If you have multiple dental offices, creating a unified team can often be challenging. Here are some tips that may help create a united front in your operations.
Have Short Team Meetings Each Morning
Each morning, your team should meet for 15-20 minutes to discuss your goals for the day and any obstacles that may prevent you from reaching those goals. Involve your entire team, including dental assistants, associate dentists, hygienists, and administrative staff.
Give employees a chance to speak up, but make sure your team knows that time is limited and grievances and other significant issues should be addressed at another time. You, one of your dental associates, or your office manager should lead the team meeting. Do your best to keep the tone of the meeting positive and motivating.
Be Consistent Across All Offices
Consistency is likely key if you want your dental practice to function like a well-oiled machine, and this is particularly true when you have more than one office. Make sure your offices use the same computer software, dental equipment, and tools. If you provide one office with a coffee machine, all your offices should have a coffee machine. Visit each of your offices with the express purpose of identifying differences. Then, determine if the cost of bringing each office up to speed is within your budget and worth the expense. Focus on aspects of your dental practice that affect the patient experience.
Show Your Team Appreciation
It's important for your team members to feel like they are appreciated. This can sometimes be difficult to do when you have a large dental practice or have multiple offices. Make sure to recognize your employees' hard work on a frequent basis, even if it's something as simple as sending an email response that says, "Good job!"
Consider showing your appreciation by hosting a summer picnic or having a catered holiday dinner and allow your staff to bring their families. Give out bonuses, gifts, or hold a drawing for free prizes. On birthdays, you can give your employees a card and a small gift, or have a cake brought to the office.
Offer Adequate Training to Associate Dentists, Hygienists, and Administrative Staff
Your staff members may want to succeed, but they'll have a harder time doing so if you don't provide them with adequate training to get the job done. Develop an onboarding program across all your offices to help new dental associates, dental assistants, hygienists, and administrative assistants get acclimated. Assign each new hire a mentor that can help provide them with hands-on day-to-day training. Check-in with your new hires every week for the first month, and then again at 90 days, to make sure they're meeting goals and receiving the education they need.
Provide Your Staff with Uniforms
Uniforms may not seem like a big deal, but putting together an appropriate office wardrobe or having to purchase scrubs can be a significant ongoing expense for your employees. Instead, provide new hires with a set of scrubs for each day of the week and give your staff members a few new pairs of scrubs per year. Not only does this alleviate extra stress and cost for your employees, but it can also help your dental practice look more professional. Purchase scrubs in the same color, or coordinate colors each day of the week to create a uniform look.
Implement Cloud-Based Dental Practice Management Software
Cloud-based dental practice management software is a great option for dental practices, but it's practically an absolute necessity for dentists with multiple offices. Since patients can easily switch from office to office, their records need to be accessible by any of your employees at any of your offices, at any time. Cloud-based software helps you achieve this easily, allowing you to store your patients' dental x-rays, charts, and procedure notes online. Make sure to provide your staff with comprehensive training on any new software you implement and bring new hires up to speed with dedicated time spent learning the program.
Show Team Members How to Learn from Their Mistakes
No matter what you do to try to prevent them, mistakes are bound to happen. Even when you have the most qualified associate dentists, hygienists, and other staff on your team, to err is human. Instead of being overly critical of your staff members, provide them with constructive feedback about their mistakes. Help them understand not only what went wrong but also how they can avoid making the same mistake in the future. Give them solutions and be open to listening to their feedback about what might have caused the problem. If multiple employees are making the same mistake, this can alert you to a gap in your training protocol.
Having a cohesive team is a critical component to the success of your dental practice. When your team functions as a whole, even across multiple dental offices, it often reduces team errors, improves the patient experience, and positively impacts your bottom line in other tangible ways.
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Treloar & Heisel, Inc. and its divisions do not offer office management advice. Please consult a professional concerning this topic.