Hygiene Careers: A Case for Stressing the Importance of Office Culture

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Job opportunities are on every corner for dental hygienists. If you are on LinkedIn or have a resume on Indeed or other niche sites, you are likely getting recruiter calls and emails daily. With new dental offices opening and other offices increasing their compensation or benefits offerings, how do you decide what is best for you? Do you stay put where you have worked for the last 10 years or try something new?

Enter the office culture component! Like communication, the office culture is (or should be) at the heart of every business. Positive office culture is the difference between liking where you work and loving where you work. Sure, you may have great benefits and above market rate compensation, but I’d ask for you to consider the following points:

Are you dedicated to your employer? Are they dedicated to you? If something happened at your place of business, would your employer have your back? Would you have theirs?

If you are currently in the job market and interviewing at an office, this may be a difficult area to figure out. You certainly could ask a few questions, such as how doctor vacations are handled or about the sick leave policy. An acceptable answer may be that when a doctor takes a vacation, you can either take a vacation or do other office tasks to have a full paycheck.

You can also look for signs in the office. This would present itself with other employees being happy and prepared for their day, or there is an air of teamwork and camaraderie. When you have these, you likely have dedication both ways.

Do you feel empowered to do your job to the best of your ability? A great culture puts trust at the forefront. Healthy relationships are the basis for trust, and trust is needed to have a great culture.

They go hand-in-hand. When you trust those you work with, you can be your authentic self. You can share in experiences, and this leads to a strong culture.

Were you hired based on your skills and ability? Then you should be empowered or trusted to do your job to the best of your ability.

Are you encouraged to be engaged in your office? During engagement, you can look different for different types of people. If you are an extrovert, you may take the lead in planning a group outing or event. Get-togethers are an important part of culture building. This allows teams to get to know each other outside of the workplace.

If you are an introvert or a very shy individual, you may contribute in different ways. For you, this may look like baking a cake for those on their birthday or sharing a private high-five when someone has gone out of their way to help you.

It takes a village to be successful. Is everyone at your office counted on to participate in making it happen?

Do you feel nurtured and treated fairly as an individual? This is a basic human need and want, as well as something that great office cultures offer.

Do you trust your team members? As mentioned before, trust is at the forefront of great office culture. When you trust your team members, you are not afraid to speak up or share ideas on how to be even greater.

Evaluate a potential new workplace by observing if you get the chance. Look for polite conversations, positivity, enthusiasm, and teamwork. Trust presents in many of these ways.

Can you be your authentic self in the workplace? When you act as your authentic self, you share what makes you, you! You share feelings, thoughts, and values. This simple idea helps to build relationships. This will help you align with your team members and your company, and you guessed it, it helps build office culture.

Each person is an individual, and teams are just that ‒ different folks coming together as one. Bringing your authentic self to work each day and sharing your individualities is what makes up a great team, and this contributes to great office culture.

Do your leaders listen? I mean, do they truly listen? Good listening means they are not talking, and they are actively listening with open ears.

Consider interviewing your potential employer and coworkers, if allowed. Ask a few questions to see if they really listen, pay attention, and thoughtfully respond. This may give you some great insight into your next potential team.

If you can answer yes to these questions, you likely work with an office that takes care of their team members, shows empathy, expects excellence and offers something more than just compensation and benefits and a place to hang your hygiene license. That more is the beating heart of the office, the foundation for which the business is run, and the reason that you will stay with your employer.

Office culture is an easy word to say. There are many buzz words out there, such as connected, happy, progressive, flexible, motivating, friendly, fun, and supportive. All of these words are truly part of what makes a great office culture, but your actions must speak louder than your words.

Every team member must believe in the values that make up an office team and not just believe but live out those values in a passionate way! Great office cultures are not shy about telling the world how wonderful they are – they not only tell it, they show it!

So why is office culture so important? Well, it’s our basis for trust, belonging, loyalty, and feeling safe and secure in the workplace. It’s our reason for loving to come to work each day. It’s why we will smile through the great times and hug each other through the difficult times. It’s the basis for going the extra mile. And the work purpose we all seek.

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