Every successful dentist knows that their team is an essential part of providing quality care to their communities. You may be the one caring for your patients’ teeth, but your team contributes to the overall customer satisfaction and makes the whole system work. If you don’t have a cohesive unit, you’ll likely run into problems that will hinder your ability to provide the level of care you’d like to.
Putting together a dental dream team should be one of your top priorities. It is simply too important for it to not demand your time and commitment. Studying and putting into action the aspects that help you curate a great team, as well as working to cultivate a workplace that keeps your team working together, is hard work. It will also set you up for success like few other things can. Let’s look at how to do it.
What makes a dental dream team?
When we set out to put together a great dental team, we tend to do many of the things right. We seek out candidates with experience in the field. We may look to local dental schools for a pipeline to young dental professionals entering the job market. But why would these great candidates want to come to work with you and your organization? Answering this question is the key to developing your dental dream team.
Developing a great dental team will ultimately come down to you and your leadership team. Even the greatest group of dental team members you can find may flounder without a solid plan and managers who empower them to succeed.
You can’t simply build a dental dream team by hiring some decent talent and hope it works out. All teams need great leadership to perform at their best. In the same way, a great coach can get top performance out of their athletes. A great dental practice management team can get top performance out of their dental professionals.
If you aren’t a natural-born leader, it’s a great idea to spend a little time and energy developing some leadership skills. You can also look for a great office manager to add some leadership experience to your team. What does a dental office manager do if not lead your team?
Talented and dedicated team members
Your team members don’t necessarily need decades of experience to be great cogs in your dream machine, but they should have complementary skill sets and be dedicated and trustworthy individuals. If they have those traits, they can be trained to be valuable team members.
A well defined mission
We’re all looking for a sense of purpose in our daily lives, both at home and work. If your company’s mission is vague or absent entirely, employees may have a hard time reminding themselves why it is that they come in every morning.
By defining and living your company mission, and the reason you do what you do in the first place, you’ll give them daily reminders that what they’re doing is important to the lives of their patients and communities.
Reward them for exemplifying that mission, and you’ll find yourself with a dental dream team that takes it upon themselves to reflect your company mission in everything they do.
Setting personal and professional goals
If we don’t feel ourselves growing in life, things become stagnant. By developing goals, we give ourselves something to strive for and a reason to go in every day. It’s the difference between going through the same motions every day and making strides toward something that means a great deal to us.
Encourage your team to set and meet goals in their personal and professional lives. Going back to school might help them take on a bigger role. If a member of your team wants to learn how to be a successful dentist, maybe you can help in showing them the way. Achieving goals fills us with pride, makes us more well-rounded people, and gives us a sense of fulfillment.
At the end of the day, the most important trait of any dental team is genuine care about their patients. Setting and achieving goals is great, but delivering quality care to our patients is why we got into this business in the first place. If your team is going to do its job exceptionally, every team member should feel the same way.
How to nurture your dental dream team
Knowing how to put together a dental dream team is the first half of the battle. Nurturing the team you’ve put together is the second. Once you’ve put a great team together, the real work of helping them develop personally and professionally begins. By showing a commitment to your team, you’ll get amazing results, as well as a cohesive unit that will impress you daily. Here are some ways to keep your team happy.
Create well defined job descriptions
If you want your team to deliver, they have to know what you expect from them. Too many well-meaning dentists fail to fully complete this step, and their new hires simply don’t know what’s expected of them.
By laying out their objectives and expectations, you empower them to thrive in their respective roles. You also show them that you care enough about their success to let them know what you want.
A checklist is a great way to accomplish this. Creating a checklist based on your expectations not only gives them a roadmap to success but allows you to delegate tasks that would otherwise eat up a substantial portion of your time.
Make work enjoyable
The most important part of developing and keeping members of a dental team happy is making the workplace an enjoyable place to be. Some days are harder than others, but keeping morale up through things like office meals, occasional outings, or any other team building activities can help your staff get through those days.
Not all aspects of our work days can be fun, but creating an atmosphere where employees genuinely enjoy coming to work every day can mean the difference between employees who stress out and those who work together to overcome whatever the day throws at them.
Develop a great company culture
A huge part of performing well is enjoying what you do and the people you do it with. If you want your employees to enjoy their jobs, they need to really respect the team they work with and the company they work for. Getting to that point involves developing a company culture where your employees feel valued as members of the team while knowing that the work they do is important. It’s how to run a successful dental practice.
Even the hardest workers may struggle if they feel like their workplace culture is lacking. Focus on the values that really drive you and your team members. They may even tell their friends about the great place they work, creating a new pipeline to potential hires in the future. So, how do you identify team members who share your values?
Make your company culture and values a large part of your recruiting and interviewing process. Knowing they will be held accountable to a team that espouses the same values will be attractive to the best candidates and will help you identify potential weak links early on. Company culture is the best way to both assemble and keep your dental dream team for the long haul.
Nothing shows your dental office team members that you trust and value them, like allowing them to take the reins in handling things themselves. Delegating tasks does more than just make your employees feel better about themselves. It makes YOU feel better. By taking some things off your plate, you’ll feel less stressed and more able to focus on developing your team and building your practice.
Celebrate your team
We all crave recognition. When we do a great job, we want people to notice. By celebrating your employee’s accomplishments and personal milestones, you show that you care about their well-being. Identify the members of the dental healthcare team who are going above and beyond, and recognize and reward them for their hard work. It motivates team members to accomplish their goals and allows them to celebrate their colleagues when they do the same.
Dedicate yourself to your dental dream team
Having all the information will set you up for success, but in order to reach the finish line with the team of your dreams, you need to really practice what you know. Understanding how to manage a dental office that attracts and retains top talent is one thing, but it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t take action. Dedicate yourself to the process, actually practice the plan you’ve put together, and see your dental dream team vision come to life.