Generational Differences in the Dental Office

With many dentists postponing retirement beyond what is expected, you will find three to four defined generations working in many dental practices.  It is not just the age of the workers that defines their interests and drives but also the times in which they were born and raised that influence their work habits.

A timeless article that addresses these generational divides is discussed with passion from Dr. Dulde in the following article written in 2014:

In the current issue of Insurance Solutions Newsletter (Dr. Charles Blair) March/April, an article written by Kit Foreman addresses the same subject in a continuing light of understanding and cooperation between the generations.

The baby boomer generation, those born after World War II, are said to have the best work ethic of the generations, doing the job without complaining, however, in the dental practice, baby boomers, are not as tech savvy and open to changing things as their counterparts, the Millennial generation, the 20-30 somethings.  It is estimated that the Millennials will represent 46% of the workforce by 2020.

There are many baby boomer, and generation Xers (born pre-and post-Vietnam war) who are practicing dentists hiring millennials as their office staff and dental assistants.  The challenges to try and bend the millennials to meet their perception of reality is a constant battle.

One thing for certain is that one generation will not be able to convince the other that their way is the only way.  The future of any business is to embrace the newer generations and learn how they think and perceive their world.   A valuable talent that the millennials have is a keen understanding of the ever-changing world of technology that includes the power of social media.  A practice that remains behind the times of technology and social media needs the millennial generation to put it into today’s marketplace.  Learning how to leverage the talents of the millennial generation that are necessary and unique to the past generations of boomers and gen-xers is necessary for the survival of the practices in the future.


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