RPA Dental’s Adam Shaw Says: “New Year, New Job?”

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RPA Dental’s Adam Shaw ponders the best ways to retain or attract practice personnel

Winter is invariably a busy time in dentistry, as patients prepare themselves for the festive period with some last-minute tooth whitening or treat themselves to a scale and polish or a smile makeover. Then before you know it it's January and there’s the usual influx of patients looking to improve their smile and oral health as part of their ‘New Year, New Me’ pledge, which is always good for business. But remember – it’s not just your patients that will feel inspired to make New Year’s resolutions.

In a survey carried out by leading job site Indeed [1], over 30% of UK respondents admitted that they would consider a new job in the New Year. Money was listed as one of the main reasons for this, though location and a desire for a higher position or title were also popular motivators. In some instances employees simply want a fresh start, and what better time than the New Year to do so?

Now for you as a practice principal, it’s not the most convenient time of the year to be loosing staff, especially if you have an NHS contract and you’re on a strict schedule to meet your UDA target. But if you’ve taken the right steps to ensure your workforce is happy, and you’ve made the right provisions, then you should hopefully be able to make it to the financial year end with either minimal or no staff losses.

Or, if you’re really lucky, you might even come away with new additions to your practice team, which, if you’ve been struggling to fill a vacancy or grow your team could be a massive bonus. So what can be done to put yourself in a good position for 2019?

As mentioned previously, money is a key driver for a lot of dental professionals, so you may need to review your team’s salary. A pay rise is always guaranteed to lift people’s spirits, if you can afford to do so, but if not then it might be worth being up-front with your staff and explain that it may have to wait for another year. After all, it’s often the not knowing that frustrates staff or makes them feel undervalued. If you take the time to thank your staff for all their hard work and make them feel appreciated, the prospect of waiting for a pay rise may not seem so bad.

The way staff are treated also makes a huge difference to workplace satisfaction, and in turn, retention and recruitment. That’s why it’s so important to create a good environment for employees that’s comfortable to work in and where they feel respected and empowered. Management style of course, is a big part of this, but things like flexible working and training and education can be equally as important. So, if you have the opportunity to create a workplace where such benefits are part and parcel of everyday working life, it might be worth doing so.

Finally, consider your facilities. Is the appearance and functionality of your practice good enough for your team to work in? Does your team have the right materials, space and equipment to carry out their job to a high standard in a comfortable and safe manner? Even if they do, it doesn’t hurt to make improvements here and there to keep things fresh and the practice up to date.

It could be something as simple as investing in a new coffee machine and comfy sofa in the staff room to make break time more enjoyable, or a lick of paint around the building to liven up the place. If you wanted to make a grander gesture, you could invest in a new piece of state-of-the-art equipment that would help to facilitate daily practice and improve workplace comfort – for instance, the Castellini Puma ELI Ambidextrous.

One of the most advanced dental chairs on the market, the Puma ELI Ambidextrous allows practitioners to instantly change the instrument set-up from right to left and vice-versa quickly and easily. This ensures ultimate ergonomic practice and efficiency for all dental professionals regardless of their operating style and working preferences. What better way to show your dental team that you’re committed to their well-being?

In January and beyond, it is inevitable that some principals will lose staff to other practices. To maximise your chances of keeping your team intact – and attracting new candidates if need be – be sure to make your practice a desirable place to work.

RPA Dental Equipment Ltd. Visit www.rpadental.net London and Manchester Sales and Service Centres call 08000 933 975

1] Indeed.co.uk: Over 30% of UK Workers Are Thinking About a New Job for the New Year. Accessed online August 2018 at http://blog.indeed.co.uk/2016/01/18/new-job-for-the-new-year/