7.15.11 Issue #488 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Boost Employee Productivity and Practice Profits
by Sally McKenzie CEO

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I don’t need to tell you that it remains a lean and mean economy out there. While the situation continues to slowly improve, many dentists are particularly sensitive to protecting practice bottom lines. Yet, they struggle with how best to keep employees motivated and focused on achieving practice goals without breaking the bank. The good news is that while dentists often think in terms of money being a motivator and the best reward for a job well done, in actuality, that is not the case.

In fact, a survey by staffing firm Accountemps found that “frequent recognition of accomplishments” was the top non-monetary compensation named by full and part-time employees, with “regular communication” coming in second. Both activities can motivate your team and encourage productivity, without costing you a dime.

That being said, a finely tuned employee reward system is essential if your objective is to move your practice beyond average into the realm of truly excellent. However, it’s important to note that a reward system is not a bonus system. It can be tailored to recognize individuals, groups, and the entire team - but a couple of factors must be present in order for the system to succeed.

First, there must be a distinct relationship between what an employee accomplishes and the reward received. Second, the reward must be perceived as significant in order for the employee to have the desire to step up performance. Employees do not get rewarded for doing their jobs. You don’t reward Jill because she managed to show up on time for the daily huddle for a full week. It is her job to show up on time. You reward employees for going beyond what is expected. You reward them for excellence.

Third, a reasonably short time span should exist between the superior performance and receipt of the reward. For example, if the collections coordinator achieves a 98% collection rate after 30 days based on a goal of 98%, the reward should be generated after 30 days, not at the end of a quarter.

Next, consider the types of rewards that will be appreciated most by your individual team members. Keep in mind that the perceived value of a reward by one staff member will not necessarily be perceived the same by another. It is not uncommon for doctors to select rewards based on what they value and enjoy, which may or may not be in the same category as their staff.

For example, you may think an evening at the opera would be fabulous. Your country-music-loving business employee may consider such a “reward” to be torture. Some would place a high value on a personal letter of recognition while others may not. Some may greatly appreciate the opportunity for continuing education or additional training on equipment. Others may be thrilled to be sent home early or tickets for the family to visit the zoo. And others may greatly appreciate a pedicure or massage or other special pampering. My point is that for a rewards program to succeed, you must make the effort to find out what the employees will enjoy and/or appreciate.

Although telling your employees you appreciate them should be obvious, the unfortunate reality of the workplace is that virtually no one does it enough - yet it can yield a huge return with minimal investment. A well developed system for rewarding your employees should be developed to maximize practice productivity as well as individual success. But don’t overlook the obvious. Say “thank you” often, make it sincere and do so in front of others. Don’t wait until you have an “official” rewards program to start emphasizing to employees that you value their contributions to the practice.

Want more of me? Click here to visit my blog, The Lighter Side, for more Dental Practice Management info.

Interested in speaking to Sally about your practice concerns? Email her at sallymck@mckenziemgmt.com. Interested in having Sally speak to your dental society or study club? Click here.

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