In 2007, Build Your Team, as Well as
by Sally McKenzie CEO
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When it comes to showing appreciation for staff, many dentists believe that exercise is an annual event, taken care of once a year, usually around the holidays. This year, make an effort to show staff appreciation January through December.
January – During your monthly meeting, set the tone for the coming year. Before you begin discussing your practice goals for the next 12 months, take five minutes and recognize each employee for something special that they’ve done recently. It doesn’t have to be long and flowery, but it must be genuine. For example, “Emily, you handled the collection situation with Mrs. Carson extremely well. I really appreciate your efforts to address that matter and handle it with such care.” Try to single out each employee in some positive way. In addition, encourage your staff to catch each other at their best and to share those at the monthly meetings during the coming year.
Each day, as you see your employees going above and beyond, handling a difficult situation, meeting a practice goal, etc. praise them, and, if possible, do so in front of others.
February - Give staff the tools to become more productive members of your team. Take them to the ADA or Chicago Midwinter Meeting or plan to provide individual training opportunities for them in the coming months.
Everyone in the office can benefit if you send one auxiliary to an educational seminar. Ask the designated staff member to attend on behalf of the office and present a mini workshop on what they’ve learned at a future staff meeting. This demonstrates to the employee that you value them and you are willing to invest in their professional growth. It also helps them to take ownership in educating the rest of the team on a new procedure or policy that can be implemented to improve the practice as a whole.
March – Encourage each staff member to take ownership of the success of the practice. Employees want to feel that they are contributing to the success of the team. One of the best ways is to identify a few systems or services in which the practice could improve, such as the new patient experience, recall, developing a practice website, etc. Assign a couple of staff members to draft a plan and a proposed strategy to address those areas.
Most employees take great satisfaction and ownership in shaping successful strategies and implementing them to the benefit of the entire practice. Moreover, team members provide critical insight into the integral workings of key systems and often their input into the development of policies, procedures, and new programs is invaluable.
April – Plan your monthly meeting offsite at the zoo or museum and allow time for the team to enjoy the outing.
May – Bring in fruit and bagels one day with a note to your team expressing your appreciation for their dedication and hard work. Mention practice goals that are on track and thank them for their contribution to making those goals a reality. For example, “Congratulations to my excellent team!” We’ve reached our production goals in four of the last five months. Way to go!”
June, July, August – Give each employee the opportunity to take one “Play Day” during the summer months. It will have to be scheduled so as not to cause a strain on the team, but the day is considered a “free day” and is not charged as vacation, personal, or sick time.
September – Treat the team to the movies and snacks. Inventory your appreciation efforts. Are you catching employees at their best and recognizing their efforts? Are your employees making the effort to show appreciation for each other?
October – Give an “Above and Beyond” award to one of your employees who has done something exceptional over the past 10 months. Or recognize a small group of employees who were instrumental in developing and implementing improvements to a key system.
November – Give thanks to each and every one of your employees. Write them a note and include it with their paycheck that tells them you are thankful for their contribution and dedication.
December – Enjoy a holiday season that doesn’t have you scrambling trying to come up with some token gift to fulfill some holiday expectation. Instead, give appreciation throughout the year and enjoy a relaxing dinner out with your staff and their families.
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