Ensuring that your patients receive phenomenal service should be the top priority for your dental practice. The only way to truly accomplish this is by having a strong practice culture with a strong amount of trust built in. Employees who love your practice will also love providing that phenomenal service.
You can achieve this by building a practice culture wherein every employee from senior management to the lowest level feels empowered, feel they are able to freely communicate with each other, and is not a hierarchical system.
In this article we will discuss how to implement a successful practice culture, provide specific ways this will benefit your dental practice, as well as how empowering employees is beneficial for your patients and practice alike.
To empower your practice employees, they must know that the door to management is always open. They need to know that they can have frank conversations with management without fear of repercussion. Here are some ways that you can ensure the lines of communication are always open in your practice:
- If your practice is particularly busy, set specific hours where employees can speak with management without unnecessary time constraints
- Ask your employees their views on policies and what they would change – and how they would change it – if given the opportunity
- Have an anonymous suggestion box and review suggestions with employees at least once per month. The morning huddle is a great time to do this
More importantly, remain open to feedback, whether it is positive or negative. Get creative with the feedback process! Perhaps have a monthly contest for a $50 gift card for any idea that is implemented in the practice. Your employees have great ideas and it is your responsibility to draw them out of them.
Everyone within your practice must be approachable. If someone is unapproachable then perhaps they are not a great fit for your practice. The more layers you create for employee feedback, the less successful your feedback loop will be. As a manager, soliciting and implementing feedback from employees will make your job all the easier.
Leave Room for Advancement
Nobody wants to be stuck in a dead-end job. Promoting from within your practice is the best way to let your employees know that with determination, diligence, and leadership, they will be able to climb the ranks of your practice.
This is especially true if your practice is rapidly growing.Why recruit outsiders when your insiders already know the ins and outs of your practice? Promoting from within may also reduce your recruiting and hiring costs. By promoting an insider, you then only need to fill a less-senior role, which is easier and cheaper. Promoting from within also means there will be minimal training, simplified on-boarding, and they already have the relationships to work hand-in-hand with their colleagues.
Encourage Critical Thinking
When your practice employees are most efficient you will spend less energy, time, and money on solving patient problems. This is true of any business, including dental practices.
You must empower your employees with decision making authority. A patient does not like to be told that someone will have to get back to them. By stripping employees of the ability to make decisions they will then waste time (and money) trying to locate someone who can solve a problem.
Wrapping it Up
Sir Richard Branson perhaps said it best: “If you take care of your employees, they will take care of you.”
Establishing a practice culture that empowers the employee rather than restricting them will help your employees take care of patients above and beyond the normal call of duty.
While you may have some employees who only come into punch the clock – and for these types you should reconsider their role – you will soon find that most of your employees are eager to help the patient, which in turn will only help your practice.
Put faith and trust in your employees and they will not let you down.