Unlock Your Team’s Potential

Shifting your mindset from ‘management’ to ‘engagement’.

Running a successful dental group practice takes more than just clinical expertise. A dental office is also a business, and managing employees is critical to make the office run smoothly. Managing employees along with caring for patients may seem daunting, but it can be simplified for businesses in the dental industry through a set of easy-to-implement systems.

Engagement instead of management

All employees that work at a dental company must be managed. There is a responsibility within a business for leaders to manage clinical team members and patient relationships. An employee also has a responsibility to themselves to keep track of their performance and ask for help when needed. 

The term “management” in business settings often has a negative connotation because of its association with supervision and micromanagement. The interaction between employees in the workplace can instead be thought of as employee “engagement.” An engaged team member knows a business’ vision and values, they’ve aligned their goals with company-specific key performance indicators, and they’re helping solve problems at work.

On the other hand, disengaged employees are individuals that do the bare minimum to maintain their employment status. They clock in and out daily, doing just enough at work to remain employed, but never going above and beyond. 

Employee engagement can be thought of as encouraging movement or growth in the workplace. In orthodontics, a physician can engage a tooth versus placing passive pressure on the tooth. The difference in these clinical approaches is that when engaged, a tooth moves. This metaphor translates into how leaders can engage their employees to be active within the organization.

Engaging employees makes managing them easier. Employees can be engaged through structured growth paths developed by leadership. Employees want to know that they have a future within a company and that they can grow and achieve their goals, and following a clearly defined path can get them there.

Connect, measure, and coach

For company leaders, it is necessary to connect with, measure, and coach each employee that directly reports to them.

To connect is to engage in regular structured conversations about workplace performance with employees. Employees are increasingly looking for their personal and professional life to be integrated and for a sense of belonging in the workplace. Employees want to feel connected to the vision and values of an organization, and leaders can help contribute to creating that space.

Leaders should also measure their employee’s alignment with the company’s vision and values. Performance measurement in the workplace has the power to validate an employee and fill them with confidence in their position. It is important to provide employees with structured feedback on a regular basis so that they can make improvements and grow. 

Coaching is the process of mentoring individuals either up into a different position, encouraging growth in their current position, or into potentially leaving the company because they are no longer a fit. Ask employees questions quarterly to determine how they are feeling within the company such as: how are you growing right now? Are you growing up into a different role? Or do you feel like you are growing out of the company? If these conversations are brought to the forefront, they can be addressed before they become a problem.

Connecting, measuring, and coaching employees throughout their time at a company retains team members in the long run. Often, employees leave a company because they believe that they can no longer reach their future goals there. If a leader consistently checks in, they can assist an employee in meeting their goals, and they are therefore less likely to leave.

The 5 Ps 

Sometimes performance issues at work are caused by things happening in an employee’s personal life. It is important that leaders recognize that an employee’s personal life can bleed into their work life. 

The 5 Ps are the foundation for joy, satisfaction, and retention of employees. These principles guide the personal and professional lives of every individual in an organization and can be leveraged by a business’ leadership team to ensure employees are satisfied.

Purpose: What an individual determines as their personal purpose in their life can help them to find a focus within the workplace.

Power: Power can be thought of as an individual’s battery or energy. When employees are focused on their mental health and well-being, they have more potential to perform well in the workplace.

People: Interpersonal relationships inside and outside of work affect an associate’s behavior in the workplace. Assure that positive working relationships are being maintained within your organization.

Prosperity: Prosperity goes beyond earnings into an individual feeling like they have personal financial control at work and in their personal lives.

Performance: Employees must be making progress and not staying static to be able to see that they have the potential to grow and accomplish goals.

Consistent meeting structure

Having a structured meeting cadence is an important system to integrate when managing employees. Leaders should strive to create a “pulse” in their employee relationships. This means having consistent performance check-ins and reviews instead of waiting a year or more to address issues.

Daily, employees should take a moment to pause and consider how they performed throughout the day. In this self-reflection process, employees should take note of their time management, communication, and patient interactions so they can make improvements for the next day.

Employees should be responsible for tracking their key performance indicators weekly, and for sending an email to their manager addressing if they hit their goals or not. If an employee was off for the week, they should outline in the email their plans to get back on track.

Monthly, leaders should informally check-in with employees. These informal, unscheduled conversations allow employees to asynchronously check in with leadership. In these informal meetings, corrections can be made before a formal quarterly meeting should anything be trending off. Unstructured meetings build employee trust and let them know their leaders are listening.

A scheduled and structured performance review between a supervisor and an employee should be conducted quarterly. A quarterly meeting is where workplace performance can be formally addressed, and goals can be set for further growth and development. This performance review provides the greatest value for both parties so that the individual can go forward contributing their best to the business.