5 Tips for Overcoming Staffing Shortages in the Dental Industry
Staffing shortages can be a hindrance for any business – but for the dental industry, these shortages can make or break a growing office!
To overcome staffing shortages in the dental industry, providers and administrators need to do more than just advertise their open positions. Building a strong and sustainable team requires a greater focus on incentivizing staff, enhancing job offers, and utilizing new technologies.
Don’t let a lack of new talent overwhelm your office – in this article, we will cover 5 key tips for overcoming staffing shortages. Plus, keep reading to learn about how UptimeHealth can help you implement these tips!
The State of Staffing Shortages in the Dental Industry
Though staffing troubles certainly existed before the pandemic, Covid-19 drastically ramped up staffing shortages for the dental industry.
In June of 2021, the American Dental Association released a report on staffing shortages in the dental industry. According to this report, over 80% of dentists find recruitment “extremely or very challenging” compared to pre-pandemic times.
The report also reveals the positions hiring dentists find most difficult to fill:
- 66.3% find hiring dental hygienists extremely challenging
- 59.2% find hiring dental assistants extremely challenging
- 44% find hiring dental hygienists extremely challenging
So – where did all the dental professionals go?
Well, according to recent survey research by Dental Post there are 3 common sentiments informing workers’ decisions to leave the industry:
- Misuse of Benefits: Staff feel dissatisfied over the use of PTO and sick time to cover time out of office due to Covid shutdowns.
- Longer Workdays: New safety protocols – such as PPE change out and spaced out appointments – have led to longer workdays that result in employee burnout.
- Greater Physical Demand: New protocols have resulted in not only a longer workday but a more physically demanding one as well. This only contributes to burnout – especially if staff feel unappreciated or under-compensated.
The survey report goes on to state:
“Team member retention is paramount. Hiring is always a challenge, and replacing clinical staff will always be difficult. Screening, recruiting, and onboarding new team members slows production. Thus, reducing turnover is critical for yielding better production efficiency, less downtime, and a more consistent patient care experience.”
With this in mind, let’s take a look at 5 key tips for overcoming the current challenges associated with staffing in the dental industry.
5 Tips for Meeting the Challenges of Staffing Shortages
To meet the challenge of being short-staffed, dental offices must do more than just hire new people.
As we explore these tips, you will notice an emphasis on not just onboarding new talent but also appreciating existing staff more. This is essential for overcoming these challenges, as your support for your team has a tremendous impact on overall staff retention.
Without further ado, here are our 5 tips for overcoming staffing shortages:
1) Show Appreciation for Current Staff (& Incentivize Them to Stay)
Expressing appreciation can go a long way during these tough times.
When all is said and done, there is serious gratitude to be shown to the staff who have stuck around.
Forgetting about your current team is a major no-no. Instead, your office and administration need to focus energy on showing your appreciation and offering additional support.
A great way to provide this support is through incentives that encourage your team to take on the extra workload and reward them for doing so.
Excellent incentive ideas include:
- Daily Production Goal Bonuses: Setting daily production goals offers your team an opportunity to earn rewards for completing their day-to-day activities. These bonuses can come in the form of added compensation to a paycheck or as more material rewards, such as a spa day or weekend getaway.
- Team Rewards: Now more than ever, you need your staff to work as a team. Offering incentives that encourage teamwork are essential. While you want to motivate them to take initiative by rewarding star players, you also want them to feel that the greatest rewards come from their ability to collaborate.
- Customer Service Incentives: Your staff needs to feel a commitment to improving the customer experience, especially when dealing with staffing shortages. Offering incentives for boosting the number of positive reviews you receive per month, for example, is a great way to incentivize customer service.
No matter what incentives you opt in to, you should always set achievable goals your team can work towards. This encourages professional growth and keeps them engaged and aligned with business objectives.
2) Offer Promotions to Your Star Players
If you haven’t already, you need to assess your team’s performance and find your star players.
These are the staff members who go above and beyond on a regular basis. They will not only possess great personal drive but will also go out of their way to support their coworkers and patients.
Once you have found these shining stars in your staff, offer them promotions to management. The key to building a sustainable staff is to first establish a strong management team.
This action will also help to motivate your internal team to improve and take initiative. As this happens, you will find yourself not stressing as much over the lack of staff.
3) Promote Everywhere with Enhanced Offerings
Aside from showing greater appreciation to your existing staff, you also need to reimagine how you promote open positions.
First and foremost, you need to be promoting yourself everywhere – and we do mean everywhere.
Promote yourself on social media, job boards, dental schools, community boards, online forums, and everywhere in between. As you create these promotions, you must also consider what makes your office special and unique compared to others.
Your marketing flyer and job postings need to stand out from your competition. The reality of today’s dental industry is that everyone is hiring. As such, simply offering a job with standard benefits is not likely to impress.
Do your research and see what others in the area are providing and if you can, offer something better. If you can’t offer more, promote your plans for growth and your successes–everyone wants to work with a winning team!
4) Reduce Frustration with Equipment Issues
Onboarding and training new staff costs money – as does maintaining and repairing equipment.
When your routine maintenance schedule is allowed to falter, more of your budget must go towards repairs. As a result, you have less money (and time!) to spend on improving and training your staff, as well as hiring the right people that will stick around. When you have your best team in place, you want to make sure they feel supported not only by leadership, but also by the equipment. Equipment breakdowns can be frustrating and cause unnecessary scheduling problems and staff burnout.
Making this maintenance a priority is key – and can even be worked into an incentive with a little creativity. Be sure to follow your rep or manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure your maintenance is as precise as possible.
5) Get Innovative by Adopting New Technologies
Technology is transforming every industry, and early adopters of such innovations will achieve a true competitive edge.
As the hiring market continues to be dominated by the tech-savvy Millenials and digital natives Gen Z, appealing to them with advanced technologies is key.
No more pen and paper – instead, you can document everything electronically through a digital system (like UptimeHealth!).
Showing your digital prowess will not only draw in more talented staff but will also help to enhance the customer experience as well.
Uptime Health Helps You Overcome Staffing Challenges
Here at UptimeHealth, we help you implement these tips using our advanced technology and software.
With our solutions, you can:
- Incentivize Staff and Recognize Your Shining Stars
UptimeHealth’s Task Management System allows you to see how your staff are performing.
From our compliance dashboard, you can view staff performance on daily, weekly, and monthly tasks at one or multiple locations. This assists you not only in simplifying your team management process but also in finding the staff members that go above and beyond!
Our software helps you easily keep track of task completion through the dashboards and reports available for managers.
- Save Money on Repairs
UptimeHealth’s Asset Management tool allows your offices to track routine maintenance to ensure your equipment is up to par and properly cared for. This enables your offices to save money on equipment repairs – money that can then be re-allocated towards finding the best staff members for your office.
Plus, our technology sends automatic reminders so you never miss a planned maintenance event again!
- Adopt Innovative Technologies
With UptimeHealth, embracing new technologies has never been easier.
UptimeHealth is a new way of maintaining compliance, managing equipment, and going completely paperless. The entire platform can be accessed through a mobile device, tablet, or desktop – allowing you to log in from anywhere!
Showcase Your Winning Team with UptimeHealth
At UptimeHealth, we are committed to providing administrators and operators in the dental industry with simple-to-use software.
With the help of our technology and solutions, you can better support your staff and focus more energy on building a strong and successful team. We offer solutions for both providers and technicians.
Sign up today to get started on simplifying your compliance and management systems!