10.12.18 Issue #866 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

The Best Ways to Reward and Motivate Team Members
By Sally McKenzie, CEO

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You’ve relied on bonus plans to reward your employees for years, but now realize they just don’t work. You thought they motivated your employees to excel, but instead team members focus on what they need to do to earn the bonus – and their overall performance actually suffers.

So if bonuses are out, how can you recognize employees who do put in extra effort to help move the practice forward? I suggest you develop a rewards system. To ensure all team members are on the same page, it’s important to define practice objectives and make it clear how team members can earn both monetary and non-monetary rewards.

Not sure how to develop a rewards program in your practice? Not to worry, I can help. Here’s the rundown of how to develop a system and the type of rewards that will motivate employees most.

Offer the Right Rewards
When determining what rewards to offer, keep in mind it doesn’t matter what you like – you need to determine what your team members like. This can be difficult because everybody is different, which is why it’s important to think about what will motivate each individual employee. Maybe your Patient Coordinator would appreciate an extra paid vacation day, while your Office Manager would prefer a gift certificate to her favorite restaurant.

How can you determine which rewards motivate which employees? Ask them. You can do this face-to-face or through a questionnaire. (Check out my book “How To Reward The Dental Team”.) It also doesn’t hurt to listen to casual conversations among team members and observe their habits. Pay attention to where they go to lunch and what hobbies they’re interested in, for example. Doing this will help give you a feel for their likes and dislikes, and could lead to inspiration for future rewards.

Set a Timeline
Don’t make team members wait for their rewards. When they go above and beyond, reward them within 30 days for their efforts, not at the end of the quarter or end of year. That way, they’ll be more likely to repeat the behavior so they can earn another reward.

It’s also important to make sure employees understand why they’re receiving a reward, again motivating them to keep up the good work. 

Types of Rewards
There are many ways you can reward your employees, from a simple thank you to a store gift card. I’ve put together a few ideas to help get you started. First, let’s talk about non-monetary options:

Provide frequent positive feedback and say ‘thank you’
Give out an Employee of the Month award
Mail a personal note of achievement to their home – they can keep the note as a reminder of their success, and even share it with family and friends
Teach them a new skill
Let them have their birthday off 
Give them new tasks and responsibilities
Put them in charge of training a new employee
Let them go home early on their work anniversary
Send flowers to their home, or have a bouquet waiting in the office when they arrive for work

Of course, there are some team members who prefer monetary rewards. Here are a few ideas for effective monetary rewards that aren’t bonuses:

Extra paid vacation
A watch or a pin
Gift certificates to restaurants or department stores
A plaque or a trophy
A membership to an auxiliary organization
Tickets to a sporting event or the theater
Continuing education courses
A health club membership  

Keep Team Members Happy
Good employees will eventually opt to leave your practice if they’re not happy. Offering a rewards program that recognizes their efforts will help improve job satisfaction and foster loyalty. Your employees will know they’re a valued part of the team, making them feel a deeper connection to you and the practice.

Bonus plans put the focus on money, while a rewards system puts the focus on improving performance and moving the practice forward. With a rewards program, team members are motivated to excel. They contribute more to practice success, helping to boost production numbers and your bottom line.

Ready to implement a rewards program but still not sure how to get started? Contact me and I’ll help guide you through the process.

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
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Jean Gallienne RDH BS
McKenzie Management
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Patient Education: The First Thing We Learn
By Jean Gallienne, RDH BS

Why is it when we get into private practice, many dental professionals forget one of the most important parts of the dental appointment, and what we were taught in hygiene and dental school? I am referring to educating patients about their dental treatment options.

When educating patients about what they need, it’s important to use terms that anyone can understand. This is not the time to use “dental lingo”, unless you are also willing to teach patients the most commonly used terms. For instance: “You have periodontal disease, or you may have heard it called gum disease.”

This is also not the time to talk too much and risk “losing” the patients. Allow them the time needed to ask questions and think for a few minutes. It’s important to not be long-winded. Stop, let the patient process what you have said, and ask open-ended questions such as: “What questions do you have so far?” After asking this question, stop talking and allow them time to think. Otherwise you’re sending the message that you really don’t want them to ask questions.

When the patient is in your chair and has clinical questions, you want them to ask you or a back-office person for the answers. By the time they get up to the financial person or to scheduling, they should not still be asking clinical questions.

It is best to assume patients are not aware of the specific procedures you offer in your practice. Make them aware of what you can do for them. You do not need to go into massive detail – this is not the time to demonstrate what a horrible artist you are by drawing a picture to describe what is needed. This is the time, whether in the hygiene room or the doctor’s chair, to have pictures on the intraoral camera to show patients exactly what is in their mouths. There is a fine line between too much detail and not enough.  Don’t be your own worst enemy – allow (and encourage!) patients to ask questions.

In the hygiene chair, it is recommended that the hygienist inform the patient of what they see going on inside the mouth, and explain what the doctor may diagnose. For instance, if the patient has a missing tooth, the hygienist may have a conversation similar to this: “I see you are missing a tooth. Dr. Nice may recommend that you have an implant placed. An implant is one of the best ways for most people to replace missing teeth, and they have become the standard of care over the years. Do you know about implants?”

Allow the patient to answer. If they do not know about implants, a brief description (or better yet, a study model) is a great way to go over the basics with them. Once the patient is treatment planned for the implant, the doctor will go over the details more thoroughly – unless the exam was done early in the hygiene appointment, in which case the hygienist should feel comfortable going over the information with the patient.

If the patient needs root planing, the hygienist should do periodontal probings, x-rays, and have the patient partake in co-diagnosing the periodontal disease before having the doctor come in and diagnose the treatment needed. The hygienist can write a plus sign on a piece of paper with the proper code for each quadrant in the spaces – then the doctor may look at the hygienist’s recommendations and diagnose the periodontal treatment needed.

If this is done correctly and the patient is actively involved in diagnosing the treatment, they should be receptive to accepting the treatment recommended. However, if the patient is not educated about what probings are and what the numbers mean, and if the probings are not done out loud so the patient can hear them, then they will not feel actively involved and may not understand what you are doing.

It’s also important that the doctor be confident in the diagnosis and not use words such as “I think” or “You may want to”, or anything that remotely sounds unsure about what is being recommended. Taking the time to educate patients is priceless. The more informed they are, the better they feel about moving forward with treatment, and the more discussion you have with patients, the stronger their trust level will be.

Interested in improving your hygiene department? Email info@mckenziemgmt.com and ask us about our 1-Day Hygiene Training Program or call 877-777-6151

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