How to help your dental team find purpose at work.

Screenshot 2018-12-28 08.56.12
Mandy Welman, CenterPoint Design / Benco Dental, Interior Designer

Purpose is one of the six basic needs that motivate people to work.  Here, Mandy Welman, CenterPoint Interior Designer shares insight on how purpose drives us, both as individuals and as an organization of workers, toward improving and gaining fulfillment for a prosperous future.  Humans want and need meaningful work and dental practitioners need purpose-filled employees to solve problems, innovate and grow the practice.

For most people, a sense of purpose at work is critical to personal well-being.

A number of recent studies link staff “possessing a high sense of purpose in life” with experiencing improved physical well-being and longer life spans, according to the research team within Herman Miller furniture.

How can the management team of a dental practice provide purpose to employees (and let those benefits trickle down to patients)?

Here are a few key insights:

  • Make work meaningful! When employees see their work have a meaningful, positive impact on others it will inspire a happier and vastly more productive staff. A growing body of evidence that suggests that paying attention to meaning and purpose at work can positively affect the company bottom line.
  • Instill Shared Values. What gives work purpose and meaning? Herman Miller and other organizations link it to a good fit between work tasks and personal values, as well as a clearly communicated value system. For example, the assistant who performs the sterilization of instruments helps the patient experience a healthy and safe treatment from the doctor. Every step in the process is important and should be communicated regularly.
  • Create intentional culture. A clearly articulated mission and values statement provides a foundation for purpose at work. Team leaders should consistently align their business strategies and decisions with those values to help staff appreciate what it means for them and their work. Embed purpose into daily rituals and staff are more likely to feel confident that the management team has a bright and stable future.
  • Design with purpose. Through practice design, address the fundamental human needs for security, autonomy, belonging, achievement and purpose. Research suggests that workplaces in which objects, images, graphics, color, tools and furnishings are carefully curated and purposefully displayed across the office (not just in public areas) can elicit emotion and help workers feel part of something larger than themselves.
  • Connecting with purpose. Designers have long known the importance of a well laid out traffic pattern: it should not only connect patients and staff throughout the day but should also help cultivate work relationships and provide an area for family and patients to feel comfortable communicating their thoughts. Adding areas like internet café in reception areas to help waiting patients know your history or values and adding small lounges into hallway nooks also bring people together in a relaxed setting that can open communication as well.

Purpose = Prosperity

When people understand and harness their unique passions as individuals and apply this through the purpose of the dental office, it’s possible to fulfill the range of needs each employee needs to find fulfillment.

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