Why You Really Should Measure Employee Performance

By Sally McKenzie, CEO Printer Friendly Version

The more effective your team members are, the more successful your practice will be. Systems will run smoothly, patients will have a great experience and your practice will grow. But if your team members are underperforming, your practice will struggle, leading to stress, low team morale, increased turnover, and a lackluster bottom line.

That’s why it’s so important to put performance measurements in place. Doing so will ensure everyone knows what’s expected of them, and that means tasks are much more likely to not only get done, but to get done properly. You won’t ever hear team members say things like “I thought Linda was going to take care of that” or “I didn’t know that was part of my job.

Even though performance measurements are invaluable to practice success, many dentists are reluctant to use them. They tell themselves they’d notice right away if any serious issues came up and that they’d be able to resolve those issues quickly. Sounds good in theory, but that usually isn’t how it plays out. Small problems go unnoticed until they cause big problems that damage the practice. Putting performance measurements in place will help avoid that scenario, giving your team members direction they need to excel at their jobs and to do their part to help move the practice forward.

Performance Measurements Lead to a Strong Team
Lack of communication is a common problem that can hurt your team members’ performance. They end up feeling lost most of the day and certainly aren’t as effective as they could be. And this often happens because dentists never tell their employees what their expectations are. They think team members, especially those with experience, will intuitively know what to do without much guidance or direction. Of course, they don’t, leading to frustration and stress for everyone in the practice.

Here’s the thing. Your team members want to excel at their jobs and contribute to practice success. They want to take ownership of their systems and to grow as professionals. But they can’t do that without a little guidance. To help them help you, I suggest you create detailed job descriptions, provide proper training, offer continual feedback and, you guessed it, develop performance measurements.

The bottom line is this: To properly manage the performance of all 20 practice systems, you must measure the performance of each person who contributes to those systems. Once you do, your team members will excel at their jobs and your practice will begin to thrive.

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Integrating a Performance Measurement Model into Your Practice
OK, you know you need to implement performance measurements, but you’re probably wondering how. I suggest you start by choosing a model that encourages excellence in your team members. Not sure what that means? Let me explain. Most dentists base performance measurements on areas that are easy to quantify. This might include production, new patients, accounts receivable and the collections ratio. They then develop bonus plans to reward everyone with the same bonus if specific goals are met within these areas.

The problem is, not every team member contributes equally to every objective. So, team members who had nothing to do with growing collections or reducing overhead get the same bonus as the team members who did all the work. As you might imagine, this often leads to resentment and conflict, which could do some serious damage to a practice if left unresolved.

What should you do instead? I suggest using a model that’s based on individual performance. Create job-related goals that align with practice goals for every member of your team. There’s then no doubt they’ll know exactly what they need to do to earn a bonus, making them more motivated to meet and exceed their goals.

Just keep in mind the changes you’re hoping for won’t happen overnight. Once you implement performance measurements into your practice, be patient. It will take time for you to see results, but once you do, it will be well worth all the time and effort you’ve put in.

Get Ready to Reap the Benefits
If your practice is suffering, implementing performance measurements can help you get back on the right track. Your more confident team members will no longer have to second guess everything they do. Their jobs will be more rewarding, which will show in the way they interact with your patients. They’ll become more loyal to your practice and more efficient, leading to increased practice productivity and a more robust bottom line.

If you need more guidance or want help in implementing such a system, feel free to reach out. I’m happy to help. You also might want to check out my book, Performance Measurements: An Easy and Effective Method to Measure Your Dental Employee’s Performance, which includes copy ready appraisal forms and Excel measurement graphs you can use for each employee. The kit makes it easy to implement effective performance measurements that will lead to practice growth.

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