Dentists: Increased team engagement needs to be on the top of your resolution list.
Every January is an opportunity to hit the reset button. We regroup, we resolve, and we recommit to making this new year better than the last. But by February, many of our staunch resolutions and proclamations have been replaced by the day-to-day busyness of owning a practice, never to be seen again...until the next January.
After working with thousands of doctors over the last 20 years, I've witnessed a key characteristic that helps determine success in keeping goals and resolutions in their practices—engagement. Engagement is one of those things that is hard to explain, but it's critical to the success of your practice. It's also essential to keeping your employees. Think I'm exaggerating? According to a recent Forbes magazine study, 71% of all employees are not fully engaged, and a whopping $11 billion is lost each year due to employee turnover.1 If that's not enough to convince you, Forbes found that businesses with engaged team members have 6% higher net profit margins on average. Those businesses also provide higher quality service, resulting in higher customer satisfaction.2
The bottom line is this: Increased team engagement needs to be on the top of your resolution list. For context, an engaged team is emotionally invested in the success of your practice (figure 1). It means they genuinely care about your practice, your goals, and your results. High engagement means having team members who do everything they can to provide an out-of-this-world experience for your patients (which has the added benefit of increasing referrals and revenue).
So, how can you use the new year as an chance to increase your team's engagement? What can you do to get them excited about working to meet the goals of the company rather than just collect a paycheck? Here are a few tested and proven strategies for ramping up the engagement in your office.
Commit to a higher standard
Stop accepting mediocre results. Set big, exciting goals for your team, generate momentum around these goals, and create exciting rewards. If you want to see increased results, you need to set the bar higher.
Commit long-term to developing your team
Developing your team is an investment. If you expect improved results, you've got to invest in training your team and make the conscious decision to help every team member grow-both personally and professionally. This will increase your team members' synergy in the office and improve your relationships with them.
Set goals and celebrate wins
Most of us don't pay enough attention to all of the things our teams are doing right. Take the time to truly celebrate your team's wins-especially when big goals are met! Recognize employees who went above and beyond with kind words, small gifts, or actions.
Figure 1: Engagement scale
Model high-engagement behaviors
Your engagement level needs to be higher than your team's at all times. So, ask yourself a few questions. Are you passionate about your work-and does it show? Do you come into the office with a positive attitude and cultivate an energetic environment? If not, it's time to make some big changes to your personal behavior. Think you're already engaged? Ask your team to rate you!
Nurture a culture of growth
The most successful practices in the world are filled with people and processes that are constantly evolving and improving. If you want a team that loves learning and is eager to be the best, then you should encourage these desires by investing in training, hosting educational seminars, and showing an interest in their personal hobbies.
Commit to accountability
Accountability trickles down from the top, which means that you need to hold yourself accountable for high engagement in order to ensure your team's success. Here's the ideal model: A coach/mentor holds the doctor accountable, the doctor holds the team accountable, and the team holds its patients accountable (to comply with treatment). That way, everyone has a support system and is held to the highest standard of performance.
Use the start of a new year to step up your engagement and your team's engagement. Experience for yourself how it can supercharge your practice's production, collections, and revenue!
We can assess the engagement of your front desk team. Go to 5starchallenge.com to sign up for a free mystery call and evaluation.
1. Lipman V. Why are so many employees disengaged? Forbes website. http://www.forbes.com/sites/victorlipman/2013/01/18/why-are-so-many-employees-disengaged/#1c169ce43ac5. Published January 18, 2013. Accessed November 22, 2016.
2. Kruse K. What is employee engagement. Forbes website. http://www.forbes.com/forbes/welcome/?toURL=http://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinkruse/2012/06/22/employee-engagement-what-and-why/&refURL=&referrer=#6316728d4629. Published June 22, 2012. Accessed November 22, 2016.
More "Inside the Practice" from Jay Geier
The one thing you should do before starting the new year (December 2016)
The consequences of keeping toxic team members (November 2016)
Why your front desk team is your most important hire (October 2016)
Why dentists need a vacation (September 2016)
4 reasons why you need to incentivize your team (August 2016)
Accepting you 'don't know what you don't know' and thriving (February 2016)