Create and Keep Your Dream Team

Keep your patients coming back!

What is the key element to keeping your patients coming back to your dental practice? Your team! They are the backbone of your practice and they are the “face” of your practice. They manage every phase of the patient experience, from answering the phone, answering questions, delivering care, and saying goodbye at the end of the visit. Your team keeps your practice running smoothly, your systems working, your patients happy, and the dentist happy. This will not happen without a team that is working together with no drama. Here are 5 tips to ensure you have your dream team.

1. Don’t hire the first warm body with an impressive resume.
Your hectic schedule and the time you devote to patient care are not an excuse. Invest in finding the “right” person for your practice. Without the right people on your team, you will constantly hire and rehire. This makes your team unable to focus on delivering the level of care you expect. We recommend holding a “Job Orientation”. This 2 hour meeting will allow the cream to rise to the top, and the superior candidates to standout. It takes the pile of received resumes and allows you to see who they are as compared to all the others. This will determine who is given your valuable time in a formal interview.

2. Use behavioral based interviewing questions and check references
There are two terrible places to sit during an interview. In front of the desk as the interviewee wondering what is going to happen next, and behind the desk as the interviewer wondering the same thing. The best applicants will be interviewing you as well, don’t show up unprepared, unkempt, or disorganized. Plan the questions you will ask to help you understand their willingness, emotional maturity, manageability, ability to prioritize, and personality. Really listen to their response, don’t focus on your next question. Check references and their previous salary. Realize that some people interview well and become someone else on the job. Let the “Jekyll and Hyde” hire go sooner rather than later.

3. Hold Performance Reviews regularly
High performing team members want feedback. What holds you back from helping them analyze how they are doing on the job? Have performance reviews at least annually and in a way that makes sense for you. Everyone in one week, or on one day, spaced out throughout the year, or on each team members’ anniversary date. Make the team accountable for scheduling the reviews. Set a deadline for their portion of the review to be turned in to you a week prior to your review with them. Start now to define your system for a formal annual performance review. Know some team members will need more than annual review. Coaching the team to improved performance and ensuring everyone is working toward practice goals, is the priority for the leader of the practice.

4. The “Team Integrity Agreement”
This commitment between all members of the team consists of appropriate and acceptable behavior standards for the practice. It includes statements such as: I will treat all patient information in a confidential manner, I will turn off or silence my cell phone during business hours, I will arrive at work on time and be a dependable employee, I will clock out when I am no longer working, I will use the internet for business purposes only. This creates a standard set of expectations for everyone. The Doctor included. When behavior is outside of the agreement, it is easy to discuss because everyone agreed to the standards. Ignoring unacceptable behavior only generates confusion amongst the team and passive aggressive behavior from the dentist or other team members.

5. Develop teamwork
Schedule team events outside of the practice. Do a murder mystery with your team, decorate Valentine’s as a group and have your patients vote on the “best”, go to a sporting event, amusement park, or dental meeting. Be involved in your community by sponsoring or participating in a local event. Go bowling or play softball. Do something together. This allows people to get to know one another on a personal level and have fun!

The interest you take in your team member’s lives outside of the practice is given back. Take each individual team member out to lunch twice a year. Talk about them as part of the practice and about their lives, what’s going well, what they want to see different, how their job impacts their life outside. With genuine curiosity and devoted time, you will get a return on your investment in the form of a committed and dedicated team.

To build a tight knit team takes time, energy, and effort. Once you have a strong team, everyone reaps the rewards. Better interactions with patients, feeling like the team is helping to achieve the practice vision rather than you pulling the team along, and less stress. Follow these 5 tips and create your dream team. If you have questions or need more information, contact us!