3.24.17 Issue #785 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

How to Become a Better Practice CEO
By Sally McKenzie, CEO

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Most successful CEOs have years to develop their skills, learn from their failures and build on their successes. Unfortunately, dentists don’t have that luxury. They’re typically thrown into the role of CEO as soon as they open their first practice, without a lot of training or experience to guide them.

And of course most dentists don’t have much interest in the business side of running a practice. They’d much rather just focus on the dentistry and let the rest sort itself out. If that’s your philosophy, I’m willing to bet your practice is struggling and you’re feeling more than a little stressed out.

This all sounds bleak, I know, but if you embrace your role as CEO you’ll notice a huge change in your practice and even in team morale. And keep in mind you don’t have to do this on your own. Through classes like my Dentist CEO Training Program, you’ll learn the skills you need to be an effective leader.

In the meantime, I’ve put together some tips to help you get started on your path to becoming not only a talented dentist, but a successful business owner.

Have a clear vision for your practice.
The ability to articulate where you see the practice in the future is critical to your success. A clear vision will help motivate your team, as well as ensure everyone is on the same page. Without it, both you and your team members will likely feel a little lost. You’ll spend your days just going through the motions, rather than working toward specific goals.

If you haven’t already, sit down with your team members and craft a vision for your practice. Involving them in the process will give them more ownership of the goals you set, motivating them to excel in their roles and truly contribute to practice success.

Renew your passion for dentistry.
I know how easy it is to feel burnt out as a dentist. The daily grind can begin to take its toll, especially if your practice is struggling. But to be successful, you truly have to love what you do. If you don’t, both your team members and your patients will know, which could lead to lackluster performance and a dip in patient retention numbers.

It’s important to remember why you became a dentist in the first place. Invest in technology to keep practicing exciting, and carve out time to attend CE courses and learn new skills. Travel to a few tradeshows each year to connect with colleagues and learn about the new products manufacturers have to offer. This will not only keep you energized, it will help renew your passion for the profession you chose.

When you’re passionate about what you do, it comes through in your interactions with team members and patients. Team members will be more motivated to excel and patients will be more likely to accept the treatment you recommend.

Be open with your employees.
I suggest you create an environment where team members feel like their voices can be heard. Encourage them to share any concerns they have as well as their opinions on how to improve the practice.

Everyone should be aware of the practice vision and your goals. Give team members continual feedback (both positive and constructive) and make your expectations clear through detailed job descriptions and performance measurements. Being open with your team members and creating a collaborative environment will not only raise morale, it will lead to a more efficient practice that consistently meets and even exceeds goals. This level of involvement will also help reduce staff turnover. Team members will be more fulfilled in their jobs, and that will make them excited to come to work each day.

While there are many other steps you can take to become a more effective CEO, focusing on these three areas will set the foundation for excellence in your practice. Keep in mind you also need to develop practical skills to run the business side of your practice, which is where I can help.

If you’re struggling with your role as a business owner, don’t wait to make the necessary changes. The situation will only get worse if you ignore the problem, but if you take the proper steps, you can increase case acceptance and patient retention, boost team morale, reduce your turnover rate and finally meet your full potential.

Next week: Improve your leadership skills and grow your bottom line

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

Interested in speaking to me about your practice concerns? Email sallymck@mckenziemgmt.com
Interested in having McKenzie Management Seminars speak to your dental society or study club? Click here.
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Belle DuCharme, CDPMA
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Is Outsourcing Human Resources Right for your Practice?
By Belle DuCharme, CDPMA

As the CEO of a solo or small group practice, it is challenging to balance time, energy and knowledge to manage every aspect of the business. Hiring the right people and delegating tasks that you no longer want to do can feel like negotiating a minefield barefoot.

Are you spending too much time on the hiring process because turnover has become a revolving door in your office? For some practices, it is akin to a hamster on a wheel. We know that hiring by “feelings” or “instinct” can give false readings. Have you ever asked yourself what your hiring retention rate is? What position has the most turnover and why? Divide the number of employees who left during a period by the total number of employees at the end of that period to get the percentage. Some sources in the industry state that 85% or higher is considered a healthy employee retention rate.

Dental practices, large or small, face HR challenges that come along with hiring the right team, creating and maintaining a company culture, and complying with ever-changing laws and regulations. HR requirements for small dental practices include abiding by all applicable regulations and maintaining an appealing and competitive office culture.

Outsourcing all or even part of the HR duties is viewed by many dentists as an expense that is not necessary. This is true if you have 15 or less employees, but I have witnessed chaos ensue when the Office Manager is continually trying to find and train staff while keeping the practice (or practices) productive and profitable at the same time. 

The demands of staffing range from finding coverage for the dental assistant whose child woke up sick this morning, to the dental hygienist who wants to take a two-week vacation and now must reappoint 16 pre-scheduled patients. Some duties of the Office Manager that cannot be outsourced should be weighed against those that can to achieve practice harmony and profitability.

Four Facts to Consider for your HR Department

1. Follow Employment Regulations Law
Dentists and their managers must be educated in the laws that affect their practice both by state and federal law.

2. Ensure that Employee Files are Orderly and Private
Keep employee files organized and confidential, especially sensitive private information like medical records, payroll records and personal leave requests. Be compliant in the keeping of I-9 forms and documentation, resumes, the job listing that the employee responded to, written job applications, performance reviews and comments about any disciplinary issues.

3. Paychecks on Time
Consistent payroll systems must be in place to ensure paychecks on a consistent basis, at the same time each period. Track hours electronically so there is accuracy and less drama about who was there and when. Timesheets can help keep track of vacations and sick time, and there are several management programs online or within the practice software program to help you stay organized.

4. Have an Employee Policy Manual
Make sure your policy manual is prepared by an expert who knows your state laws, or draw one up and have your attorney review it for compliance to state laws. An employee manual explains a dental practice's policies and procedures, and communicates expectations to employees. It also helps protect the practice in the event of a dispute.

A full service Human Resources management company may be too much as far as the costs, but consider outsourcing some of the time-consuming parts of the process that require professional protocol.

Some human resource duties to outsource and save money:
1. Payroll Company – calculates each employee’s salary by hours and benefits and pays taxes on time
2. Staffing/Recruiting Company – for temporary and permanent hires
3. Professional Employee Policy Manual

One of the main reasons to outsource HR functions is the potential cost savings it can bring. Many small businesses only need HR to help ensure they are being compliant, while larger businesses will need HR to support full functions of the business.

Want to learn more about managing the human resource department of your practice? Call McKenzie Management today and schedule a business training course.

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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