Legacy of a dental team: making things easier for everyone

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Did you inherit your team of dental professionals? Hopefully they will make the transition from practice painless. But you have to do your part and make the move good for them too. Here are the steps you can take to get to know your new office protocols and team members and lead them with confidence.

When you purchase the practice, meet with team members individually and encourage open communication. This is an opportunity to get to know each person better and learn more about them. You can ask questions like these.

  • Do you need help with anything, and if so, what?
  • What are the most comfortable tasks for you and why?
  • What are the least comfortable tasks and why?
  • What is the most frustrating aspect of your job and why? Please elaborate and give examples.
  • What are the biggest distractions you encounter?
  • What aspect of dentistry would you like to learn more about?
  • What do you need to develop your role in practice?
  • What can your teammates do to better support you in your role?
  • How can I help you improve patient flow?
  • What else can I do to help you?

Give team members time to think about their answers; don’t rush them. Think of this process as presenting processing and payment options. Silence is not necessarily negative; it just means that they collect their thoughts.


Related reading

6 simple rules for a happy dental team
4 ways to attract, motivate and keep your dental team


It doesn’t stop there…

Find out if they know and understand your vision for practice. Do they share this vision? Lay the groundwork for dealing with gossip and miscommunication.

Review job descriptions and make changes to meet your expectations. Review the current performance rating that is used. If there isn’t one, create one and use it.

Have measures in place to determine whether your hygiene team is profitable. Generate reports that will help you understand how the team works. Do they receive raises or bonuses? How do you know what to reward if you don’t know what you’re measuring? Establish and communicate your guidelines for what, when and how you will determine salary or bonus issues.

Track the number of patient contacts made and monthly scheduled appointments to reactivate reluctant and overdue patients. Measure the number of cancellations in the schedule each day and how many changes were filled. Who makes these calls? How do they get patients into the schedule? How much treatment did you recommend last month and how much is planned? Do you follow this number?

The list could be long, but this information should be your top priority when inheriting a team. Don’t forget that they also have questions and concerns about you. Establishing clear and understandable guidelines will go a long way in determining your long-term success as a new practice owner. Good luck!

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