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Leveraging HR Best Practices to Prepare for the Future

Posted Sep 10th, 2020 in the wire, thought leadership, 2020

Effective human resources (HR) initiatives are vital for any practice to operate successfully. In order to build a productive and fulfilling employee and patient experience, practice leaders must thoroughly understand what everyone values. Dental practices need to stay on top of HR best practices so team members can focus on the most important aspect of all — providing optimal patient care.

Following HR best practices has never been more important than during these times of uncertainty. No one could have predicted this global crisis. Not only have the majority of businesses been disrupted, but it has forced a major reset. Dental practices across Canada have had to develop new policies and procedures to adapt to the new normal. Changes, especially when it comes to HR, will be long-lasting and essential to prepare for the future of your practice.

Employee Security

The onset of the pandemic forced most practices across Canada to close, causing panic amongst employees. With practices now back up and running, it’s important for employees to feel a sense of security after months of intense uncertainty. It is your duty as an employer to make your team members feel safe. Many employees are experiencing feelings of anxiety during these challenging times, so it is essential to take the time to listen and validate their fears and concerns. It is also your responsibility as a leader to ensure all team members are educated on the new health and safety protocols and procedures in place and how they serve to protect against the spread of the virus. Providing security for your team members improves the overall reputation of the practice, the bottom line, and most importantly, employee engagement. The concept of security is essential and benefits the practices overall when it comes to retaining employees.

Recruitment & Hiring

All practices should have established HR policies and procedures that ensure the right person is selected for each job within the practice. These processes should be developed and reviewed against current best practice standards. Finding new team members that are the right fit for the practice is crucial for its continued success. This entails assessing both soft (interpersonal) and hard (technical) skills. It’s important to remember that while some skills can be learned, others cannot. Map out in advance what skills candidates need to come to the table with and what can be taught. Keep in mind, recruitment requires patience. It used to be about finding the right person for the job. Now it’s about finding the right person that will do the job, enjoy the job, and want to stay and grow with the practice. Don’t forget to consider the impact of new hires on the rest of your team members. Building a team of people with similar work ethic and drive will help with productivity and overall practice growth.

Training & Development

A key HR best practice is to invest in ongoing training and development opportunities for the practice team. After hiring and onboarding the most qualified people, you need to ensure they remain frontrunners by constantly improving their skillset. Every role is unique and will require different tools for success. Providing training opportunities in areas such as diversity, leadership, and conflict resolution can enhance the work environment by showing your full support and encouraging team members to grow. Mentorship programs also provide a terrific opportunity for less experienced employees to learn from seasoned team members.

In all industries, learning has become a way to stay innovative and sustain a competitive advantage. Dentistry has certainly evolved over the years, and it will continue to advance in the coming years. The next generation of clinicians will be looking for development opportunities, as this is a key element to ensure personal and professional growth. It’s important to help assist in building skillsets in order to create employee engagement and, most importantly, overall satisfaction in the workplace.


A crucial HR practice is transparency and should be a key aspect of the practice culture. In order to build and maintain trust with your employees, creating an environment that promotes open and honest communication is essential. It’s important to clearly communicate processes, purposes and expectations for the practice to operate successfully, especially during these challenging times. Leaders should never underestimate the value of communication when it comes to operating a successful practice. Ask your team for input and ideas and listen to their perspectives. Without transparency, employees will lack the required direction. It’s also important to share performance results and involve team members in decision making. As a leader, keep in mind that you play an integral role in shaping the practice culture.

Using these key HR best practices in your practice can help increase employee retention and overall engagement. Employees will feel their happiest when they receive the necessary training and have the opportunity to apply their abilities to do their best work. Use your skills as a leader to show employees that they are appreciated and valued. If any of the above mentioned best practices are already a part of your practice, you’re on the right track for continued success.

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