Would you like your staff to be more motivated and take more initiative on their jobs?

Do you ever feel like you need to be micro-managing them or standing over their shoulder to ensure they’re productive and doing the job you wanted them to do?

Ultimately, you hired people to help carry the load, and having people to delegate to should make your job easier—but if they aren’t motivated and productive, it can make your job even more difficult and stressful.

So in this blog post, I have some tips to keep your team motivated and taking initiative. And if you do it right, it doesn’t need to take a lot of effort, especially when you have the right employees.

(And if you need help finding the right employees, we can help there, too. Check out these two blog posts, Struggling to Find Good Dental Staff Right Now? and The Do’s And Don’ts of Hiring Dental Office Staff, or request a free consultation here.)

1. Have a good attitude

As the owner and leader of your team, your staff look up to you and will mirror the attitude you have at work. I know it seems simple, but just having a good attitude throughout the day can create a big impact on your team.

For example, if you come into work frustrated or irritated, your staff will mimic that behavior and you’ll probably notice that your staff aren’t very motivated.

On the other hand, if you walk in with an upbeat attitude and are excited to get things done and take great care of your patients, your staff will notice, and their actions will reflect that. You may notice that they’re more productive and organized, or that they’re more proactive.

2. Lead by example

Expanding on the first point above, one way you can keep your staff motivated is to be the role model in your practice. Be your own example of how an ideal staff member should act.

If you want your staff to come to work on time, be productive, be proactive, take responsibility, etc., it will need to start with you.

Have you ever worked for someone who was consistently late to work? What about someone who didn’t really know the ins and outs of their own business? How about someone who never took responsibility and always blamed others anytime something went wrong? You start to lose confidence in them and in turn, lose motivation to be productive.

And if you procrastinate and let problems persist without jumping on it quickly, your staff will follow your example and think “it’s fine” if there’s a problem like high cancelations, an empty schedule, overdue payments, etc.

The truth is, everyone wants to follow a great leader and people are proud to be led by someone who can pave the way.

When you lead by example, you’re showing your staff first-hand how to work in your practice, and you’re instilling confidence into your team.

3. Coordinate and be a team

Being in coordination is one of the best ways to keep your staff motivated throughout the day and week because everyone knows what’s going on in the practice and what they should be doing that specific day to reach the goals of the practice.

Morning meetings and weekly staff meetings are the best ways to keep your team coordinated, and they don’t have to be long meetings either. In fact, morning meetings should only last about 15 minutes and weekly staff meetings can be as short as 30-45 minutes. The timing depends on how much you want to go over. We have a couple of articles on how to conduct these meetings that I recommend reading Making Your Morning Huddle Productive by our COO, Jeff Blumberg

(Related: Four Meetings You MUST Be Holding In Your Dental Practice)

4. Have goals for your team to work toward

A big part of being motivated is, well, having something to work toward!

In a lot of dental offices I see, the staff are just there to “help out the doctor” or “handle the administrative things.” That doesn’t exactly get you jumping out of your chair with excitement.

Obviously, you have the ultimate goal of helping people in your community achieve and maintain great oral health. You should also have other achievements along the way that show how well you’re accomplishing that goal.

First of all, I would have yearly and monthly production goals for the practice as a whole, because every team member is involved in creating production. They should all know what that goal is and see the progress toward it. If you’re having those meetings I mentioned above, you can all coordinate on what needs to be done to make the goal as the month goes along. And many of our clients have a reward attached to the yearly goal, perhaps a group trip or cruise, if they make it. Something that will get people excited to achieve it.

And then your staff should have individual targets to work toward that are relevant to their specific job. The Scheduling Coordinator could have monthly targets for production, number of recall appointments, reactivated patients, etc. The Treatment Coordinator may have a goal for the amount of treatment accepted.

If you’d like help figuring out how to implement this in your practice, request a free consultation here and we’ll give you some pointers.

5. Focus on training your staff

When an employee has complete understanding of their job and all the different parts that go with it, they become more confident in their ability to do a good job and they become more productive.

Training your staff shows that you’re invested in their career and improvement on the job. This is a good opportunity to add incentives (such as advancement or bonuses) to keep them motivated.

Our online training platform, DDS Success, is a great way to train any job position in your practice. The courses are all training videos with plenty of visuals to make it easy to follow along—I highly recommend checking it out or requesting a free demo!

6. Create a pleasant environment to work in

It’s hard to stay motivated in a space that feels and looks messy. Having a clean environment and providing the tools your staff need to do their job are easy ways to maintain motivation in the practice. A few ideas for a pleasant environment are:

  • Maintaining the building and furniture
  • Making the employee break room, locker room, and private offices comfortable and pleasant
  • Provide natural light when possible
  • Provide the tools necessary for their jobs (i.e. a working printer and computer, ample office supplies, etc.)
  • Keep the building organized and clean

Now, when I suggest making the break room and locker room comfortable, that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be decked out with games, flat-screen TVs, or fancy furniture. What I mean is that it should feel welcoming and like a space someone would want to take their break in.

A clean and pleasant environment can make a big difference in one’s mood and productivity.

7. Recognize achievements

This can be as simple as verbally praising employees for a job well-done that day. This is a great way to emphasize the importance of each employee and the roles they play in your practice.

Don’t just point out when they’ve done something wrong or made a mistake. Who wants to go the extra mile for someone that doesn’t appreciate them when they do?

So, point out the good things they do and thank them for their hard work, and then you’ll see more of it from them.

And don’t underestimate this. I’ve seen a simple compliment or gesture of gratitude do more to motivate people than a financial bonus or raise could.

8. Have an open-door policy

Last, but not least, consider having an open-door policy where staff can come to you with questions and suggestions.

This doesn’t mean staff should come interrupt at odd times during the day to tell you problems or criticize the way you do things. It also doesn’t mean you need to act on every suggestion you receive. But you do want to hear their input on legitimate issues. They are seeing areas of the practice that you may be missing.

For example, a receptionist is going to see much more of the front office than you will throughout the day. They may see an issue that arises consistently and have a better idea of how to fix it than you would being that you’re in the back not experiencing it. By giving them an easy way to make suggestions, they can take more responsibility for their job, which in turn creates more motivation.

So, have an organized way that staff can offer suggestions and ways to make improvements, even if it’s as simple as a “Suggestion Box.”

I hope these tips help! And if you’d like help organizing your practice and motivating your team, request a free consultation today. We’d be happy to help.

John Austin provides this general dental practice management advice to furnish you with suggestions of actions that have been shown to have potential to help you improve your practice. Neither MGE nor Mr. Austin may be held liable for adverse actions resulting from your implementation of these suggestions, which are provided only as examples of topics covered by the MGE program.


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