News |4 min read

Can Boosting Employee Morale Improve Employee Retention?

Real-World Insights from AADOM Author Kristen Edwards

“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” Sir Richard Branson

Employee morale describes the overall outlook, attitude (positive or negative), satisfaction (or lack thereof), and confidence that employees feel about their work, their colleagues and superiors, and the environment where they work. Basically, it’s the sum of how they feel about their job.

How to boost employee morale

While you can’t give your employees good morale, you can help nurture an environment that boosts it. Morale in the office is important because it has a direct correlation to patient care and satisfaction – sometimes “happy” employees can make the difference between a positive or negative patient experience. When employees feel encouraged to do their best work, they can and they will.

I work in a large specialty practice that consists of four different locations and over 50 employees – that’s a lot of morale to manage. We consider our employees to be among our greatest assets and make every effort to support their professional and personal growth. Over the last few years, we have developed several different ways to help boost morale. These include helping subsidize costs associated with professional development, personal development, uniform allowance, and service days. Each year, our employees are eligible to be reimbursed up to a certain amount for all of the above expenses.

Support professional development

As a management team, we feel professional development is important to expanding the depth of knowledge amongst our staff. Employees are eligible to be reimbursed for courses and certifications… Opens a new tab to eCampus education available through AADOM… they choose as well as receiving paid leave to take those courses. Some examples of professional development opportunities our team has chosen to partake in include: Yankee Dental Congress, phlebotomy certification, the AADOM Conference… Opens a new tab to the AADOM Conference website…, anesthesia permit for hygienists, and managing emergencies in the dental office.

Encourage opportunities for personal growth

Life isn’t all work, of course, so we also offer personal development opportunities. Personal fulfillment is integral to employee happiness and satisfaction. To recognize this, we encourage employees to pursue a non-work related interest. Examples of personal development opportunities our team has taken advantage of include cooking classes, yoga, pottery, boxing, and learning to fly the trapeze (yup, flying the trapeze!).

Other creative ways to increase positive employee morale

In order to support efforts to be appropriately attired at work, we have designated an opportunity to receive a clothing allowance. Employees are permitted an allowance based on their department and the number of days they work.

Service days are an opportunity for employees to take a day they would normally work to volunteer for an organization that is important to them. Along with having the day off to volunteer, we also pay them for their normal work hours that day. This way, it’s a “win-win” for our employees, they get paid, and their time is spent doing something near to their heart.

Morale boosters don’t always have to be monetary. We’ve found that having internal “competitions” can go a long way as well. We’ve done office window-decorating for the holidays, ugly sweater competitions, and dressing up for specific local sports championships. These competitions not only foster creativity but make the typical 9 to 5 not seem so typical.

It never hurts to boost your office morale. Employee morale can and should remain an ongoing effort. Remember, when all else fails and you’re having one of those days (which we know happens from time to time,) always keep a full drawer of candy on hand to get you (and your colleagues) through the tough days.


Meet the Author

Kristen Edwards, FAADOMKristen Edwards, FAADOM

Kristen is a 2007 graduate of Southern New Hampshire University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality. It wasn’t until 2012 when she decided to pursue a career change in dental office management, and she hasn’t looked back since.

Kristen is the office manager for a multi-location periodontal practice in the Greater Boston area. She is an active member of AADOM and in 2016 earned her FAADOM.

While she is never really “off the clock”, Kristen enjoys time with her son, family, and friends.

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