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“My Office Manager is leaving! I didn’t see it coming.”

By: Katrina Winch, Relationship Manager

Turnover  in your dental practice can and does cause havoc especially if the person is integral to the success of the practice. Many dentists say they didn’t see it coming and that is sad because there are always signs that an employee is walking toward the door of job dissatisfaction.

What do you think are the top five reasons for turnover in dental practices?


  1. Better Wages

For employees that consider themselves above average in performance, pay is very important to retaining their talent.  What is a good salary?

Sources to consider for this information are:,21.htm

Dental assistant · Median salary $36,940 USD (2016)
Dental Office, Office Manager Median salary $59,416, with a salary range from $35,651 to $69,888.

You want to retain top employees, pay is important. But what does good pay mean to your employees?  Getting paid what the market says plus rewards for good work ethics and quality work.

  1. No place to advance

Dental offices lose employees with talent when the job doesn’t offer advancement.  Let’s face it there isn’t too much advancement opportunity in an average dental practice.  It is a small business and the top of the food chain is the dentist who is also usually the CEO of the business.

A dental assistant can rise to the position of Dental Office Manager but usually that is not the skill set of a dental assistant.  Work stagnation for dental assistants becomes a reason some change to another profession or go back to school. The dental assistants who love their work seek becoming certified or registered in their state and take the courses to gain skills in expanded functions thus increasing their value in the practice and in the job market.

  1. Lack of Flexibility

Flexibility is another reason many young or millennial workers aren’t attracted to working in dentistry.  The dental practice is a highly structured environment that works off a daily schedule. Having a flexible schedule to allow for personal things like dropping the children off at school or leaving early for the PTA meeting just doesn’t work for the structured dental practice.

  1. Respect

Employees want their opinions to count.  However, a dental assistant or dental manager cannot diagnose or prescribe products or services so in essence their role is that of support to the dentists and hygienists. They want to feel valued and that they can do more than assist and clean-up.  If they are demeaned by an abusive manager or coworker or worse by the dentist, their tenure will be short. Employers who demonstrate and verbally give respect to their staff are way ahead of the curve and will experience greater worker loyalty as a result.

  1. Autonomy

Each member of the dental team is vitally important to the success of the practice.   The dentist(s) or management must communicate this appreciation.

Autonomy means a degree or level of freedom and discretion allowed to an employee over his or her job.  Generally, jobs with high degree of autonomy engender a sense of responsibility and greater job satisfaction in the employee.  Micromanagement is common in dental practices and this practice kills autonomy.

Autocratic managers who insist that “it’s my way or the highway” frustrate employees and cause them to begin considering other employment options.

If your practice is experiencing a “revolving door” take a look at which positions have the highest turnover and analyze what you think are the reasons.   Sit down with the team for a meeting and ask them why there is turnover in the practice. Get to the root of it because it is widely understood that high turnover in dental practices is a reason for patient dissatisfaction with the practice.   Patient’s wonder why people leave and start to lose trust in management and or the dentist.

eAssist Helpful News and Billing Tips; Edition #121


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