Motivating morale

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  Posted by: Dental Design      11th June 2024

No matter what industry you work in, the size of your organisation or your personal career ambitions, the morale of the team around you will have an impact on you and the service you are able to provide. The challenges faced in dentistry of late have created difficult conditions for many professionals, consequently putting team morale to the test in most practices. However, we all have a role to play in building a positive working environment for ourselves and our colleagues.

The impact of morale

The attitudes of individuals at work will have a substantial impact on various aspects of life in the dental practice.

Research has shown that positive morale amongst healthcare professionals is associated with a higher quality of patient care.[i] Given that the provision of dentistry today is centred around patients and providing the best standard of treatment, the team is instrumental in making this happen.

Just as importantly, high morale has been linked with improved wellbeing among professionals. One study[ii]found that engaging primary care providers in evidence-based quality improvement – which was designed to protect and build morale ­– reduced burnout. This would surely mean only good things for the patients being looked after, highlighting the importance of professionals’ wellbeing in order to effectively care for patients.

For fellow principals out there, team morale is also important for staff retention[iii] – and we all appreciate the value of keeping an excellent team! Team morale has also been associated with increased productivity,[iv]which is essential for the busy dental practice, allowing them to see patients in an efficient way, with no compromise on quality.

From the top

I needn’t go into detail about the challenges that have impacted morale in recent years as we have all experienced them first-hand. To name just a few, there has been a pandemic, increasing time pressures, ever-growing complications within the NHS dental framework, rising patient expectations… the list goes on.

Dental-specific concerns aside, there are factors that affect every individual in any industry that business owners and managers should consider within our profession too. For example, I was interested to come across a statistic that 39% of staff are loyal to their workplaces because of their manager.[v] That shows that selecting the right clinical director or practice manager is vital in motivating and retaining your team. Communication is another big factor, with 53% of employees believing their company doesn’t do this effectively. As such, practice managers and owners should always be thinking about how to better engage with their teams.

Of course, another big issue for many individuals is pay – receiving a fair income that represents what is expected of them will go a long way in boosting morale. In addition, recognition of people’s dedication to their work and their achievements can significantly enhance team morale too.[vi]

Helping ourselves

All of the areas mentioned so far are the responsibility of the practice owner or manager, but there are a number of things that we can do as individuals to boost our own morale and happiness at work. For example, learning new skills and diversifying your work life has been shown to increase job satisfaction.[vii] In addition, it is important that we are effectively delegating tasks where possible – this can have a positive impact on ourselves and our peers, stimulating collaboration and boosting morale throughout the team.[viii]

This is also an effective way to reduce the level of stress that we experience at work, which will further improve our job satisfaction and therefore morale.[ix] We are all only too familiar with the links between stress and poor mental and physical health. If we can lower stress levels in the practice, that can only be a good thing for the whole team. Other than effective delegation, consider investing in equipment that streamlines the professional workflow and referring complex cases beyond your clinical remit to specialists, like those at EndoCare, to keep your stress to a minimum.

For the love of dentistry

We all got into dentistry because we wanted to help people, to provide care and help others improve their health. To do this effectively, especially in light of the challenges faced across the profession, we have to stay positive and enjoy our work. Team morale may have taken a hit in practices these past few years but, by working together to create a positive practice environment, we can all make the workplace a wonderful place to be once again.

For further information please call EndoCare on 020 7224 0999

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Dr Michael Sultan Bio:

EndoCare, led by Dr Michael Sultan, is one of the UK’s most trusted Specialist Endodontist practices. Through the use of the latest technologies and techniques, the highly-trained team can offer exceptional standards of care – always putting the patient first. What’s more, EndoCare is a dependable referral centre, to which dentists from across the country send their patients for the best in specialist endodontic treatment.

[i] Department of Health. NHS Health and Well-being: Final Report. 2009.

[ii] Meredith, L.S., Batorsky, B., Cefalu, M. et al. Long-term impact of evidence-based quality improvement for facilitating medical home implementation on primary care health professional morale. BMC Fam Pract 19, 149 (2018).

[iii] Reininghaus U, Priebe S. Assessing morale in community mental health professionals: a pooled analysis of data from four European countries. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2007;42(3):237–243

[iv] Osho, Gbolahan & Ashe, Carolyn & Wickramatunge, Jennifer. (2006). Correlation of Morale, Productivity and Profit in Organizations. National Social Science Journal. 26. 108-115.

[v] Pindar J. 30 employee morale statistics for 2023 to show how teams really feel. Champion health.,and%20mentorship%20from%20a%20leader. [Accessed February 2024]

[vi] Harvard Business review. Research: A little recognition can provide a big morale boost. March 2021. [Accessed February 2024]

[vii] UiPath. New study finds 86% of employees around the globe demand new skills training from their employers. May 2020. [Accessed February 2024]

[viii] University of Sussex. Organisational Development. [Accessed February 2024]

[ix] Jaafar, Syaiful. (2021). The Relationship between Stress and Job Satisfaction. International Journal of Business and Management. 5. 8-12. 10.26666/rmp.ijbm.2021.1.2.

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