Last month we discussed MOTIVATION and the five most important factors that make team members feel charged, significant, and responsible for lifting your practice to a world-class level of service, astounding TLC that is way above patients’ expectations. Following are specific ideas that I’ve seen work wonders motivating the dental team in many practices.”
Ideas for motivating your staff:
Indoctrinate your staff with the concept, “You work WITH me rather than FOR me.” Only by being convinced this synergistic relationship is real in your office can your team deliver the BEST for your patients.
Even a cheery “Good morning. How’re you doing today?” to each staff member makes a difference. I’ve worked in several offices in which staff members confided to me that their doctor never even said, “Good morning.”, and that set a dark tone for the day.
Have a morning huddle led by a different staff member each day. Include a good thought, a short inspirational message, at the end of each huddle.
End each day with a “Thank you. Good day!” to each team member.
Inspire loyalty within your team---loyalty to you the dentist, to each other, to patients, and to the practice. And remember, team members mirror what is demonstrated to them---loyalty must start with you, Doctor.
Demonstrate that you have their best interest at heart through professional growth and CE opportunities, immediately rewarding, either verbally or tangibly, good behavior and outstanding work, and teaching/coaching team members to feel the significance of improvements in their work skill level.
If possible, consider which roles on the team can be filled by two people job sharing. Many staff members, Millennials particularly, may choose to work reduced hours, even if it means less pay. To a team member who prefers to job share, this shouts, “I value you even if you can work only part-time.”
Write a Mission Statement for the practice together, everyone contributing thoughts. Frame the Statement and hang it in your reception room.
Delegate meaningful responsibilities to well trained staff members. Get frequent feedback and progress reports, but avoid the tendency many dentists have to micro-manage.
Allow and encourage team members to use their initiative.
Properly orient and train new team members. Written checklists help assure consistency in your orientation and training programs.
Schedule regular one-on-one discussions, preferably quarterly, with individuals about job performance, in-office interpersonal relationships, and work skill development.
Conduct annual or semi-annual performance appraisals, held separately from discussions about wages or benefits. (If the two are combined, the team member may be so busy waiting for news of a raise that goals for work improvement are ignored.)
Allow staff members to have “Area Meetings” in which Business staff meets together while Clinical staff meets together. Details, problems, and successes in each Area can be hammered out by those directly involved. Team members can rotate facilitation of Area meetings or the long-term, experienced, natural leader of the Area can facilitate meetings. Reports from each Area can be shared at the monthly General Staff Meeting.
Monthly Staff Meetings organized around a written agenda to which all team members contribute are a must. Take notes and follow-up on suggestions and changes.
An annual day-long, off-site Planning Retreat, ideally in the fall, is a real boost, motivating staff members to survey the past year and help plan new goals for the next year. A written agenda with everyone taking notes keeps the day on track and über-productive.
Keep a roll of “Appreciation” stickers in all areas of the office so that team members can reward one another with a quick, stick-on “Thank you.”
“Appreciation-Grams”, 1/2 page forms on which one team member can compliment another for specific action(s), are invaluable aids to motivation.
Staff and doctor appreciation days (or hours) can add to the general upbeat, “We appreciate each other.” aura of the office. Let staff plan how appreciation will be expressed within a certain budget supplied by the doctor.
Patient appreciation parties are a novel idea that allows proud-to-show-off-our- office team members to act as hosts.
Staff awards, plaques, diplomas, and certificates should be framed and displayed in the office.
Undertake charity dental projects as a team at least annually, or preferably, more often, perhaps quarterly. Allow staff to choose the recipients of this care.
An office scrapbook is a fun way to preserve good memories and the practice history.
Small gifts, tokens of appreciation from the dentist, go a long way toward building a spirit of “I appreciate your part in caring for our patients.” One client whom I’ve known for years meets payroll twice per month, and every paycheck is accompanied by a small thank-you---a candy bar, a pack of gum, a fresh flower, a gift card for a cup of Starbucks. Once I was there to see the laughs generated by a huge deli dill pickle in a plastic bag accompanying each paycheck.
And don’t forget to celebrate together---family parties, holiday get-togethers, birthday remembrances, etc.
A rotating “We Care Team” made up of two or three team members at a time can plan CE attendance for the team, celebrations and parties, charity dental projects, and other special office times. Give them an annual budget so funds are available and profit from the results.
Try some combination or all of these ideas. Doing so will stimulate your thinking of even more ways to motivate your team. When a motivational aura is alive and well in your office, watch your individual team members, and with them, your practice, accelerate on all burners.