The top tools for building a great team in the dental practice

September 28, 2016

Learning to use job descriptions and performance reviews effectively can make for a more successful dental practice.

Over the course of their entire career, dentists can (and should) continue learning how to better build and lead their practice team. As successful business owners know, there’s always room for improvement in this critical area.

Over time, you’ll want to acquire a whole array of staff management tools. Two of the most important for you to master as soon as possible are job descriptions and performance reviews.

Trending article: Are you working with employees or team players?

Beyond generalities, assumptions and missed opportunities

The difference between an “amateur” team leader and one who takes a more professional approach often comes down to communications. You undoubtedly verbalize what you want staff members to do, both when you hire them and whenever changes are needed. You also give feedback to some extent… hopefully acknowledging good performance, perhaps admonishing shortcomings, and possibly even summarizing your feelings when discussing compensation.

But this kind of communication tends to be somewhat vague and can mean different things to different people-especially if not written down. That’s why Levin Group consultants always urge our clients to formalize leader-staff relations with carefully crafted, specific and motivational job descriptions and performance reviews.

Here are some guidelines to help you upgrade these team-building tools in your practice.

The target-based job description

Though you want a job description to be concise, you also need to make it specific in terms of performance. Formulate numerical, measureable targets that will take your practice to the next level, assign those targets to team members and include the targets in the job descriptions. For example, rather than writing that the front desk coordinator should “answer the phone,” indicate that he or she should “always answer the phone by the third ring, project enthusiasm and follow scripting to schedule new patient callers within seven days.” Note how hitting these targets will lead directly to practice growth.

Such a job description will give you a greater sense of how your team can contribute to your success, while also clarifying the role of targets in achieving that success. For your team members, a well-made description shows exactly what’s expected of them… and helps make them feel like a part of something greater than themselves.

Related reading: 3 tips for effective performance feedback for your dental team

The motivational performance review

Held at least once a year, a performance review gives you and each team member an opportunity to discuss how things have been going in an objective and constructive way. The targets you’ve built into the job descriptions-and which staff members have been working to hit-frame the conversation. This helps eliminate fuzzy, judgmental comments and, if any targets have been missed, you can have a businesslike discussion of why and whether additional training is needed.

A performance review should serve not only as a snapshot of what the team member has been doing for your business but also as a time to discuss her or his job satisfaction and career objectives. Think of it as a management tool that can help both of you do better.

Team-building is a complex, frustrating and ongoing challenge for all practice owners. However, by learning to use job descriptions and performance reviews effectively, you’ll be able to clear the path toward greater success.

Seminar Savings: Learn more about building your team at one of Dr. Levin’s last seminars for 2017. You can save $50 when you register 30 days in advance for the seminar in Dallas on November 19 or in Oklahoma City on December 3. To get your savings, go here to register and use code DPM50.