Diversity: How Well Does Your Practice Reflect Today’s America?
Diversity and Inclusion: A Leadership Conversation.
This year, 2020, will be memorable for many reasons. One notable area is the increased awareness of diversity in our society, including diversity in the workplace. The United States continues to become increasingly diverse, as we know, but this change isn’t always reflected in the way we manage the dental practice workplace. The neighborhoods around your practice may look a little different now than they did five or ten years ago. As a leader, now is an excellent time to be thinking about how to manage and train for diversity in your practice.
When it comes to your dental practice, we can look at diversity in terms of dental practice staffing and your patients’ makeup–both of which are interconnected. Below we cover a few topics that are useful to think about as a practice leader.
People generally like to see themselves represented.
An ADA study showed that Black, Hispanic, and Asian dentists tend to have disproportionately higher numbers of patients from their same ethnic group. Now, this is not a suggestion that you rush out to hire an additional dentist from a different ethnic group. Whether to hire any additional dentist should always be based on a business need identified after careful analysis of your existing business, potential consumers, and other market factors. Instead, you may want to think about the make-up of the rest of your dental team. If one of your current team members decide to leave, you may consider hiring a replacement that better reflects either your patient base or the patients you want to attract. In doing so, you could find out that this simple action will lead to more new patients over time.
Put the right recruitment and hiring practices in place.
To recruit a diverse workforce and hire the most qualified candidates, you can try a few different strategies:
- Broaden your recruitment funnel by placing job ads in different places. For example, if you’d like to attract Spanish-speaking staff, you might want to put a job posting on a website that caters to a Spanish-speaking audience.
- Your job ads could also mention that diversity and equity are firmly held values in your clinic, which may be appealing to candidates.
- Make sure that you and your staff aren’t overlooking qualified candidates because of unconscious bias.
- For those involved in the screening process, try hiding resume details such as names, dates of birth, addresses, schools, as these sometimes prove to be markers of race and culture. Then let them make their initial candidate evaluation.
When we listen and celebrate what is both common and different, we become wiser, more inclusive, and better as an organization.”
Ensure your employee manual reflects a diverse practice environment.
Does your vacation/days off policy reflect the needs of different cultures and religions and even your staff’s needs in general?
Flexibility here reflects our changing society and can help you retain great staff who might otherwise have to consider giving up their job.
Here is where cross-training can prove invaluable to your practice. A cross-trained team member can pick up the essential tasks while one team is out of the office for half a day. Taking the effort to cross-train your team can enable you to create a more flexible practice environment.
It’s time to consider diversity training.
For many, the first reaction to hearing ‘diversity training’ can be adverse or skeptical and often associated with cringe-worthy episodes of ‘The Office.’ However, there is more to good diversity training than the obvious, which you or your team may not have thought about before. Communication is about language and tone, as well as demeanor, expressions, and body language. Sometimes, we’re unaware of the things we do that may be offensive to others. Diversity training can help us avoid that and understand how different cultures and groups may see and interpret things.
Ensuring you and your dental practice team are aware and reflective of an increasingly diverse America’s needs is not difficult. Nevertheless, it is not something that any business owner should take lightly or ignore. It can be a chance for you, as a practice manager, to demonstrate leadership, shaping how your practice will look and act today to set yourself up for improved staff retention and an increase in new patients moving forward.
About NGT Academy
We are one of the very few turnkey-Learning Management System providers that specializes in the dental industry. And our eLearning platform is easy to use for both employees and managers, with a library of more than 30 courses created for dental teams. E-learning typically costs at least 30% less than conventional training, making for a truly efficient solution for your dental organization.