How to Conduct Performance Reviews at a Dental Practice

Posted by Amy Carbone on Nov 2, 2020 9:00:00 AM

Regular performance reviews may be an important part of establishing and maintaining a dental practice. Unfortunately, the process of performing them and the reasons behind it aren’t typically taught in dental school. Learn more about conducting reviews in your practice.

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Why Are Regular Performance Reviews Necessary?

Regular performance reviews may help your employees know what they are doing well, learn what areas can be improved upon and consequently educate them on how to thrive in their careers. They can also assist you as the practice owner in understanding how to change specific aspects of your business to seek to build a more positive working environment.

Performance reviews can also help to establish roles for various employees, define growth points for employees to work towards, and celebrate their accomplishments. In this way, regular reviews may play a key role in developing and coaching your team as you together pursue success.

Now, let’s look at some of the things that should be part of a regular performance review. Here are some actionable steps you can incorporate into your current review process to make it more effective. Enacting these, along with the 11 tips for running a successful dental practice, may help you pursue a positive working environment full of loyal, happy and fulfilled employees:

How to Conduct Dental Performance Review

Step 1: Establish Regularity

Don’t think of employee reviews as a way to “catch” employees off their game, or try to prove wrongdoing. For example, employees would never know if or when a review was coming. Instead, complete reviews on a regular schedule, and communicate this schedule to the entire practice. The most common way to approach this is to enact annual reviews.

Annual reviews are the most common timeframe for full-time employee reviews. However, if you want to do reviews more often than that to ensure your practice is moving in the right direction and there are no underlying problems, you can instead opt for 30, 60, or 90-day reviews. Some practices choose to perform annual reviews for employees who have been on board for some time and shorter increments of time between reviews for new hires.

Step 2: Discuss Basic Work Expectations

This is often the bulk of a review. During this time, you can address the areas listed below. There are some examples of questions listed after each category you can consider. Obviously, they are just suggestions as you will have to compile a list of review questions that work for your individual practice and team of professionals:

  • Strengths: What are the strengths exhibited by the employee?
  • Areas of Improvement: Are there any notable areas of improvement that need attention? Does the employee need to focus more on timeliness, customer interaction, etc.? Has there been notable improvement since the last evaluation that deserves attention?
  • Attitude: Does the employee exhibit a good team attitude always, even when patients are not present?
  • General Knowledge: Does the employee understand the scope of their job thoroughly, or are there areas of confusion?
  • Patient Interaction: Does the employee interact well with patients and other team members?
  • Timeliness: Does the employee arrive to work on time and do they treat patients promptly?
  • Accomplishments: Are there any notable accomplishments that an employee deserves to have highlighted?
  • Compensation/ Benefits: Is the employee happy with their current compensation and benefit level? Is their compensation level and benefits in line with the area in terms of the average pay scale?

One suggestion to make this process run smoother is to have your employees prepare their own personal review by completing self-evaluations. If you then complete the same evaluation about the employee, you can see where you and the employee are seeing eye-to-eye and where there are discrepancies. This can be a beneficial and enlightening exercise for your employee.

For example, you might rate them at a level five for employee interaction because you are impressed with how they treat customers, but they are hard on themselves, ranking themselves a three. This disparity would give you a good opportunity to encourage the employee, highlighting how well they do in a certain area. Of course, it can also reveal areas that need improvement. All in all, it’s a good way to shine the light on various issues.

Step 3: Follow Up

After a review, it’s important to follow up on any notable points or discoveries. For example, it’s important to check on an employee and see how they are progressing in a specific area after highlighting it in the review. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a scheduled sit-down session. It can be a follow-up email or a quick conversation when you have a minute. You can make an appointment for a more in-depth conversation if you feel the issue needs more focused attention. 

The bottom line is to follow up on any issue that is addressed during the initial performance review. After all, performance reviews do little good if employees feel they are meaningless. Therefore, followup may be necessary to ensure what is said and evaluated during the review process means something.

Learn More about Running a Dental Practice

As mentioned above, completing regular employee evaluations through performance reviews may be an important aspect of pursuing a healthy working environment. It makes sense if you think about it. If you never ask your team members or employees how they feel if they are happy, or what they feel needs improvement, you might lose good team members simply because they don’t feel heard or appreciated.

Regular performance reviews also give you a great opportunity to address issues in a non-confrontational manner, allowing you to indicate areas of needed improvement without “calling out” a team member. Finally, it allows you to give your hard-working team members much needed encouragement if they are feeling discouraged. Remember the adage, “an employee who feels appreciated will always do more than asked.”

In addition to the steps listed above on how to conduct regular performance reviews, consider these 11 tips for running a dental practice. These two resources may assist you with seeking a healthy working environment, one that promotes teamwork and excellent patient care.

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Topics: Dental Practice Business Tips