The Balance Careers define company culture as “the shared values, attributes, and characteristics of an organization” and believe it or not; culture is a pivotal factor in the success of your dental practice.
The thing is, many dental practice owners have a hard time understanding and developing their company culture. This typically happens because you feel too “close” to your practice to see its culture from a broader perspective or are simply too busy to work on your culture strategy.
But why exactly is company culture so important for dental practices? What can you do to create a better culture and enjoy the many benefits of doing so, like improved patient experiences, profits, and dental staff retention?
Just keep reading to find out, as we’re exploring all things dental practice culture and how to make it better. First, let’s understand the importance of culture for your dental practice.
The benefits of company culture for dental practices
You should make improving your dental practice culture a top priority for many reasons. We’ve outlined the most important ones below to get you excited about the results working on your culture could bring!
Increase dental staff retention
A great culture inherently leads to happier employees because they share the same values as their employer and enjoy their work environment.
Plus, US professionals who don’t like their company culture are 24% more likely to quit, according to Tinypulse. The bottom line? Improving your culture is key to holding onto your best dental staff.
Attract the right dental talent
Company culture is crucial in attracting the best dental talent to your practice, with 35% of US workers saying they’d pass on a perfect-fit job if the culture were a not-so-perfect fit.
Without having a strong culture in place and being able to communicate what it is, you might miss out on not just great dental talent but the right fit for your practice.
Connect better with patients
Culture also plays into attracting and retaining dental patients because, as the author of Start with Why, Simon Sinek, once said, “Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.”
If your dental staff don’t embody your culture, your patients will feel it. For example, if part of your culture is “patients come first,” but your dental staff give more attention to their mobile phones than patients, they might switch to another practice.
Improve your bottom line
According to a Deloitte study, a massive 94% of executives believe that strong company culture impacts an organization’s bottom line and is key to business success.
This isn’t hard to believe. Let’s say your culture has a negative aspect that affects employee happiness, like a toxic management style.
If staff aren’t happy, this directly impacts productivity, employee engagement, absenteeism, and patient satisfaction – all things which may cause you to lose current or prospective patients.
How to define your company culture
“We believe that it’s really important to come up with core values that you can commit to. And by commit, we mean that you’re willing to hire and fire based on them. If you’re willing to do that, then you’re well on your way to building a company culture that is in line with the brand you want to build.”
– Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos
As Tony Hsieh outlines above, knowing your company’s core values is essential to having a solid dental practice culture. But it’s only one aspect. Below, you’ll see what elements should go into building your dental practice’s “culture code”.
Developing core company values like, “Respect each other,” “Work hard, play hard,” and “Do the right thing” will ensure all your dental staff share the same morals, which will help inform their decision-making processes and behaviors at work.
Ask yourself, “why does our dental practice exist?” Think about the impact you want your dental practice to make in the lives of your patients, employees, and community. The answer will inform your mission and the driving force behind your practice.
What are you and your dental staff most passionate about? What big changes do you wish to see in the world, the lives of your patients, and the dental sector by carrying out your work? This is your practice’s vision and exemplifies what you’re all working towards.
If your culture was a person, how would you describe them? Maybe you’ll pick traits like “lighthearted, gentle, and caring” or “innovative, inspired by technology, and passionate.” These unique cultural characteristics will help you stand out from the crowd.
How to improve your dental practice culture
“I think as a company, if you can get those two things right — having a clear direction on what you are trying to do and bringing in great people who can execute on the stuff — then you can do pretty well.”
– Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Meta
So, how can you work towards achieving this “clear direction”? Here is our step-by-step guide to improving your dental practice culture.
1. Assess culture
Bring your dental team together and put your heads together to create a description of your current practice culture in relation to values, mission, vision, and traits.
This way, it’ll be easier to understand how your employees experience the culture first-hand and see what key elements you can all agree on.
2. Get feedback
Ask your staff for feedback on your culture, and they’ll likely raise some concerns you can use to improve it.
Maybe they feel there is a poor work/life balance, issues with patient care, or messy communication, for example. Use their feedback to set new guidelines to change the culture going forward.
3. Create a plan
Once you know what areas of your culture need improving, work on filling the gaps by creating a “mini-strategy” for every element of your practice culture that you want to develop.
If employees want more support, you could make it a point to ask employees every day if their workload is manageable, or to amp up the “fun” in your culture; you can schedule more casual team events.
4. Promote it
Once you and your dental staff all agree with your culture strategy, it’s time to promote it internally and with prospective employees/patients.
You can outline your culture code on your “careers” website page and create social media posts/ emails that show the behind-the-scenes of your practice and highlight culture examples.
5. Reassess regularly
Once you’ve implemented any changes to your dental practice culture, make sure you regularly ask for feedback from your dental staff to see how culture is taking shape.
You might notice that some employees don’t feel like the new additions/amendments are making a tangible difference. In that case, make it a point to reinforce the cultural changes by setting up a company-wide meeting.
Ready to start shaping a stronger practice culture?
At PatientBoost, we know what dental practices need to run smoother, grow faster, and make more profit.
Offering business growth consultancy services for dental practices, web design, and digital marketing, we can help you develop a stronger company culture to attract better-fit talent, keep the talent you have, and delight your patients.
So if you’re ready to streamline and automate your processes, attract new patients, engage your employees, and upsurge profits, why not talk to our dental practice business growth and marketing experts here at PatientBoost?
With a long-term, strategic, and data-based business plan, we can help you reach your growth goals at a pace that works for you. Interested? Book a free 15-minute Clarity Call™ today!