There are days when, like the rest of us, you have wondered whether you should fire all the staff.
Likewise, your staff were probably thinking it wouldn’t be a bad idea to hire a new boss. What’s wrong with this picture?
Having worked with hundreds and hundreds of dental practices in Canada, we’ve observed that most dentists do a fairly decent job of hiring the right staff, but think they haven’t — simply because they’re not coaching them into the winning team.
To create YOUR dream team, here are 10 suggestions:
- Know exactly what YOUR practice goals are. And we’re not just talking dollars and cents here. YOU must determine what kind of practice you want (ie. general, cosmetic, preventive, associates), what type of patients you want, what level of care and service to provide. And yes, what level of profitability you want to achieve.
- Set specific POLICY for your practice. Define the guidelines for achieving your goals: what kind of payment plans are you going to allow patients; are you going to accept assignment; what fee schedule; cancellation policy and how are you going to enforce it; recall system and how the staff are to accomplish this; general staff guidelines, such as vacation, illness, uniforms, confidentiality of patient information, etc.
- Now you need some PLANS to achieve those goals. Such as, marketing plan (internal/external), bonus system for your staff, continuing education for dentist/staff, etc.
- A staff meeting once a week is a great place to review the statistics and progress of the practice toward your goals and then set up game plans, quotas to be met and targets to be accomplished in the next week. Well done staff meetings result in increased efficiency and productivity through coordination of staff efforts.
- Daily morning conferences coordinate the various aspects of the practice for the day as a team. Included are discussions of any special needs of patients coming in that day, treatment plan coordination, etc.
- Acknowledge your staff! Thank your team players for being there and doing their jobs effectively.
- When and how to correct a staff member is a touchy topic. Sometimes you feel like losing your cool when a staff member does something wrong in front of a patient, BUT DON’T!! Meet later privately, and discuss the incident and work out how to prevent it from recurring. Document it for the staff member’s personnel file.
- Now we get to the BONUS system. Incentive plans are an accepted method of acknowledging productivity and, if well designed, will enhance the viability of the practice.
- Lead by example. Be positive about how the practice is doing; don’t get negative when things appear to be going in the wrong direction. This pulls everyone down. As the leader of the practice you are expected to set a positive tone. Present the staff with a positive plan of action or get their input on one.
- Give your orders clearly and in writing and keep a copy for yourself to follow up on at a specified time.
Of course there are hundreds of other points to becoming the world’s best boss, but start with the above.