1.30.15 Issue #673 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Belle DuCharme, CDPMA
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How to Motivate Your Staff in 2015
By Belle DuCharme, CDPMA

The one question I can count on after establishing job descriptions for positions in a dental office is: “Now how do I motivate my staff to do their jobs?” When we are thinking of a timeline of completion of tasks envisioned by management (the dentist), it is pictured as a productivity system with a measurable result. For instance, the manager or dentist wants the lab cleaned and reorganized and all the storage containers relabeled. The assignment is given to the lead dental assistant, Kate, because she is great at her job and reliable. The direction is to do this task when she is not needed for patient care. Simple right? If we were robots we would act without question. 

Productivity or “keeping busy” in a dental office rarely takes emotion into account. Feelings are fundamental to why we do things. Let’s look at where emotion from your staff may enter this scenario.

Kate prides herself on patient interaction and believes this to be the most important part of her day. She rarely has time to devote to anything other than what the patient needs for proper care. She also doesn’t like to start a project if she can’t finish it quickly. Tearing the lab apart to reorganize is causing her anxiety. Where is the reward in this task? For her, there is no reward, so it won’t get done.

How would you motivate Kate? How would you help Kate to motivate herself? In the book Drive by Daniel H. Pink, he explores a newer theory on motivational drive, a “third” drive. “The performance of the task,” he says, “provided intrinsic reward.” The job of completing the task has its own reward. “Scientists then knew that two main drives powered behavior. The first was a biological drive, to eat, drink and reproduce. The second to be rewarded for completing the task with money or gifts or threatened to be punished if the task wasn’t completed.” A positive or negative outcome both drive behavior.

Kate was not offered a reward for doing the task, nor was she threatened with punishment for not completing the task. She envisioned a torn up lab and patients being ignored while she tried to juggle both in her already busy day. She was motivated to deprioritize the task. Consider the following when motivating staff:

1. What drives your staff as individuals? McKenzie Management’s book How to Reward Your Dental Team teaches you when to use non-financial rewards versus financial rewards and also when to use group rewards versus individual rewards.

2. What personalities are best suited for positions in your practice? Choosing the right person for the task can determine whether the task is done correctly or not. Also from McKenzie Managements products, the book How Personality Types Affect Practice Success will help to illustrate how breakdown in communication can be due to personality styles.

3. Perform a time and motion study on the task to determine how much time and how much manpower will be needed to complete the job. Overwhelming your best performers with more work because you know they are reliable is not the best management tactic. They will have to sacrifice their work on the primary focus to do more.

4. Bring importance to the task by sitting down and discussing the reason you want it completed and the benefits to the practice, staff and patients. 

Kate called a meeting with the manager and together they worked out the following:
Kate measured the containers, giving that information to the supply person who ordered them. She assigned label printing to one of the dental assistants who knew how to make the labels and did them quickly. Since Friday was a half day for patients, Kate agreed to stay until 5:00pm to complete the task without interruptions. Her reward was a personal day off to spend with her children. The practice reward was an organized lab where the staff could now find things quickly. The dentist’s reward was pride in the lab appearance. The patients reward was more time with Kate.

Make your practice the best it can be for 2015. Enroll today in our customized Office Manager Training or Dentist CEO Training. McKenzie Management can provide the tools that your practice needs for success.

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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