Creating a Strong Culture in Your Dental Practice
Mention “culture” to many dentists and it brings back dental school memories.
Dental office culture s a personality that defines what it’s like to work there, how the staff treats their patients, and what the staff’s fundamental beliefs and work ethics are. One of the challenges of growth in dental businesses, whether in one or multiple locations, is maintaining the culture.
All it takes is leadership!
The leader needs to align with the culture and model any desired behaviors. A leader’s values, actions, and development of his or her team need to reinforce its culture visibly. A leader can make or break an organization.
Through leading by example, the leader sets the tone for the company’s culture every day. One of the most significant factors that can hinder a leader’s ability to drive results effectively is failing to align with, act on, or uphold the organization’s values.
Poor leadership can reinforce the wrong values, behaviors, and attitudes, creating interferences that can lead to a toxic culture and generate discord between an office’s image and its operations. Most consultants would say if the culture is not great, it doesn’t matter what system is in place or how well it works because it will never stick.
Leadership and culture are the crosshairs that, when coordinated, can make for a competitive advantage in a competitive market.
Here are 9 steps you can take to start creating a strong culture in your dental practice
1.Connect with your team
Show genuine interest and concern—Connect with the workforce’s emotional side, which creates a shared sense of purpose and motivation.
2.Lead by example
Never ask someone to do something you wouldn’t do yourself. If the office staff has to stay late for a patient and they’re behind on closing the day, grab a vacuum and help.
3.Respect your team, both inside and out of the dental practice
Empower team members in their positions and let them do the jobs you hired them for. Try not to call, text, or email them when they’re outside of the practice.
4.Create a clear vision and share your mission statement
- Defining the office vision is your responsibility.
- People buy into the leader way before they buy into the vision.
- Communicate your goals with the team.
5.Create job descriptions
Ensure your team knows their jobs, are educated on how to do those jobs, and have the tools and resources needed to complete their assignments. Creating job descriptions sets the team up for success.
All good leaders will not let employees know just once a year how bad or good they are doing at their jobs. Leaders communicate often and openly.
Whether big or small, celebrate the victories in your practice.
8.Create a safe environment for staff
Do not display an aggressive attitude. It can make team members nervous in their job surroundings.
9.Identify strong suits
- Never place someone uncomfortable talking about money in a treatment coordinator position. And, expect the person to be good at it.
- Find staff members’ strengths, and assign them where they belong.
What kind of employees will be attracted to this style of leadership?
The answer is enthusiastic and happy people who look forward to coming to work, reliable, satisfied, self-motivated, and willing to help grow the practice.
Nothing is more costly to a business than losing a valuable team member. It might take months or even years to find and train a replacement who can operate at the same level of productivity. In the meantime, the practice loses money.
Your team is your practice’s most valuable asset because patients value relationships with you and your team members more than they value the dentistry you provide. It takes years to build those relationships. Lose a key team member, and you lose some of the relationships with your patients.
Showing sensitivity to the practice culture will reap benefits for all concerned and show improvements in staff morale, patient treatment acceptance, profitability, and growth. Without that awareness comes stagnation, frustration, and poor performance.
It might be time to revisit the culture if you’re having team retention issues, systems that fail to stay in place, are not progressing toward practice goals, or have high office stress levels.
You may find our micro-course on HR Skills for Practice Managers: People—Organizational Culture helps cultivate and reinforce a positive organizational culture.
About NGT Academy
We are one of the very few turnkey-Learning Management System providers that specializes in the dental industry. Currently, with a library of more than 30 courses created for dental teams, our eLearning platform is one of the easiest to use. Simultaneously, eLearning typically costs at least 30% less than conventional training making for a truly efficient solution for your dental organization.