Gift to Avoid Holiday “Chill”
The season of giving often becomes the
moment of truth for many doctors. It is frequently the only time
of year when they take time to acknowledge the contributions of
their team members. Because there is little more than a head nod
for a job well done from January through November, doctors feel
the pressure mounting to do something really spectacular once December
1st arrives. In a desperate attempt to atone for a year’s
worth of staff neglect in a single swoop, many doctors
will go overboard in their zeal to impress the staff – a
expensive gifts and/or bonuses, and so on.
Then like a big ol’ lump of coal in your fruitcake the team
barely acknowledges the elaborate bash at the nice restaurant, the
time out of the office for an extra long lunch, or those fancy diamond
necklaces. Bah Humbug!
reality, the best gift you can give your team doesn’t involve
a single penny. Appreciation and gratitude have no monetary cost,
but given with sincerity are priceless to the employee. Instead
of trying to top whatever you did last year and resenting the unappreciative
team members in the process, sit down and write a personal
note to each of your employees. Think about their contribution
to the success of the practice and share that with them. The note
can be simple and straight forward but must be completely sincere.
During the staff holiday gathering read each note aloud to the team
and hand it to the staff member with a sincere “Thank you.”
If you are giving holiday gifts, establish a budget.
The gifts don’t need to be expensive but they should reflect
that employee’s individual likes or interests. Gifts purchased
en masse – be they crates of oranges or diamond necklaces
- are often viewed as meaningless tokens of obligation rather than
genuine expressions of appreciation.
After the New Year bring in the team and tell them that you would
like to involve the entire staff in developing a holiday party that
everyone (including yourself) can enjoy next year. Provide a budget,
designate a committee, and seek input from all.
Then make a list of what you will do to show appreciation to your
staff throughout the coming year. Consider the following:
Give a rose for each year of employment on the employee’s
Write a note recognizing them for a work-related accomplishment
and attach it to their paycheck.
Send a handwritten letter to the employee’s home regarding
their accomplishments and value to the practice.
Treat the team to the movies and snacks.
an “above and beyond the call of duty” award.
Pay dues to auxiliary professional organizations for the employee.
Schedule planning meetings off site at the zoo or a museum and
allow time for the team to enjoy the excursion.
Bring in a balloon bouquet to recognize your star employee.
Provide rewards based on employee interests, tickets to the theatre
for the Broadway fan, enrollment in a Pilates class for your fitness
extra paid vacation time between Christmas and New Years.
Send the employee for a “day of beauty” at the full-service
Make it a point to recognize at least one employee every day for
something they did that you considered exceptional and share that
accomplishment with the entire team during the daily huddle.
Encourage all staff to catch each other going above and beyond.
Share those “acts of excellence” with the doctor and
Next year, you can sit back and enjoy the holiday season and the
satisfaction of knowing you’ve given the most valued gift
to your employees – appreciation and thanks –
throughout the entire year.
you have any questions or comments, please email Sally McKenzie
in having Sally speak to your dental society or study club?
An Ailing Business Foundation Can Cause
VP Professional Relations
Computing - Part 14
More Patient WOW
Last week [see
article], I discussed our commitments to our patients and how
we manage our referral relationships with our technology platform.
This week, I am going to conclude this section by examining the
last of our patient commitments.
within our control, a patient will be seated within 5 minutes of
their appointment time and should expect to leave within 5 minutes
from the anticipated end of their reserved appointment time.
It drives me absolutely crazy when I go into an office, see a pristine
technology platform with all the bells and whistles – and
patients are lined up at the front desk like middle
aged rockers waiting for Rolling Stone’s tickets. Not
respecting your patient’s time is a surefire way
to get them not to respect your time. Here are a few things you
can do this week to tighten up your patient flow.
Incomplete check in procedures
This is the KING of all time wasters. You MUST verify current insurance
coverage, family responsibility, current med history, current HIPPA
release, and make sure you have a complete record on file
for every patient BEFORE they go back for treatment. The easiest
way to do this is to create a cheat sheet to follow until you get
the routine down. Nothing will bring the check out process to a
faster HALT than incomplete or inaccurate information at check out
Hygienists, assistants, dentists
You know the patient is on the way. If your computer system has
an “arrived”, “ready”, or “seated”
message on it – you should use it! Review charts, x-rays,
and photos BEFORE patients arrive in your chair. Look at it from
their perspective as well, wouldn’t it be nice if you ALREADY
reviewed their “stuff” before they put the bib on? If
all of your clinical data is on your computer system,
you will find it a lot easier to communicate the need for treatment
if the supporting charts, x-rays, and photographs have already been
reviewed and are sitting right there for you to show the patient.
