9.8.17 Issue #809 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter
 

Want to Improve Your Practice? Start By Giving More Feedback
By Sally McKenzie, CEO

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A strong dental team doesn’t just develop on its own. It starts with hiring the best people for every role and then giving them the training and tools they need to succeed – as well as continual feedback.

Offering feedback on a regular basis will help your team members grow. They’ll be more motivated to improve performance and excel in their roles, leading to enhanced practice efficiencies and increased productivity. Providing feedback can really lead to positive change, yet, for some reason, most dentists simply don’t think about it.

As the practice CEO, it’s your job to offer your team members guidance. They crave this guidance, and often feel lost without it. When you offer feedback, your employees know exactly what they’re doing right and where they can improve, which is important to their growth and overall performance.

Still not convinced you need to make feedback part of your daily routine? Read on.

Yearly performance reviews aren’t enough
Many dentists limit their feedback to yearly performance reviews. They use the time to discuss any issues that have come up and ways to fix them. If there haven’t been any problems, they simply say great job and tell team members to expect a small bump in pay before sending them on their way. Sorry, doctor, but that simply isn’t enough. This approach gives team members absolutely no reason to improve their performance. They earned that raise, after all, and have no idea what areas they can improve in (and I’m sure there are some). So instead of working toward excellence, they maintain the status quo.

Your team members aren’t mind readers
It’s easy to think your employees would know if you weren’t happy with their performance, but that isn’t the case. If you’re not telling them, your team members have no idea what you’re thinking. This can actually lead to low team morale, high turnover rates and even staff conflict.

If you offer team members the guidance they need, which includes job descriptions, training and feedback, they’ll be much happier to come to the office each day – and that will show in the way they interact with each other and your patients. They’ll know they work in a positive environment that fosters professional development. This not only helps make team members more productive, it also makes them more likely to stay loyal to your practice.

Subtle hints won’t get you very far
Instead of telling team members about problems they’ve noticed, some dentists I’ve worked with opt to drop subtle hints. This might come in the form of a passing comment during a staff meeting or sticky notes with vague messages, both of which leave team members confused rather than motivated to make positive change.

Let me give you an example of how this can be damaging. Let’s say a practice is having serious financial problems, and the dentist simply mentions that money is a little tight during a monthly meeting. He doesn’t say why or discuss ways to address this pretty big issue. The result? Team members have no idea how bad the situation really is or how they can help bring more money into the practice. Nothing changes and the practice continues to suffer.

What’s a better way to handle this situation? The dentist could have talked to the Financial Coordinator about increasing over-the-counter collections, sat down with the Patient Coordinator to discuss ways to get more patients on the schedule, or talked with the Scheduling Coordinator to make sure everyone was being scheduled to meet production goals. From there, team members could have made the necessary changes to bring more revenue into the practice.

Incorporating feedback
So when and where should you give team members feedback? I suggest you make it part of your daily routine. When you see team members doing something positive, let them know you noticed and that you appreciate the effort. On the other hand, when you see team members do something wrong, or if you have advice on how they can do something better, take them aside and let them know. This will motivate employees to continue behaviors that earn praise and improve in areas where they’ve received constructive criticism.

If you’re looking for ways to strengthen and grow your practice, giving your team members feedback is an easy way to do it. Trust me, they’ll appreciate the guidance and will be motivated to go above and beyond. They’ll also be more confident in their skills because they’ll know what areas they excel in as well as where they need to put in a little more work.

Along with offering feedback, make sure team members know exactly what their contributions mean to practice success. You’ll soon find your employees are happier, more efficient and more productive, and that will do wonders for your bottom line. 

Next week: 5 tips to help you turn feedback into practice growth

For additional information on this topic and more, visit my blog: The Lighter Side

Interested in speaking to me about your practice concerns? Email sallymck@mckenziemgmt.com
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