As you already know, your skills as a dentist are only one component of your successful dental practice. The clinical skills, interpersonal relationships, and dedication of your team are also extremely important. In fact, since patients with healthy teeth will spend more time with your hygienists and administrative staff, a friendly, knowledgeable team is key to bringing in new business. Part of knowing how to run a successful dental practice is knowing how to hire – and keep – your dream team members.
At this point you may be thinking, “Dr. Deems, that’s impossible. There is no such thing as a ‘dream team.’ I’m lucky to have a team at all!” The truth is, you can assemble the ideal staff. It just takes perseverance, patience, and a little self-awareness. When you take the proper steps, you can boost your practice with a knowledgeable, friendly, long-tenured staff.
Let’s start from the beginning. Think of the hiring process as the dating scene. If you didn’t enjoy coffee with that person, do you really want to enter into a long relationship? The same is true of interviews and hiring. If you weren’t impressed during your initial meeting, you don’t want that person on your team. Only hire team members who:
- Show up to their interview on time and dressed professionally
- You believe will be a 10 at their job
- You believe will give 100% to your practice
- Gets a favorable report from your existing team members
- You have worked with for at least a day
- Provides references that you have followed up on
Do not sell yourself short. All too often, my clients hire team members simply because they are desperate to fill an empty spot or because they believe they will not find anyone else. Believe me, the temporary inconvenience of being shorthanded is preferable to the long term headache of being saddled with an ill-suited employee.
Specificity and Clearly Defined Roles
You can’t achieve your dreams if you don’t know what they are. To assemble your dream team, you must know exactly what you want from each employee, and you must be able to articulate these expectations at the initial interview. Do not simply include clinical skills and proficiencies. Mention expected attendance at team meetings, participation in community outreach, and similar activities. This will not only help you to find your ideal employees. It could also save you a huge hassle later down the road if you need to address a team member’s lack of dedication.
Hanging on to the Dream Team
Of course, finding the right employees means nothing if they don’t stay at your practice. Believe it or not, if you have a high turnover at your practice, it could have something to do with, well, you. As a business owner, you are responsible for creating a pleasant work environment and for guiding your team as they strive to be the best they can be. To keep your ideal team members, you should:
- Implement regular Growth Conferences for mutual communication and improvement.
- Take team members aside to address areas of concern before they become major problems for your practice.
- Encourage ongoing training for all members of your team.
- Celebrate professional accomplishments and personal milestones as a practice.
- Establish family-friendly work policies.
- Delegate tasks for improved efficiency and team member satisfaction.
- Work with a dental coach to identify other areas where you could improve your leadership skills.
When you know how to manage and encourage your team, you will not only enjoy increased business and greater efficiency. You will also feel happier, more supported, and more fulfilled in your work.