Think of it like digital decision support.
Post today’s procedure from the back
If your whole team has been trained and your business administrator
doesn’t mind catching the mistakes, consider posting today’s
treatment from the back. Once you get the hang of it, you will most
likely begin to appreciate the correlation and data flow
from treatment plan to appointment to the completed procedure process.
For now, just focus on posting today’s completed procedures.
Use the “next visit” feature
For you folks destined for greatness, most dental software has a
“next visit” or “follow up visit” feature.
This tells the front desk what to schedule for the next appointment
without them having to look, guess, ask, or heaven forbid –
look at a paper chart.
Appoint at the front
I know I’m going to get some slack for this one but I am a
firm believer in scheduling at the front desk.
Nobody schedules like a scheduling coordinator. Your scheduling
coordinator knows the patient’s scheduling preferences, their
work hours, their family, their family scheduling needs, etc. The
scheduling coordinator has the time to deal with the patient who
can’t make up their mind on a good day for an appointment.
The dentist, hygienist, and assistants should be busy with patient
care. Besides, if we aren’t scheduling to meet a production
goal, who are you going to blame if everyone is scheduling? The
Next week I am going to take a fairly common visit to a dental office
and list the data entry steps. It is my hope that you might use
these as templates as you expand the use of your technology platform.
you have any questions or comments, please email Mark Dilatush at
in having Mark speak to your dental society or study club?
Mark's Technology Workshop titled Using
Your Practice Management Software to Drive Revenues on Dec.
10th in La Jolla. For more information email email@example.com
or call 1-877-900-5775
The Cold Shoulder
Giving Dentists And Their Staff Different Perspectives On Day To
week’s article focused to the staff, this week I want
to comment on people having faith in your efforts and your own belief
that you do make a difference.
review of several key points of reference:
Business owners have certain inalienable rights.
owners can tell people the truth and tell people what they want.
Business owners will hire staff within their own model of inadequacy
owners contribute their own brand of pain and disappointment by
handpicking their staff.
Business owners create the chronic office culture of chaos, emotional
abuse, and financial catastrophe.
those staffers who do not want to be part of the negativity or participate
in the drama of office politics but would rather find the
harmony and tranquility of the moral and ethical high road
of the daily work routine, I offer you the following observations:
When you show up for work everyday, do you feel that you are moving
toward an activity that is important to you, to the people with
whom you share the daily experience, or do you show up to perform
your job and earn your money. For some this is a ludicrous
question, because it all comes down to money; in reality, this is
not true. For others, work is about more than money.
The reality is that every day that you show up for work, you become
part of someone else's day, and thus you have the influence and
the capacity to influence the outcome of someone’s daily experience.
It is from the perspective that you have power over someone
else's experience which leads you to a decision. Will you
use your power to enhance the life experience of others or will
you use that power to dampen or diminish the fruits of the day's
is the presence of this power, as you interact with others, which
introduces the concept of faith. Everyone shows up to work with
a certain outcome in mind as to how the day will go. Any experience
which detracts from that outcome diminishes their confidence
in their outlook and contributes to a sense of disorganization and
fear. The concept of faith goes a long way toward calming the fears
in an uncertain world, and therefore it makes sense that when employees
act in their own regard to enhance the daily experience of the other
members, they are in effect validating the faith that the day will
go as predicted and in this effort the team will feel good at the
end of the day.
want to emphasize that the concept of faith is the principal of
dealing with the feeling of uncertainty through a behavior that
is certain. If you show up to work sporadically, moody, angry, etc
with any frequency greater than “rarely”, then you are
contributing or diminishing the faith that your team members
can have in you that the day will end as they planned.
They will doubt that you are playing on the same side and working
for the same outcome.
Most of us prefer to believe that people have faith in our ability
and trust us to perform appropriately. It is this awareness of another
person's faith, or their acknowledgement that we hold the key to
diminishing the uncertainty of their day, that generates an awareness
of personal power and the faith that you will use it correctly.
With this reasoning, ask yourself do my team members have faith
in me based on my actions, my decisions, my moods, and my ability
to feel good. It is certain that it feels good when others
have faith in us, and it is certain that it feels bad when our colleagues
do not look to us with a sense of predictability and comfort.
I do not think there is a greater feeling than being a member of
the team and feeling that you all worked to achieve a successful
outcome. Everyone takes responsibility and everyone gets
the credit. There are no individual stars; there is just
a collective happiness over a job well done. This is a very collective
feeling and it is easy for an individual, who has individual needs
of recognition and acknowledgement, to get lost in the joy
of team spirit.
