3 Team Building Ideas for Dentist Offices

Practice Management, Team Building and Clinical Coaching

team building in your dentist office

While creating beautiful smiles for your patients may be what you do best, it’s just as important to keep your team smiling!

If your dental practice is not running smoothly and productively, there could be a problem with the office culture.

Here’s a question for you: What is the culture of your dental practice?

Do employees show up each day to work? Does everyone occasionally attend a staff meeting? Do the workers call each other co-worker?

Or does everyone share part of their life as a member of a team, coming together with support, assistance, and encouragement to improve smiles? There’s a popular saying that is popular because it is so true: Teamwork is the dream work. But also understand—teamwork doesn’t have to be a dream. You can make it a reality.

When you have a team, everyone is happier. Including your patients.

My name is Jennifer Pearce, and I’m the owner, founder, and lead executive coach at Prosperity Dental Solutions. I’ve been involved in dentistry for almost a quarter of a century, including 18 years as a practice administrator and four years as co-owner of several successful practices. Trust me when I say—I know the dental industry and what it takes to have a successful team.

In this article, I’m going to let you in on some great tips and ideas, including 3 team building ideas for your dentist office.

  • Idea #1: Open Communication
  • Idea #2: Create a Team Atmosphere
  • Idea #3: Offer Rewards and Incentives

Team Building Idea #1: Open Communication

One of the most common reasons people feel like they are going to work as an employee rather than being part of a team is lack of communication. Each team member should feel comfortable and confident about talking to every other member of the team.

Sure, an “open-door policy” is a great start, but it’s not enough.

Communication needs to be ongoing and all-encompassing. Think of it like hygiene. You don’t just wash your hands once in the morning, and then you’re good all day. You also don’t just wash your hands. You take a shower. Wash your hair. Brush and floss.

Make a commitment to promote healthy communication between all team members. To begin the process, hold a team meeting.

The team meeting should include:

  • A safe, positive atmosphere
  • Let everyone know they will be heard
  • Squash any judgment, negativity, or finger-pointing
  • Make sure each team member knows the vision and mission of your practice
  • Layout your expectations and goals
  • Ask them for their input regarding what works well and what doesn’t
  • Ask outright the team’s perception of current communication
  • Get their ideas for improving communication
  • Encourage them to address any problems as they arise
  • Inquire if the team members feel they receive adequate feedback about performance

Now that the lines of communication are open, keep it going. Schedule regular team meetings. This shows your availability and proves your commitment to the team. You could do shorter, more focused meetings each week, and longer, more open ones once a month.

At the monthly meetings, consider asking open questions. For instance:

  • What was the biggest challenge you faced this month?
  • What did we accomplish, or what goal did we meet?
  • What is working well or not working well?
  • Is there anything we can do to improve things?

Have a daily morning huddle. If you’ve ever watched a sports team in action, you’ve seen them huddle. The huddle allows them to communicate and encourage each other. Keep it brief—maybe 10 minutes—focused, and on-time. This allows the team to check-in, set daily goals, and discuss what the day looks like.

Team Building Idea #2: Create a Team Atmosphere

When people like each other, they feel more like a team member. Okay, so not everyone can always get along with everyone else, but when people have a chance to get to know each other, harmony comes easier.

Create opportunities for non-work-related activities to boost friendships. This increases morale and productivity.

Help your team members build friendships and harmony. Consider some of the following in and out of office ideas:

  • Plan regular fun activities outside the office—or put someone else in charge of doing this. Bowling, mini-golf, happy hour, a cooking class, a baseball game, batting cages, roller skating. The sky is the limit. Get creative. You will soon appreciate how much getting silly and laughing together builds a team.
  • Buy them lunch. You’d be surprised how much your team members will appreciate a free meal! You can bring in lunch for everyone at once or treat one member at a time as you get to know them.
  • Encourage potlucks. The fastest way to someone’s heart is through the stomach. Let the team members who love to cook or have a prized recipe shine. Those who don’t cook can contribute drinks, chips, or bread. Consider holiday potlucks and birthday month celebrations.
  • Bring in an ice cream truck to treat everyone with their favorite option.
  • Have dress-up days based on themes and offer prizes for the most creative, best design, etc. Consider superhero day, pajama day, silly socks, luau theme, favorite sports team, etc.
  • Get everyone involved in volunteering. Serve the less-fortunate together at a soup kitchen or enter a 5K as a team.
  • Experience continuing education together. This not only encourages bonding, but it helps improve the care for your patients. It could be a seminar, webinar, learning lunch, or in-office training.
  • Want to go really crazy? Close the office for a day and use work hours for a fun, non-CE event, such as opening day at the ballpark or a day trip somewhere.

Once you get to know your team better through open communication, you can tailor activities to fit them better.

BONUS:

When you do fun activities, post pictures and videos on social media. Share it in newsletters and on your website. Patients like to know the people who care for their oral health enjoy having fun together.

Team Building Idea #3: Offer Rewards and Incentives

People work for paychecks. While many employers believe the paycheck is enough of reward, know you can do better. It doesn’t have to be big, dramatic, or expensive. You just want to acknowledge outstanding performance.

Look for ways to boost morale by offering rewards and incentives. Some may be known, such as a bonus or team event for hitting a certain goal. But you should also consider handing out unexpected acknowledgments.

