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6 management tips for satisfied staff and better patient outcomes

May 18, 2022
Satisfied team members lead to happy patients. These steps will keep your employees content in their jobs, which leads to better patient care.

The key element of every successful dental practice is happy and productive employees. Your staff is the most significant investment that you make in your business. Your team can either help you rise and achieve your goals, or they can underperform and sink your business, depending on their level of morale and satisfaction. For this reason, I think we can all agree that happy employees are the best employees.

Happy employees do great work, which results in satisfied patients, who want to return to your practice and recommend you to their friends and family. So, how exactly do you make sure that your staff members are satisfied and doing their best work in the practice? Here are six management tips for delighted team members and better patient outcomes.

An excellent onboarding strategy

Onboarding is one of the most crucial workforce management elements, yet it is often overlooked or poorly executed. A purposeful and creatively structured onboarding not only gets employees up to speed quickly and efficiently, but it also makes sure they've bought into the company culture and goals, which makes them perfectly suited for the job.

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Take the time to make sure they feel at home from the start by being welcoming and available. Be mindful of the different personalities—given that some are bold and quick to act on instructions while others require a little tact—and get to know which employees respond to what. Share what the company is about and what is expected of them in their day-to-day interactions with patients.

Ultimately you want to have employees who are confident and focused from the start. You want to avoid scenarios where they spend valuable work hours trying to figure out what to do instead of being able to work on patients.

Effective communication

Communication plays a vital role in you understanding your employees and them understanding you. That’s why it’s vital to create and maintain open lines of communication. Communication can be in-person at the office or digital through email, phone, Zoom, or even a WhatsApp group.

The principal purpose is to ensure that every team member has access to the same information and updates. This information includes treating patients quickly and efficiently. Provide all employees, both new and existing, with all the training necessary to perform their jobs well. Bring in a communications expert to help your team learn how to work with all types of people because they come from various backgrounds and can be challenging to deal with sometimes.

Also, if you're giving employees more responsibilities, make sure that you discuss this first so that it does not have a negative effect on their morale and performance.

Leverage technology

Technology makes our lives simpler. Gone are the days when you had to do things manually or keep hiring people to do different tasks for you. There are several good software programs for workforce management, from Microsoft Office products, security services, and backup platforms, to remote access systems and collaboration tools such as Zoom.

The software can also handle payroll and benefits, timekeeping systems, absence management, performance management, and human resources administration. Online employee scheduling software helps you build and share rolling schedules, instantly communicate changes with your team, and handle last-minute changes, thereby ensuring that your patients are always well-attended. So, make sure you invest in the technology your team needs to be more efficient.

Feedback and well-being

Consult your team often to get an on-the-ground perspective of how things are going in the practice's daily activities. Nothing is constant, so what worked before may not work now. Inquire about the team’s physical and mental well-being. Is there anything preventing them from working peacefully and effectively? Inquire about their interactions with patients and any difficulties they may be facing on the job.

Some may be afraid of sharing information with you, so be encouraging and friendly as you inquire. Ask them for suggestions on what can be done to make things better and find ways to implement their suggestions. This will encourage them to take better care of the patients.

Recognition and awards

Have you ever worked hard at something and received little or no credit for it? Did you want to put in the time and effort again? That’s unlikely. Your employees feel the same way. They’re the foundation of your practice and success. They deserve to be celebrated when things go well. Don't ever allow their motivation to drop. You can start with a simple Employee of the Month award to show them that their work is being recognized. They'll all strive to earn the award. At the end of the year, give out awards for annual honors, preferably with envelopes attached, and see even better results the next year.

Surprise and delight

In the pursuit of clients, we usually go the extra mile. We may offer a bonus service or product, discounts, or free trials or money-back guarantees. This strategy can enhance the existing client loyalty by leaps and bounds and bring in new clients who hear about the offers. Why, then, couldn’t you apply this to your team?

You don't have to worry about high costs. Just implement some little things, for example, personal birthday messages, the day off for their birthdays, a fun group activity some weekend, or a group lunch, your treat. Your team will love you for this and work even harder to take great care of your patients.

Running a successful practice requires constant investments in technology and marketing with the goal of acquiring new patients and building lasting relationships with them. Given that your employees play a key role in this, it’s clear that you must invest your time and resources in steps that will give you the best results.

Sometimes you can achieve a lot with open and clear conversation, but other times you need to provide your staff with technology to help them organize themselves easily and efficiently. Investing in your team and best management practices will help keep your employers happy and your patients satisfied.

Editor's note: Originally posted in 2021 and updated regularly