12 Ways to Keep Your Dental Office Staff Happy

February 8, 2017 Rieva Lesonsky

It’s Valentine’s Day, and delivering flowers to your front office staff isn’t the only way to thank them for all they do for your practice. Here are a dozen ways you can keep your office staff happy all year long.

  1. Praise. Let your office staff know when they’re doing a good job by praising them in public. Be specific (“I like how you handled that upset patient and calmed her down!”) rather than general (“Great job!”). Specificity helps employees learn what you value.
  2. Think food. Everyone likes to eat, so food is always a good reward. Bring in a pizza lunch on Fridays, bagels on Monday mornings and cake for birthdays. Hold a potluck luncheon where everyone brings in a family recipe, or a bake-off where employees compete to make the sweetest treats. (Brush afterwards, of course!)
  3. Give ‘em a break. Reward your office staff for a job well done with time off. Close the office an hour early, or give employees a comp day or an afternoon off on a day of their choosing.
  4. Rub them the right way. Sitting at a computer all day inevitably leads to tense muscles. Bring in a massage therapist to give your front desk staff 15-minute shoulder, arm and hand massages.
  5. Provide recognition. Set up an Employee of the Month program to publicly recognize office staff for excellence. Reward that month’s winner with an Amazon or Starbucks gift card, take them out to lunch, or give them the prime parking spot for a month.
  6. Provide the right tools to make their jobs easier. When your office staff has the technology they need, they’re happier (not to mention more efficient). Lighthouse 360 automates patient communications, reminders and confirmations to eliminate time-consuming games of phone tag, and creates front desk task lists so your staff is always prepared for the day.
  7. Encourage camaraderie. Build bonds among your entire staff with fun activities both in and out of the office that bring front office staff, dentists and hygienists together. Plan a company picnic, gather for after-work happy hours, or take the team out to lunch.
  8. Provide ongoing training. Your staff will appreciate opportunities to learn new skills and keep up with trends in dental office management. Have them attend conferences or trade shows and bring in outside training to keep them up to speed.
  9. Be flexible. Of course, dental office staff can’t work from home, but you can be flexible in other ways. Consider staggering schedules so employees can work different hours (like 7-4, 8-5 or 9-6) to fit with their personal needs. Be as accommodating as you can when staff members need time off for doctors’ appointments or children’s school events.
  10. Keep them comfortable. Provide adjustable ergonomic chairs, headsets for phone work and any other accessories your front desk employees need to work long hours without back, shoulder or neck pain.
  11. Write a note. Employees treasure thank-you notes from the boss more than you know. Surprise your front office staff with personal notes to thank them for going above and beyond the call of duty.  
  12. Spotlight them. Patients like learning more about your office team. Feature a different front office employee on your practice website and email newsletter every month. Include a photo and fun facts about the person’s hobbies, background and interests.
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