4 Steps to Efficient Team Management

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CoVid has changed so much in our world and our team is no exception. Team management seems to be more troubling now than ever before.  Ensuring you have the right people on board, trained effectively, and sharing your vision is a process and one we may not have a lot of time for. However, if you don’t take the time now, your team can make or break you in the long run. Getting the right people on the bus and in the right seats is a 4-step process. As you start this journey, remember this “You can always train for skill, you cannot train attitude” Let’s look at the steps.

Step #1-Finding the Right Person
This might be the hardest step. Where do you look? How do you look? What are you really looking for? Make a list of the qualities that make up your perfect team player. Make sure you have a job description and clearly defined responsibilities and expectations for you and for your prospects. If you have a great applicant, they will ask you what you are searching for. A great applicant is not just searching for a job they are looking for a long-term commitment. Next, think outside of the box. Step outside of your industry. Look to great companies or industries that are customer service-oriented. Ask around family members and friends about high-quality performers.

Social media is an effective tool also. LinkedIn is the obvious choice. You can be very detailed in what you are looking for. Make sure you check for messages often during the day. The next choices in social media are Facebook and Instagram. It is best to be less descriptive on these sites and ask applicants to message you rather than post a comment. Once you have people contacting you it is time to prepare for your interviews. Know what questions you will ask and what answers you hope to hear. Research and create out-of-the-box questions that will make the applicant think on their feet, which will also give you a better idea of their true personality. Allow your team to meet your top 3 to 5 applicants, perhaps allow them to take the person to lunch. And once you have this narrowed down, it is a good idea to ask the applicants to take a communication or personality profile to ensure they will fit in with the rest of your team. And don’t forget to check past employment and references.

Step #2-Hiring the Right Person
Know what you can afford and what benefits you will offer. Be prepared with all communication and documents. It is important to have job titles and responsibilities in writing, as well as acknowledgement forms. Review the offer and all documents in person if possible, with the lucky person. Prepare an onboarding document that will describe the first 4 to 12 weeks of employment in your office, what they can expect from you and what you expect from them. This document should include HR information, training information as well as any team events. Ask what questions you can answer for the new team member. Ensure you and the member has signed the document and each of you has a copy.

Step #3-Training the Right Person
This step must be repeated daily, weekly, monthly, and then yearly! There is not such a thing as too much training. Offer webinars, videos, online training, books, and hands-on, anything that will enable this new qualified and excited team member a chance to love what they do. Make sure you have a training program in place, it is detailed, and you and the team member sign off on each phase of the training.

Step #4-Retaining the Right Team Member
It’s true, it costs you 38% of a team member’s salary to replace them. If you have the right team on the bus and in the right seats, it is now your job to keep them there. Your practice doesn’t succeed just because of your dentistry. Your team can bring in new patients and ensure existing patients continue to step into your practice. Or they can run everyone away. Hiring well from the beginning costs less and saves you great frustration.

This is a process and one that should have well-laid out plans. Don’t let yourself get down or frustrated. Take your steps and do it right the first time so you don’t have to continually replace your team. Remember to have a plan when searching for your new employee. Hire with confidence and organization and train them continuously. If you are organized in those first 3 steps, #4 will happen naturally.
Here’s to a successful employee hunt!

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SOMETIMES, PATIENTS GO TO THE DENTIST: fully expecting to get their teeth cleaned and to be told everything looks great. On days like that, finding out they have cavities or gum disease is especially hard. The way the dentist or the hygienist breaks the bad news can make a huge difference, and it can be a crucial aspect of patient loyalty. So how can you, the dentist or the hygienist, soften the blow when you must educate your patients that they’re going to need more dentistry done than they expected?

Know Your Audience: Understanding another person’s listening and communication style can make this sometimes-uncomfortable situation just a conversation about remaining healthy. First and foremost, the team member having the conversation with the patient must feel confident in the diagnosis and the treatment proposed. Everyone has a certain communication style, identifying those styles is the next step in creating ease and understanding. Some people need just the facts while others need detailed explanations.  Listen to the patient, hear key words or trigger points and you will understand their style. It is then up to you, the presenter, to speak to them in a way they will retain the information.

The Problem, The Treatment and The Solution: Remember to educate patients, what is the diagnosis, why and how do we get them healthy again. When we approach a situation as “What is best for my patient”, the rest becomes easy. Make sure the whole team is on the same page. Everyone in the office should understand why we do the dentistry we do. Everyone needs to understand the diagnosis and remember we are educators. We are constantly educating our patients about why we provide and how we provide the health care we do. Verbal skills and amazing hand-offs between team members can be essential to this process.

Help Your Patients Say YesOnce we understand the patient’s communication style and present the diagnosis along with the treatment, the next step is to help them say yes. Having options available and presenting all the options is key. Sit down with your patients, in a private location to discuss their needs and your ability to help them. Listen to their concerns and then present with confidence in your ability to assist them in returning to health.

Display the Comfort of Professionalism and Confidence. Your overall attitude with patients can play just as important a role in how well they react to bad news. When patients feel comfortable and educated they trust us. Being confident and professional can be the most reassuring part of your approach. Listening to our patients, presenting their treatment, and offering options in a positive manner will ensure success.

Remember, what we all long for is excellent communication and empathy. Especially when being presented with unfortunate news. Make sure you and the entire team are on the same page by knowing your patient’s communication style, educating the patient regarding their diagnosis and treatment needed and offering multiple payment options. Keep patients for a lifetime with your professionalism and confidence.

Just as you love to see your patients smile, we love to see you succeed!

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