Last updated on March 27th, 2024 at 11:33 am

So, you’ve hired on some great staff and they’ve been working with you for a while.

Now, the question is: how do you keep them accountable? How do you get them to take initiative? And how do you determine when an employee is ready for a raise?

It can be frustrating as a practice owner to feel like you’re the only one who really cares—where nobody else seems to notice that the upcoming schedule is empty or collections are down, and you need to micromanage everyone to get them to do what’s needed.

And it’s with that in mind, that we’ve put together this post!

(Related: How to Hire and Keep Great Dental Staff)

Before I dive in, I wanted to mention that we cover much more on this topic on our online training platform, DDS Success. In fact, we have a lesson called “Improving Productivity” in the Teambuilding Sessions course instructed by our Chief Operating Officer, Jeff Blumberg. I highly recommend signing up and watching that session to learn more about this topic. You can also request a free demo here.

With that said, here are a few ways to begin improving team performance, accountability, and initiative!

1. Determine what the end result of their job is

One of the main problems I see in many dental offices is that job roles are not clearly defined and—more importantly—the employees are not focused on the purpose and end result of their job.

Their understanding of the job is, “I help the doctor. They want me to do x, y, and z every day…” but they don’t necessarily have goals in mind or an understanding of how their role affects overall practice success.

The Scheduling Coordinator, for instance, may do many different things like:

  • Scheduling patients
  • Confirming appointments
  • Reactivating overdue/inactive patients
  • Filling holes in the schedule
  • Handling cancellations
  • Preparing the upcoming day’s schedule for the team at the morning huddle
  • Etc.

But what is the end result of those actions? What is the purpose of them? Why are they doing them?

All of these actions add up to Total Practice Production.

The Scheduling Coordinator should be keeping track of the total production of the practice, and if it is increasing over time, they know they are doing their job correctly.

There is a big difference between thinking, “My job is to do all of these actions the doctor told me to do” versus “My job is to ensure we achieve our monthly goal for Total Practice Production and that it is increasing each month as the practice grows.”

(Related: 4 Essential Tips for Motivating Your Dental Team)

When they are thinking with the overall goal, they can start to take initiative. They understand why it’s important that they correctly handle potential new patient phone calls so the patient gets scheduled and shows up to see the doctor. They understand why it’s important that every patient gets schedule firmly before leaving the office. They understand why they need to make time to call overdue patients to get them back on their recall schedule. They understand why it’s important to have time on the schedule for patients to have consultations with the Doctor or Treatment Coordinator so they can make financial arrangements and get scheduled for the treatment they need.

Each job has to have a goal or end result that they’re looking to achieve, and when you add them all together, you get the end result of the whole office—your patients achieving optimal oral health and maintaining it.

Want to make sure your staff fully understand their purpose in the practice and how all of their duties relate to that? Check out our on-demand video training platform, DDS Success. We make training easy for you with thorough courses for each position, including all job duties, the end results, sample documents and policies they can use, and the entire team can work together to help the practice grow. Schedule a free demo here.

2. Use numbers to track employee performance

You hear a lot about “key performance indicators” (or as we call them here at MGE, “statistics”) that dental practice owners should be tracking (Chris Menkhuas talks more about KPIs in this blog post). These statistics aren’t just for evaluating overall practice health—they should also be used to measure the performance of each employee.

For example, the Financial Coordinator would track Total Practice Collections and Collections Percentage (collections should always be no less than 97% of production—adjusted for any discount plans you may participate with—that’s the goal).

If you simply put these statistics on a graph from month to month, you can see if they are going up or down over time. And the employee knows that if it’s going down, it’s their responsibility to figure out why and do what’s needed to fix it.

If they are struggling to improve the statistic, you or the Office Manager can sit down with them to see if they may need some additional training, some help understanding something or changing the way something is done in the office, or perhaps they just aren’t willing or capable of adequately performing on the job.

This also gives you a way to evaluate employee performance and make decisions regarding that employee.

(Related: Improving Teamwork and Communication Between Your Front and Back Offices)

The great thing about tracking statistics of each employee is that it’s factual. You don’t have to go with your gut or if you “feel” like they’re doing a good (or bad) job.

Additionally, this is a great tool for employees because it puts them in complete control of their job and gives them accountability. They know what is expected of them and they have evidence of how well they’re doing.

By the way, I should mention that how to organize all of this is taught on the MGE Power Program. So if it seems complicated now (how should you divide up job functions, which statistics should be assigned to which job, how to track everything and interpret all the graphs, etc), then don’t worry! It becomes very simple once you have all the tools we give you on the Power Program. Learn more here.

3. Get everyone to come together as a team

Morale and productivity reach a new level when everyone can come together as a team.

While there should be one person who is overall responsible for a duty or set of duties, that shouldn’t mean that other employees can’t help out.

For example, part of a Scheduling Coordinator’s job is to call patients who are overdue to reactivate them with the end result of getting them back into the practice to see the hygienist or doctor. While this is their overall responsibility, other staff members can also help to reactivate patients when they can. For example, something as simple as the Hygienist telling their patient, “Oh, by the way, we haven’t seen your husband in about a year. When can we schedule him to come see me?”

This gets everyone on the same page and working towards the same goal: getting as many people healthy as possible.

So while we do want everyone to have their own clearly defined job and not a situation where “everyone does everything,” we do want all team members to understand the structure of the practice at large and how they can help each other to achieve the ultimate purpose—helping more people in your community get healthy.

I hope this helps. And if you need any help at all, you can always request a free consultation or email me anytime at MaryB@mgeonline.com.

Until next time!


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