Professional sports have learned this lesson; teams perform greater
than a collection of individuals. If you talk to a professional
athlete today, they would rather have the money and be a member
of a winning team than be this individual who makes more
money than everybody else and is all alone, isolated, and gets a
special room when they are on the road. Being a team member feels
better. This is natural instinct. When we are part of a team, we
are safer in the world. It feels better to be a member of a family
and to win using our own special individual talents.
question of whether we make a difference and whether we make a contribution
to the team is actually best left to your observation of how people
react when you show up to work. If you make a difference in the
office, then it makes sense that when you show up for work, everyone
recognizes that you are here to make your contribution. The feeling
that should follow is that they are happy to see you. If people
do not express their joy over your presence then that is feedback
that your presence does not make a difference and
does not necessarily contribute to the overall feeling of success
that goes with team play and effort.
is easy enough to delude yourself that degrees, certification, and
time on the job means that you make a difference, but this
is not true. There is nothing to say that a person who
has been doing your job or has a certificate for only one year could
not do the job as well as someone with 10 years experience. The
reason why is because a job more than a sequence of skills. Most
team members are employed to carry out procedures. The ability to
carry out procedures is itself a gift that once learned becomes
dependable and accountable, but there is more. Your ability to be
dependable and accountable is your feedback to other people that
you are part of the team. When you make a difference in the team,
then the team members will acknowledge your presence. It is not
only about your skills but about your predictability.
is my belief that in a typical private practice setting, acknowledgement
of your arrival, wishing you well when you leave at the end of the
day, having people seek your counsel in the middle of the day, and
team members seeking your company for lunch or break are some of
the best examples of feedback that you make a difference
in the office and in their lives. The best way to be important is
to initiate the above-mentioned behaviors.
Next week, I will continue with this political self-assessment
your issues answered? Ask the firstname.lastname@example.org.
You're Not Satisfied with Your Practice's Performance
9 out of 10 practices have staff turnover every 15 months.
76% of dental practices have hygiene departments producing
less than 33% of practice production.
85% of dental practices grow less than 10% a year.
72% of practices' employee costs are more than 25% of revenues.
13 Performing Days
Year End Goal
are you waiting for?
Fruit Cake ...
Your Dental Team
by Sally McKenzie, CMC
Learn when and how to reward your staff. Understand why saying
can mean more than dangling a financial carrot. This book is full
of checklists and questionnaires to help you determine what rewards
are best suited for each of your team members.
You will understand when to use non-financial versus financial
rewards, when to use group versus individual rewards, plus how
important it is to set performance goals so you know when to give
a reward. You will learn the difference between rewarding employees
for outstanding performance versus paying them a bonus for simply
doing their job.
CLOCK IS TICKING and time is running out
on 2003. You’ve seen your practice’s preliminary
year-end numbers and are kicking yourself because you knew
you should have done something, anything MONTHS
worse, your accountant is telling you the TAX MAN will be
at your door expecting a sizeable chunk of YOUR
INCOME unless you take action before the
bell tolls Midnight on December 31.
Within just a few days McKenzie Management will turn your
PANIC to PROFIT. But don’t put this
off another second! December is filling up quickly with
practices just like yours that have waited until the bitter
end to TAKE ACTION.
737 Pearl Street
La Jolla, CA 92037
We want to establish a bonus system based on collections and factoring
in overhead for the new year. Can you give me an idea of a good
There is no formula that is completely fair to you or employees
but if you are going to have one, my suggestion would be to know
for the past 12 months what your overhead costs have been and you
expect those costs to be 55% of x ( collections). So, if your average
overhead for the past 12 months averaged $35,750/month, that expense
is 55% of $65,000. It might behoove you to add a 10% surcharge on
top of the $65,000/collections for unexpected emergencies. Payroll
(gross) should be no more than 21% of the collections which is $13,650/month.
If collections go above the $65,000, say $70,000 you would allocate
21% of the $5000 overage or $1050 as bonus. Now...the question becomes,
do you divide it equally? Do they equally put out the same effort?
Usually not. I would also recommend that you NOT give them 100%
of the $1050 but give them (example) 75% of the $1050 and $262 goes
into a "savings" account for those months when collections
dip below $65,000 and you still have to meet payroll. That's when
the whole "bonus" thing becomes unfair. The employees
get rewarded if collections rise but nothing is taken away if the
collections take a dip. It's win/win for them and potential win/lose
for you. Hope this is helpful.
YOUR HYGIENE DEPARTMENT PRODUCING 33% OF THE PRACTICE'S PRODUCTIONS?
Hygiene Clinical Consultant for
CAN HELP YOU
develop a profitable
Center for Dental Career Development
Business Education for Dental Professionals
737 Pearl Street,
La Jolla, CA 92037
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