comfortable workspace
  • Providing plenty of training 
  • Creating a safe space to bring up concerns
  • Filling staffing needs quickly to avoid overburdening your employees

With these dental staffing solutions in mind, your practice can retain qualified candidates, which will only serve to better patient care. Begin by streamlining your routine dental practices with Weave; request your free demo today to learn more.