There have been many changes to our world in the last year or so. With so many changes can come issues of mistrust. Trust is shaken because people don't know what to expect or rely on to be true.
Dentistry is experiencing a substantial shortage of qualified dental personnel, primarily because of the pandemic. Being front-line healthcare workers, many dental staff members question whether they are safe at work and whether their employers are doing everything in their power to keep them safe.
Trust in our practice safety systems must be integrated into our hiring processes. Below are four ways to build that trust.
1. Make personnel safety part of your practice culture.
Your office culture should be about how you and your employees interact with each other and how employees interact with patients. You may have a practice culture based on everyone being cross-trained to help each other when needed. Your culture may also include having fun and sharing some time together outside the office. These things need to be shared with potential hires to make sure they agree with these ideas.
Personnel safety is colossal today and will continue to be in the future. You must take the lead and answer the question of whether staff can safely work in your practice before an applicant asks it.
Provide your applicants with safety protocols based on U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards. Also, be sure to train and test every team member.
2. Update the employee policy manual and training manual.
Nothing builds distrust faster than the "management on the fly" mentality. Patient and staff safety protocols and reliable information from trusted sources should be an important section in your employee policy manual and training manual.
3. Train the team to recognize misinformation.
There is a plethora of misinformation spreading through social media channels. Teach the team how to recognize misinformation by providing the best information from the dental industry. Reputable sources include the ADA or the local dental society chapter, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and OSHA.
Also, consider pursuing ongoing training for the team via webinars and podcasts.
4. Make time for team interaction and feedback.
Questions from your team arise daily, and if you aren't available to answer the questions, you may lose a valuable team member who doesn't feel safe and supported. Make the time with scheduled team meetings and an open discussion of topics relevant to the practice.
"Groupthink" has become popular in today's world of more isolation and fear. Communicating proper safety standards and protocols will enable dentists to spend less time hiring and training new employees.
The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of DrBicuspid.com, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.