Culture means everything when it comes to dental practice success.
Does your office give a sense of warmth and motivated energy when you walk in or does it feel like utter chaos and stress? Dentists strive to create practices where patients can feel at ease about their dental treatment, and while much of an office atmosphere is dependent upon employees’ personalities, the personality of an office really falls on the dental owner.
Dental owners need to be a positive influence on their team and lead by example to have their staff follow and deliver the “wow experience” your patients deserve. How can you develop an office culture that patients and even employees want to be immersed in? Here’s how.
1. Set annual goals to reach collaboratively.
You don’t need to get into the nitty gritty of your office production with every single person, but what you should do is make goals for your team to reach so they can be a part of your evolving practice. Schedule a meeting with your entire team to discuss how you can all work together to set monthly and quarterly goals like:
- New patients
- Accepted braces treatment
- Hygiene patients
- Whitening treatment
Then, reward your team when you reach these goals. A reward system makes your staff feel more engaged and part of the journey you are on to create a successful practice. Staff who feel like they are working in an environment that is designed for growth are more motivated and enthusiastic than those who feel stagnated by their office environment. Reaching monthly and annual goals is one of the best ways to keep track of your production and find areas where you can improve or pat yourself on the back.
2. Define your team roles clearly.
It can be stressful in a dental practice where there are many administrative tasks and clinical duties. When you hire a team member, review their job role, but clarify that it is important to work together as a team and pitch in when needed in other areas. Hygienists can occasionally schedule recalls, but it is not their main job responsibility – just like your administrative team is not hired to assist in the operatory.
People feel more comfortable when there is clear communication and mutual respect, so as long as you are transparent about their job responsibilities, it should make for an easier work environment. It is recommended to have an office manual signed when a new employee is hired, so when there is an issue with team responsibilities, you can always reference back to a clear document.
3. Commit to continuing education for your team.
Professional growth is an important part of making your team culture especially when you have high expectations of your employees in a dental setting. Consider signing your team up for continuing education courses in orthodontics so that everyone in the practice has the knowledge and skills to offer patients a new, highly sought out service. Taking orthodontic courses for general dentists and their team is a great way for the team to bond while out of the office.
When you are looking for continuing education for you and your team, the American Orthodontic Society has courses for everyone to get them on the same page to treat patients. The Basic Straight Wire Course and the Orthodontic Assistant Training Course are two ways you and the team can experience something rewarding together. When everyone in the practice grows professionally and personally, you’ll quickly notice your practice culture blossoming.
4. Schedule meaningful meetings.
Sometimes when people think of daily meetings, it can become redundant or non-productive. Design your meetings to be quick and efficient. A five-minute team meeting prior to each workday can allow you to review any new protocols, patient issues, and announcements you want to make.
You can always have monthly or quarterly meetings that are longer and more detailed, but a quick huddle prior to the work day is a great way to get everyone together – just like a sports team gathers together before a game for team spirit and encouragement!
5. Celebrate wins, big and small.
A dental office may celebrate a big win, like having multiple patients signing orthodontic treatment plans, or a small celebration, like a referral of a large family because they enjoy your hygienist’s chairside manner. Either way, you want to acknowledge when one of your team members goes out of their way with a patient or works together to create a challenging situation less stressful.
Reward your team members with a lunch or small bonus. Offer to take them for a team building workshop like a continuing education course so they can improve their resumes and skills. When you show respect to your team, they will look to you as a leader and deliver high quality work that shows.
Start your journey to success with training from the American Orthodontic Society.
Dental practice success is defined by your office production and collection rate, but producing high in a stressed and miserable working environment just serves for a short, jaded career. Instead, focus on creating a positive attitude and mutually respectful practice where your team is there because they want to be. In the long run, your office will produce more and you’ll rarely feel like you’re working hard for it.
Take a look at our available courses today or call us at (972) 234-4000 to learn more about how we can help you achieve the vision you see for your practice’s future.
To learn more about our popular orthodontics courses for pediatric and general dentists, check out one of the upcoming events below.