Hiring the right team is one of the most challenging—and most important—parts of growing a successful business. Keeping this team connected and enthusiastic is equally as important, especially for businesses (like dental practices) in industries where unemployment is low and the labor gap is high.
Creating a strong, positive culture within your practice is one way to attract applicants and retain amazing hygienists, assistants, and associates. If you haven’t considered structured team building for your practice, you may want to explore some of these popular activities that can make the workday more enjoyable, strengthen the bond between team members, and contribute to a successful long-term team building strategy.
1. Enjoy Team Lunches Together
If your days are normally filled with back-to-back patients, your team may be used to short breaks or skipping lunch altogether. While this may indicate that your practice is busy, it has the potential to overwork and overwhelm team members. It also gives them little time to rest and reduces the time they connect with each other. (You should also check with your state and local employment requirements to ensure you’re compliant with regulations).
Sponsoring a regular team lunch—perhaps on a monthly basis—is an effective way to ensure your employees are getting to spend time together. Schedule these in advance and ensure that time is blocked out on your practice’s calendar, especially if you need to block appointments for the hour.
The lunch you host doesn’t have to be formal—coming together for something as simple as a party sub or pizza can be an easy way to provide an enjoyable experience for everyone. Another option is taking your team out for lunch every once in a while. The change of venue gives your team the chance to completely take their minds off of work.
Whichever option you choose, during this break in the day, the entire team can connect and recharge for the busy afternoon. As a practice leader, these lunches also give you the opportunity to thank employees, which contributes to helping them feel valued and supported.
2. Create a Team Memory Wall
Memory walls are exactly what they sound like—a physical space to share photos and mementos to celebrate your team members’ lives. The photos can be of anything important to your employees, whether at work or outside of work. Encourage employees to include photos of their own life events, such as new family members, vacations, holiday photos, and more. Dedicating space for work photos is also important. Include snapshots from team lunches, holiday celebrations, theme days, and anything else that’s important to your team.
A mix of both can be valuable, as it provides team members with opportunities to see each other in personal and professional situations. They might even bond over common interests, shared family traditions, or other parts of their lives.
The best part about memory walls is that they are incredibly simple to set up! You can use a bulletin board, corkboard, or magnetic whiteboard. Each of these are inexpensive, personal to your team, and easy to update.
3. Engage in Friendly Competition
Adding some friendly, healthy competition is an excellent way to create fun memories with your team.
Because it might be hard to carve out time for complex games, finding short, enjoyable games is the best way to make this team bonding experience effective.
One of our favorite games to play is yard golf! You may have also heard it called ladder ball. It's quick, easy, and fun.
How it works: Two teams set up goals that look like ladders, across from one another. Then they throw bolas at the rungs on the ladder. There are three rungs, and players score points by landing their bolas on one of those rungs.
This inexpensive game is easy to set up and quick to play, which makes it perfect for a lunch hour game or a short afternoon break. And, if yard golf doesn’t sound like a game your team would enjoy, there are plenty of similar games to get your team bonding, interacting, and enjoying some friendly competition.
How You Manage Your Dental Practice Matters
Managing your dental practice and the people who make it possible is complex. To learn more about strengthening your practice by building a strong team, download this free ebook today.