6.14.13 Issue #588 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Training Your Team? In-house Often Equals Inept
By Sally McKenzie, CEO

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The unfortunate reality is that while most dentists recognize the value of ongoing education for the clinical team, they commonly disregard the importance of educating those who have direct control over thousands upon thousands of dollars in practice revenues. What’s more, they fear that the freshly trained staff member will pack up and take their newly developed expertise to the practice down the street. In reality, employees that have the opportunity to improve their skills tend to be much more vested in the success of the practice. 

Oftentimes if there is to be any training of the business team, it will have to come from the other staff. Doctors convince themselves that they can simply rely on existing employees to prep the new recruits. Realistically, how much accurate information can actually be passed down from one team member to the next when the typical educational chain runs something like this:

Ellen, who left the practice in 2009, trained Jill. Jill left the practice in 2010 shortly after training Jackie, who was fired from the practice in 2011. Jackie trained Kelsey who was there when the new computer system was installed and was viewed as the office expert, but Kelsey left suddenly in 2012. Since then, Jo has been trying really hard to figure things out. Somewhere in between the comings and goings of all those employees and the dissemination of wrong or partially correct information, the new employee might pick up a kernel or two of useful knowledge. But to a large extent, the new employee, without proper training, has a very slim chance at succeeding in the practice.

In the rare event that a practice actually has a staff member fully versed and able to train a new employee on all the aspects they need to know about the practice systems, when, exactly, will they have the time to do so? In reality, a busy dental team does not have the time or breadth of knowledge to train a new employee to succeed. Is it any wonder that the single biggest contributor to inefficiency and mismanagement in a dental practice is a poorly trained team?

So where’s the good news in this seemingly bleak training picture? There’s plenty, and the best part is that staff can be trained without spending days away from the office or thousands of dollars. The marketplace today provides numerous affordable training options for dental teams. At a minimum, every new employee should receive professional training on the computer practice management system, which is the central nervous system of the practice. And, although I strongly discourage reliance on internal training exclusively, particularly with new employees, in-house knowledge sharing across the team can be highly beneficial in helping all employees understand the importance of certain practice systems and philosophies. Dental teams can reap significant rewards when they set aside time each month to educate each other on specific protocols and systems. Moreover, the sessions enable each member to better understand they are essential to the success of the entire practice.
For example, a session in which the hygienist explains to staff why recommendations for perio treatment are made can help the larger team understand the diagnosis and reinforce that recommendation with the patients. Another session might focus on explaining the benefits of a new procedure now available to patients, so that members of the team can answer basic patient inquiries about the treatment. 

Ongoing formal and informal instruction of the entire team, business and clinical, is critical to the success of the new practice. Ultimately, when the employees are given the instruction, direction, and tools to do well, they thrive - and so too does the practice.

For more information on this topic, visit my blog: The Lighter Side

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