The pandemic has been tough on practice staff, with increased cancellations and greater anxiety overall. Dental practices have taken great steps to boost their safety procedures and ensure patient safety, but the day-to-day anxiety of it all can take a toll.
Don’t feel alone, as medical providers across the globe are facing these same difficulties with staff dissatisfaction. Even a pre-pandemic study (2017) found that over one-third of front office staff report feeling burned out, according to the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
Today’s increasingly complex, highly regulated work environment is largely to blame, research shows. The pandemic amplified these concerns. A recent study by Mental Health America found that 93 percent of healthcare workers experienced stress, with 76 percent reporting burnout and exhaustion; 75 percent of staff report feeling overwhelmed.
Help promote optimism in your practice
As things slowly return to normalcy, you can take steps to help staff feel greater optimism. Focusing on improving office efficiency, with new protocols in place, is a good way to pull staff out of any “negative vibes” — so they reflect the good cheer that is best for business growth.
You certainly need a strong team to stay competitive in today’s dental practice market. Patients can pick up on negativity and undue pressure, and one “bad” visit can become their last visit.
First off, it’s critical that your staff doesn’t feel either underutilized — or overworked. Either way, they won’t perform at their best. You’ll be up against employees who leave the practice, looking for green pastures. Those who stay may harbor doubts and dissatisfaction but are more willing to give you a chance to change things.
So do it! Take steps to help your staff feel empowered and motivated, so they perform at the peak of their skills. Focus their attention on office efficiency and patient engagement, and encourage them to find solutions. By letting staff use their creativity, you show your confidence in their ability — a valuable commodity in today’s market.
Focus on strategies that save time.
Perhaps it’s time to automate some functions to save staff time and avoid redundant tasks. With the right technology, you can get the job done easier and greatly improve patient engagement.
Online appointment scheduling cuts down on phone calls. Automated appointment reminders (via text or email) eliminate phone calls and keep no-shows to a minimum. Patients will appreciate the timeliness, efficiency and convenience.
Enhance communication with practice staff.
All employees want to feel that their concerns are heard. Look for ways to do that, whether through regular staff meetings or informal feedback sessions. Show your willingness to listen. Put ideas up for open discussion. You’ll see how morale can improve just by listening.
Encourage education and training.
Your administrative staff mostly likely wants to tap into their skills and strengths, be as effective as possible, and contribute to the success of the practice.
When you eliminate manual tasks, and facilitate your staff’s growth and development, you can improve morale and efficiency. Encourage front-office staff to adopt new roles such as managing your patient satisfaction survey or patient communication campaigns.
Your high-performing staff will enjoy being involved in patient engagement and can provide visibility in practice growth. These new skills will have staff feeling they’ve made a greater contribution to the practice — and enhanced their own skillset.
Overwhelmed? Let us handle the details
Somnowell Marketing has a team in place to work with your front-office staff, who certainly are your top sales team. We can help you figure out how to best enhance your practice flow and patient communication.
If it’s time to automate redundant tasks, we take the burden off your shoulders. Emails, messaging, web content, blogs, social media — we can handle it all. The information is always from respected sources, and will dispel any misinformation. Your online content and social media posts are an investment in your practice’s reputation — and that’s undeniably priceless.