Changes for the Better

November 13, 2023
by Gabriele Maycher, CEO, GEM Dental Experts Inc. BSc, PID, dip DH, RDH

Are flawed processes keeping your team from experiencing better efficiency, healthier clients, happier employees, and continued practice growth?

The challenge:

As a dedicated practice manager, I have a team of exceptional individuals who showcase remarkable skills and talents. However, some challenges require attention. Specifically, I invest significant time in managing questions and conflicts related to our daily operations and individual responsibilities.

The solution:

Building a cohesive, high-performing team takes time and effort, but it is essential for the success of your practice. Clearly articulated systems, processes, and protocols are key. Here are some strategies you can implement to improve team dynamics and reduce HR issues.

Develop a definitive vision and mission: If your practice lacks well-defined and documented vision and mission statements, it’s crucial to craft them, discuss them, and post them. This foundational step serves as the cornerstone for recruiting and nurturing your team. Subsequently, ensure that every member understands the practice’s overarching objectives and role in the big picture. This mutual understanding of purpose will harmonize their endeavours and foster a profound sense of direction.

Recruit Strategically: The quest for adept team members starts with a meticulous recruitment strategy. Dedicate ample time to this pivotal phase. Enhance the efficiency of the recruitment procedure by clearly outlining job positions, prerequisites, and other qualifications unique to your practice culture. This should extend to hygienists, assistants, and dentists, incorporating collegiate practice standards within their job delineations. When you employ focused recruitment techniques, you’ll draw exceptional candidates who align with your practice philosophies.

Onboard with purpose: Forge a coherent onboarding process by creating well-defined task directives for each role. This includes tasks at the outset of the day, the conclusion of the day, interludes between clients, and protocols for client cancellations. Use a collaborative approach to crafting these duty documents, ensuring the entire team is part of the process, from dental assistants and hygienists to dentists and administrative staff. Doing so will ensure group buy-in, foster clarity, and help limit misinterpretations and conflicts. Also, consider assigning departmental leaders who can serve as mentors for new recruits throughout their onboarding journey.

Outline and publish your HR policies and clinical processes: Develop a comprehensive HR manual easily accessible to all team members. These guidelines should cover essential aspects like the code of conduct, vacation and sick leave policies, performance expectations, and conflict resolution procedures. I also recommend you create an all-encompassing clinical systems and protocol manual that outlines the interdepartmental clinical trajectory. Take, for instance, the post-client dismissal scenario: Is it the hygienist’s prerogative to schedule the next appointment, or does this fall under the administration’s purview? Who navigates the referral process and medical consultations, ensuring diligent follow-ups? How can the client data exchange between hygienists and dentists be optimized to preclude delays? Detail the orchestration of tasks like room turnover and sterilization. Integrating these manuals into onboarding will help curtail confusion and conflicts among team members, facilitating more seamless operations.

Invest in training: Dedicate resources to continuing education and development for the entire team. Our commitment to perpetual learning is paramount in a field characterized by constant evolution and updates. A proficient and adeptly trained workforce can substantially diminish errors while enhancing overall efficiency and improving client outcomes.

Mandate regular team meetings: Schedule mandatory monthly team meetings to proactively tackle HR issues and rectify glitches in established systems and processes. Champion open communication, giving every team member a voice, and encouraging the exchange of ideas. The return on investment from these monthly team meetings should not be underestimated. Any lost revenue will swiftly be regained through elevated efficiencies, enriched team culture, and reduced HR predicaments.

By strategically addressing and instituting refined systems, processes, and protocols, you can cultivate an environment characterized by learning, communication, and alignment. This transformation will pave the way for exponential growth and heightened profitability for your practice, freeing you from the constraints of handling HR issues.

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