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  • Denise Ciardello

If I Could Turn Back Time

Updated: Apr 20, 2023

Bringing back Normal after the pandemic

It should be over. It’s been 2 ½ years now and it should be over!!!

I want normal back … NORMAL!! But what is normal? We’ve heard the term ‘new normal’ (another one I’m not a fan of) yet even that it isn’t true because it all changes almost daily.

I used to refer to myself as the ‘queen of change’ since that is what tends to happen when I go into an office. That’s my job… if I left it the same, I would be defining insanity. However, now it seems that I am trying to get offices to go back to what worked in the past. No, I’m not bringing back paper charts, ledger cards or development of x-rays in the dark room. (how many of you just shuddered with fear?) I’m referring to the previous methods we used in the office to be … hmm, what’s the word? …human!

In August of last year (2021),I wrote an article called Avoid the Turnover Tsumani. This was a discussion of the labor shortage and how it affected our industry. For some reason, employees were scarce or jumping ship to greener pastures; some even out of the dental field altogether. Some of the tips that I gave to retain your employees included things such as:

  • Talk to your employees; keep them involved with the mission & vision of the practice

  • Allow employees to have a (reasonable) voice in the operations & decisions of the practice

  • Constant communication - team meetings help to understand employee’s perspectives & frustrations

  • Follow through on commitments

  • Find a way to ‘lighten’ up - take a staff outing to paint a board, hit some balls at Top Golf or a playful game of laser tag or bowling.

  • Be willing to ask questions - how can I help you?

  • Recognize birthdays &/or work anniversaries.

  • Thank your employees at the end of each day; find things to compliment them on throughout the day. Appreciation is a prime reason that people will leave; if you do appreciate them, say it.

Although that might have been fine for 2021, and I still think these are good things to do, things have changed even more in 2022. Our country is much different than a short 12 months ago. Now we have inflation throughout the country that is affecting everyone’s dinner table with much higher prices and even shortages of some food products; additionally, gas prices are higher than I’ve ever seen in my several decades of life.

The last sentence in my Tsunami article asked: What steps will you take to retain the valuable resources that support your mission every day?

To me, this is where the past can be brought back to the future. Let’s put light on these issues and discuss them as adults. Give your team a platform to commiserate about the hardships in their lives. This is not an on-going pity party, yet a moment of truthfulness that teams share with each other.

Every single person in the office will then understand why Mary came in the office in a bad mood on Monday or why Carlos needed to take that personal call from his son last week.

And then we grant grace to our fellow human beings with kindness and understanding.

It’s a nasty world out there. I remember as a child that my mom never wanted to discuss current events at the supper table because it brought negativity into the house. She wanted us to feel safe within our walls. Isn’t that a nice concept to consider in your office - safety & compassion within your walls?

With all that in mind, here are things that I want to bring back:

  • Laughter - I love to hear team members laugh with each other, that an outsider wouldn’t understand. Inside jokes are the best.

  • Teamwork - it takes everyone in the office to create that exceptional patient care. It’s not ‘your job’ or ‘my job’… it’s everyone’s job!!

  • Say Thank you - often. These are often the hardest 2 words in any language, except…

  • ‘I’m sorry’ - when you mess up, own it!

  • Play fair - we’ve all been taught; some have just forgotten.

  • Put things back where you found them - help the next person.

These are easy, or at least they should be. And the best part is, it’s FREE. When you have an environment where people feel safe and appreciated, they will stay. They will work together to accomplish the goal at hand. You will find that loyalty is priceless when running a business in these trying times.

We would love to hear your thoughts on promoting loyalty with your team members. Drop me a line with your ideas:


Denise Ciardello, Consultant

Denise is co-founder of Global Team Solutions. A professional speaker and published author, her enthusiasm and knowledge about the dental profession has helped many dental teams. She brings experience, insight, and creativity into her management style, along with a sense of humor. In a profession that can cause anxiety in some dental employees.

Denise’s consulting approach is to partner with doctors and team members to help them realize the dream of creating a thriving, successful practice.

Denise can be reached at:

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