Do your colleagues feel happy and valued?

Do your colleagues feel happy and valued?Keziah Harvey discusses what it takes to attract and grow a strong, motivated and happy team at your practice. 

Team work really does make the dream work. Whatever targets, goals or vision you have for your practice and the year ahead – investing in your team will make all the difference. Your team are the ones who will make it happen.

You could deliver the best dentistry in the country, have a state of the art practice full of high spec dental equipment, attend every clinical course available, but if your team aren’t sharing your vision then the uphill climb to succeed will be so much steeper.

A happy team is the biggest investment you could make as a practice owner. If you invest in your team, then they will invest in your practice and your patients. When your team feel engaged, supported and motivated, then naturally and happily they perform harder and more effectively.

This generates smoother teamwork, a stronger patient experience, a positive work place, increase in revenue and most of all, loyalty from your team and your patients.

It’s a win, win.

Refocus and review

Team communication is the secret to keeping team morale high. Your colleagues should feel part of your practice, be well informed, involved and have opportunities for self-development. Regular communication is crucial to refocus practice goals, review targets, and for the team to be providing the very best treatment for your patients.

Team training improves confidence, knowledge, productivity and keeps your team focused on your targets you want to achieve. So many practice owners complain about underperforming colleagues – but have they had the right training? Do they understand your expectations? Are they picking up bad habits from other colleagues?

There is no point investing in marketing, if your receptionist then loses the enquiry. There is no point investing in a surgery refurb, when your team don’t understand the processes you want them to follow.

Regular training enhances your patient experience. But also empowers and engages your team to improve colleague relationships and overall job satisfaction.

For many, dental nurses feel overstretched with staff shortages and/or underpaid, scraping pennies above minimum wage leaving them with no motivation to develop their skills and many leaving for alternative careers or choosing locum life as a way to earn a higher salary.

Dental nurses should have recognition for their role and be appropriately compensated and rewarded. So many practice owners offer a pay rise or agree to supporting a post qualification only when a resignation lands on their desk. Why not recognise colleagues and appreciate them before that happens?

Support career advancements

And, yes, salary is important. However, most colleagues don’t leave because of money (and if they do, it is usually because of feeling devalued, rather than the specific financial gain).

Good colleagues leave because they feel under appreciated, unfulfilled, lack of opportunity and poor management. If you are losing strong colleagues, then put yourself in their shoes and try to understand why.

Invest quality one-to-one time with employees every month. A positive, encouraging annual appraisal with regular reviews goes a long way to building strong connections with your team.

Really invest your time in getting to know your team as individuals, what matters to them, what motivates them and how you can utilise their strengths to bring out the best in them. So many DCPs would welcome extra responsibilities and are eager to expand their skills set. Support them to advance their careers and give them the opportunities to fulfil their scope of practice.

This utilises your colleagues and brings maximum surgery usage throughout your team. It gives colleagues a stronger sense of achievement and importance, bringing higher job satisfaction and subsequently improves overall retention.

Recruitment challenges

I understand the reality of day to day life in surgery and sometimes the balance to complete a thorough induction is difficult, because you need your new colleague in surgery straight away. However, the importance to integrate with the team is key.

It is paramount to make a new employee a success. Induction is more than a mandatory tick box and showing the new dentist the fire exits and the policy folder.

A strong induction is a lengthy process with consistent, regular training and thoroughly embedding your practice values and culture (and not the mission statement you post on your website, your actual company culture). Do they feel supported? Even colleagues that are experienced need training and support when starting a new role.

Change is hard for anyone, so the smoother you can make that transition, the more positive the experience.

The profession continues to face recruitment challenges, with many practices having an ongoing vacancy to fill. So many practices are interviewing and recruiting like it has become a routine occurrence and then equally for many, retaining colleagues is just as tough.

The repetitive sequence of hiring and firing is a consuming cycle for managers and principals right now, with continuous frustration wasting time and money.

A high turnover in your practice can damage your brand and reputation. Patients love familiarity of colleagues and this has a huge impact on your patient experience when they realise their favourite nurse or receptionist has suddenly left. It takes time to build rapport and this can be exhausting for patients and colleagues to continually develop those relationships.

Pride and passion

Dentistry is a small world. If you want to attract that top tier talent then you need an attractive reputation. You want your team to describe and represent your practice with positivity, with pride and with passion. If your colleagues do leave, you want them to speak highly of you as an employer.

Ask yourself:

  • Do your colleagues feel happy? Important? Appreciated?
  • Do your colleagues understand your goals, your targets and the steps to achieve them?

Whatever your targets are right now in your practice – bigger patient growth, higher profits, more patients saying ‘yes’ to treatment plans…your team are the ones who will make it happen.

You need them.

Look after them, Develop them. Recognise them. Invest in them.

Team work is everything. A happy team means happy patients.

For more information call 07813348518 or visit [email protected]

You can also follow KHC Coaching and Consultancy on Instagram

Do your colleagues feel happy and valued?

Get the most out of your membership by subscribing to Dentistry CPD
  • Access 600+ hours of verified CPD courses
  • Includes all GDC recommended topics
  • Powerful CPD tracking tools included
Register for webinar
Add to calendar