The dental industry is no exception. Throughout my career as a consultant, I’ve spent countless hours with dental team members, and one of the questions I ask is, “What aspect of your job gives you the most satisfaction?” Recently, I placed a poll on social media asking which of the following is most important to dental team members: Compensation, Appreciation, Relationships with Co-Workers or Other. The top answer by far, has always been appreciation. While monetary compensation is important to all, the overwhelming majority chose appreciation.
Consider this — how often to do you say “thank you” to patients? To your lab? To your supply consultant? To your equipment service technician? To your UPS person? I would hope that your answer is often or always. Now, how often do you thank the members of your team? It should be often. Examples: At the end of the morning huddle, say, “Thanks everyone, let’s have a great day!” At the end of the day when saying goodbye, say, “Thanks, have a great evening.” When you’re handed something by an employee. When you’re given a phone message. A great rule of thumb is, any time you have an interaction with a member of your team, end it on a positive note. If you have nothing else to say, just say “thank you.” Make “thank you” a habit, and trust me, this habit will pay offfor the rest of your career!
Additional Ways to Show Your Team They are Appreciated
*Provide a “thank you” lunch from time to time (you don’t have to go out, you can have it delivered from a local catering company, and it’s not necessary that you stay for the lunch).
* After a difficult week, give everyone a gift certificate for a manicure or pedicure.
* Look each team member in the eyes and say, “Thank you,” when giving any form of compensation. There is not a bigger morale killer than an employer who appears to begrudge employee compensation.
* Always pay your team on time and please don’t make them ask for their wages. * A yearly review is as important to members of your team as it is to you. They may expect to hear what they’ve done wrong. Tell them what they’re doing right and say, “Thank you for your loyalty.”
* Hold regular team meetings, be present and listen to what your team members say. Implement their suggestions when possible.
* Be fair, don’t play favorites. You’re human and you will have favorites, but you never want to make it obvious.
* Lead by example: Come to work on time. Don’t put your people on your team in the position of making excuses for you. If you want your team to care about your practice, you have to show that you care.
Chances are, You Will Hire at Least One Person Who is Not a Good Fit for Your Team
If there is someone in your employment who you don’t enjoy working with, let them go. They are likely just as unhappy as you are. Give this person the opportunity to find a job that’s a better fit. Their continued employment in your practice isn’t fair to either of you. The rest of your team can feel the tension, and your patients probably do, too.
Finally, surround yourself with competent, upbeat, professional people who have your back and say “thank you” often!
Mary Fisher Day’s career in dentistry has spanned more than three decades and began after graduating with Honors and a Certiﬁcation in Dental Assisting, from FlorenceDarlington College. Before beginning her Consulting career, she worked as a Chair-Side Assistant, Scheduling and Financial Coordinator, and Oﬃce Manager. Mary founded The Dental Business® in 2002. In addition to having been interviewed on some of the Industry’s leading Podcasts, she has authored articles, blogs, and columns for multiple dental publications.