The days seem to fly by in a dental practice, barely leaving time for you to check in with your team. Do you really know how they are feeling about work? Dental practices, like any healthcare organization, can be stressful and busy environments, but as a leader, you need to ensure patients receive positive, professional care.
Team morale is vital to patient satisfaction and retention – and it makes good financial sense to invest in. According to a recent Gallup poll, there are roughly 22 million actively disengaged employees costing the economy up to $350 billion dollars a year in lost productivity. Key factors cited in the report included illness, absenteeism, and attitude.
When you are working inside a person’s mouth – a most intimate act – you can imagine how quickly they will pick up on a poor attitude.
Morale can be improved through a concept known as servant leadership. It is centered around getting to know each team member on a personal level, recognizing their contributions, and thus creating a feeling of pride within the team. A harmonious work environment flows from the top and engenders trust in the organization.
In 1970, the late pundit Robert K. Greenleaf coined the phrase servant leadership saying, “the great leader is seen as servant first, and that simple fact is the key to his greatness.”
Get to Know Your Team
Learn what motivates each team member and plan rewards accordingly. Some might enjoy a photo and thank-you post on social media, others a private, hand-written note, and almost everyone would enjoy a paid day off. Think about what makes sense for your team and budget. Your efforts, no matter how small, will serve to energize your employees and make them feel good about serving patients.
Group recognition is also important. Plan a catered employee luncheon or hand out gift certificates. Create an employee recognition week and include it in your patient newsletter.
Check in with your own state of mind each day and be mindful of spreading sour vibes. Hold yourself accountable for following through on promises; handle conflicts quickly; adopt an open-door policy that makes your team feel comfortable.
Holding morning huddles and team meetings keeps everyone on the same page and fosters easy communication. It also makes you aware of potential job satisfaction roadblocks, such as an overwhelming caseload or uneven work distribution.
Finally, employees always appreciate a leader who rolls up their sleeves and helps when the going gets tough.
The trust, appreciation, and support you give your team can make a tremendous difference in office harmony, patient experience, and your bottom line. To ensure a thriving practice, make morale a priority.
If you’d like to learn more about creating a harmonious work environment, get in touch with our dental accounting team today!