Here are some ideas:

  • Have a stack of gift cards or awards for things like an ice cream break and hand them out as you catch team members going above and beyond.
  • Recognize team members for doing well publicly.
  • Have a corkboard in the breakroom to post notes regarding the positive behaviors of team members. Encourage everyone to write notes to each other.
  • Consider gifts for reaching goals. This could be something like tickets to an event, amusement park, or movie, flowers, a fruit basket, a trip to the spa, or gift cards to a restaurant. Again, get creative.
  • Consistently encourage team members.

Get Started on Building Your Team Today

If you want to get serious about building a team that works well together and makes your practice more enjoyable, I can help. Contact me online or call (817) 975-4576 today to get started!

Happy team building!

3 Tips for Better Patient Recall Numbers

Practice Management, Team Building and Clinical Coaching

better patient recall numbers

When it comes to patient recall in your dental practice, understanding the “how” is more important than the “why.” After all, the “why” is pretty obvious. Regular visits are vital to both your patients’ overall health and the practice’s profits.

My name is Jennifer Pearce, and I am the founder, owner, and lead-coach at Prosperity Dental Solutions. With over two decades of dentistry experience, I understand the importance of recall. I also know the secrets to better patient recall numbers.

Tip #1: Improve Patient Recall Numbers in the Treatment Room

The dental hygienist and doctor both play an important role in ensuring patients schedule and keep routine dental visits.

Make sure the dental hygienist has enough time to discuss the purpose of preventative care. Have them stress the importance of avoiding more costly, invasive treatments by keeping oral health a priority. Minor issues caught early can be resolved before requiring big procedures that cost big money.

The dentist should also be involved. Instead of saying, “Everything looks great,” or telling patients they’re doing a good job, give them reasons to return. Glib one-liners may sound friendly, but they can also minimize the need to keep the next appointment.

Discuss any potential concerns noticed on the exam and what to watch out for. Even if their exam is perfectly normal, talk about common issues with patients their age or who have the same medical condition, such as diabetes. When the doctor goes into detail, it helps patients understand the reason to return.

Also, while it may seem obvious the patient needs to return in six months, patients pay more attention when it is the doctor telling them. This makes it more likely to get the patient to commit to their next visit.

Tip #2: Improve Patient Recall Numbers by Front Office Staff

When the patient checks out, the front office should make sure their follow up is scheduled. A commitment to 100% reschedules makes an immense difference. If the patient says they can’t schedule because they don’t know what their availability will be, stress the importance of scheduling anyway. After all, a promise from them that they will call later to schedule an appointment gets forgotten too often.

Let the patient know you will call to remind them two weeks before the appointment, and they can change it if they need to. This also alerts them that the office will follow up, so they don’t view the call as an intrusion.

Also, have the front office check to see if the patient at the desk has family members needing appointments. Encourage the patient to schedule the entire family so they can be conveniently seen together. As a bonus, if a family has three dental appointments on the same day, they are less likely to cancel or no-show.

If several team members share in the patient recall responsibility, consider having a contest to see who schedules the most patients. A little financial incentive, tickets to an event, or a gift card to a nice restaurant can tremendously increase motivation.

You may also consider having at least one team member make phone calls during off-hours. Many patients have jobs and cannot answer the phone during normal business hours. The cost of a few hours of overtime is worth it if even one patient schedules.

And don’t forget about patients once they are on the schedule. Be sure to follow through with reminder and confirmation calls, texts, or emails.

Tip #3: Better Patient Recall Numbers Through Diversification

Different people have different preferred methods of communication. While data shows text messages have the best response rates, not all patients prefer texts. This is especially true with the older population. For them, hearing a voice and talking with someone makes them feel more cared about.

On the subject of phone calls, encourage your patients to save your practice number in their cell phone. With the high number of spam calls, more and more patients ignore calls from numbers they don’t recognize. Having your practice number saved makes it easier for them to reach you when needed and increases the likelihood they will answer when your office calls.

Ask your patients which communication medium they prefer—text, phone call, or email—and add this information into their chart. That way, you can be sure to reach out to them in a way they most appreciate.

Personalized letters, flyers, and special deals should also be considered.

For instance, many practices offer free teeth whitening for life for patients who keep their recall appointments. While it doesn’t have to be teeth whitening, offering a special incentive will motivate patients to schedule and keep appointments.

Are you Ready for Better Patient Recall Numbers?

Contact us online or call (817) 975-4576 today to see how we can improve your dental practice through increased patient visits.

Take your first step towards achieving a prosperous dental practice.

Schedule a Consultation

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Practice Management, Implementation and Mentoring of Systems

 

Testimonials

Practice Management, Implementation and Mentoring of Systems

"I highly recommend Jennifer as a dental coach and as a person who understands what it takes to drive improvement. She has a wealth of experience and knowledge that makes her an invaluable tool in strengthening a practice. My practice has been successful, however, I knew that I wanted to take it to another level. Jennifer has a keen understanding of the ins and outs of running a practice, and what it takes to elevate all aspects of the practice. Whether it's a desire to improve treatment case acceptance, create more harmony and positive energy at the office, or implement the vision of the practice, Jennifer has the know how to make it happen. She says it as it is, and is down to earth and honest. I have already seen improvements across the board in my practice since we have been working together. I'm excited about the growth opportunity and confident that I have chosen a partner who understands the practice needs, and the intricacies needed to achieve the change I'm seeking. My team loves her and she has been a huge component in the success of my practice."

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