Investing in the Team

Sept. 20, 2011
To keep your team's skills current, invest in relevant training for staff members based on their positions and abilities.

by Roger P. Levin, DDS

Dentistry continues to evolve, and your staff’s skills need to evolve, too. Without a strong team in place, your practice will have trouble competing in today’s marketplace. To keep your team’s skills current, invest in relevant training for staff members based on their positions and abilities.Implementing a training regimen will help practices develop their teams to their fullest potential. The following steps should be part of any employee training program: 1. Designate a training day. The purpose of a training day is to develop staff members’ skills in needed areas. The dentist, with the team’s input, can select the appropriate topics, such as:
  • Presentations by manufacturer representatives on new products incorporated into the practice
  • A half-day training presentation by the computer software manufacturer
  • A half-day OSHA update by a work-safety consultant or expert
  • Presentations by accountants or CPAs for administrative staff
2. Use scripting to improve verbal skills.Nearly every aspect of the patient experience can be documented and scripted. The more scripts the practice uses, the better trained the staff. Levin Group recommends Value Creation Scripting™— an approach that emphasizes both influence and communication rather than just communication. With Value Creation Scripting™ in place, the team is more empowered to provide high-quality customer service to patients and increase acceptance for needs-based and elective treatment. 3. Institute regular performance reviews. A good format is a one-hour lunch-time meeting, out of the office, with a set agenda that focuses on team members' strengths, contributions, areas of improvement, and feedback. The dentist should focus on these areas:
  • What has gone right for the team member in the practice over the last six months?
  • What can the team member improve upon during the next six months?
  • In the team member’s opinion, how can the practice perform better?
  • What additional training does the team member need?
These performance reviews should encourage team members to do 80 percent of the talking in an open, nondefensive manner. The reviews should be positive, growth-oriented, and informational. 4. Schedule outside the office training. Training a team is not something that can always be accomplished in the office. Dentists should take the staff members to seminars and conferences that provide appropriate training based on each team member’s duties and responsibilities. When dentists invest in their teams, that investment pays off in terms of increased productivity and improved customer service. Training is one of the best investments dentists can make in their practices. When staff members are learning and growing in their positions, the practice is well-positioned to reach its full potential.
To learn how to run a more profitable, efficient, and satisfying practice, visit the Levin Group Resource Center at www.levingroupgp.com — a free online resource with valuable tips, videos, ideas, and information. You can also connect with Levin Group on Facebook and Twitter (Levin_Group) for learning strategies and sharing ideas.