The holidays are approaching, and that means a big focus on family. Perhaps you yourself will be taking some time off to spend time with your loved ones. On the other hand, perhaps – like many of my clients – you are struggling to find a balance between work and family. Maybe your team also suffers because of this struggle, feeling that they can’t spend the time they need with their families for fear of compromising their jobs. In this post, I am going to talk about something a dental consultant does not usually address: creating a family-friendly work environment. As a dental coach, I believe this is one of the most important things you can do to ensure practice success and employee satisfaction.
The Importance of Family-Friendly Policies
Working parents face untold pressures trying to raise kids, especially if they have very young children, or if their working hours extend beyond the school day. Additionally, family pressures do not only apply to parents. With people living longer, more and more adult children are starting to take care of their aging parents. According to the National Resource Council, poor family support from employers is one of the leading causes of workplace depression, anxiety, and disorganization. Therefore, to increase productivity and reduce employee turnover, it is essential to establish compassionate and fair office policies for team members with families.
Establishing a Personal Connection
The first thing you should do is show you care. Just as your patients want a compassionate dentist who will listen to their needs, your team members want an empathetic boss, who will take a legitimate interest in their lives. When you hire a new team member, learn about his or her family members. Ask questions and inquire about families on a regular basis. Establishing this personal touch will show your team that you really care. The more detailed knowledge will also help you to make informed decisions if your employees ask you for extra sick leave or a bonus for family reasons.
The number one thing you can do to create a family-friendly work environment is to establish flexible scheduling. Of course, your practice will require a firm commitment on the part of your team, and you’re not going to get very far with a hygienist who calls in twice a week for a “family emergency.” However, it is vital to establish compassionate and reasonable policies. As you know from your own experience, things do come up. You yourself will need to take days away from the office to nurse a sick child, visit an injured parent, or attend a cousin’s wedding. Build flexibility into your schedule, so that your team members will have the same luxuries.
Remember, communication is key. When you maintain friendly and ongoing communication with your team, you will already be aware of any family issues that are likely to arise. Then you can treat your team members with the same empathy and compassion that you would give to your patients.