9.12.14 Issue #653 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Belle DuCharme, CDPMA
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Taking the Stress out of Staff Meetings
By Belle DuCharme, CDPMA

“I hope Dr. V doesn’t work over into our staff meeting today, like he did last time,” lamented the Office Manager.

Every day around the globe, millions of meetings are being held in businesses with the purpose of improving operational systems and team morale - yet dentists typically hate staff meetings because they are viewed as counterproductive.  Even a once-a-month two hour meeting is met with resistance because it “takes up production time.”

The most successful meetings are those in which the participants take some ownership and are eager to be accountable for the results. Many staff members have confided in me that staff meetings are usually about things that the dentist views as needing to be improved, and a general blame is put to all - even the people not involved in the issues. Some have said their meetings are like a group performance review but without the details of who, what, when and how for improvement. 

Some dentists say it is easier to deal with things themselves than to deal with the people that work for him/her. This shows poor leadership and business skills on the part of the dentist. Taking the stress out of staff meetings and getting positive results requires planning. The following will help get you on the right path:

1. Have a Continuous Improvement Agenda Form posted at the staff lounge area a month prior to the meeting date. This gives all staff members an opportunity to make suggestions. On this agenda there will be fill in the blanks for the following:
• The issue to be discussed
• A suggested resolve for the issue
• The person who posted the issue
• The expected length of time to accomplish the issue
• Who would be involved in solving the issue

2. Everyone is encouraged to participate in a “safe” atmosphere of exchange of ideas.

3. Ask everyone to offer at least one idea and time the speaker for two minutes to ensure all get an opportunity to talk. Every practice has its own culture and there are those who are always eager to express an opinion and those who rarely speak and “fly under the radar” because they feel it is safer.

4. Don’t start the meeting with sensitive or negative subjects. Start with a patient’s compliment or a good review online. Thank the staff for all that they do and show appreciation by asking for their valued feedback on the practice. End the meeting on a positive note.

5. Speak in private during a performance review or when putting a staff member on notice for a breach of policy. If there are performance issues with any staff members, do not use the staff meeting as a “stoning” session.

6. Tell your staff you are looking forward to the meeting and hearing their thoughts and suggestions. Make sure there are refreshments for them and/or lunch if appropriate.

7. Have everyone mute their cell phone and do not allow texting during the meeting.

8. Complete the meeting about 5 to 10 minutes before seeing patients to give the staff time to recover. A meeting evaluation form would be great to give out to receive information about how the meeting can be improved in the future. This gives the team a chance to be heard. Answers can be anonymous.

9. By allowing people to sit where they choose, you will see who gravitates to whom, who is left out, which groups seem upbeat and which wear frowns or appear to complain. When trying to improve team performance this can be an eye-opener.

10. Have a list of business statistics to discuss, such as:
• Number of new patients this month
• Number of active patients
• Number of activated inactive patients/patient retention
• Production/Collection stats for the month and year
• Treatment acceptance statistics
• Number of emergency patients/converted emergency patients
• Number of unfilled hygiene and doctor production units
• Goals for doctors and hygienists for month/year
• Scheduling issues and suggestions for improvement
• Training and continuing education offers

Need help gathering any of the above information? Don’t hesitate to call McKenzie Management for all your questions and concerns. Professional Office Manager Training is a course worth taking to hone your staff management skills. Sign up today and start looking at your necessary staff meeting with anticipation instead of dread.

If you would like more information on McKenzie Management’sTraining Programs  to improve the performance of your team, email training@mckenziemgmt.com

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