4 ways to improve your team's performance

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If you want your team members to succeed -- and we both know you do -- they have to know what's expected of them. They need to strive to achieve individual and practice goals and know they're part of an overall effort to help build a thriving, profitable practice.

Sally McKenzie, CEO of McKenzie Management.Sally McKenzie, CEO of McKenzie Management.

Sounds like a pretty simple concept, right? Unfortunately, many dentists just don't take the time to give their employees the direction they need to excel. They expect them to just instinctively know what to do, especially if they've spent time at another practice. Consequently, employees don't meet expectations, and the dentists who are supposed to offer them guidance can't understand why.

To help get you and your team members back on the same page, it's time to strengthen your performance measurement system. Need help? Start with these four steps and you'll be well on your way to a clear, well-defined performance measurement strategy that will give your team members the tools they need to excel in their roles.

1. Develop detailed job descriptions

“Detailed job descriptions make it clear who's responsible for which systems and exactly what is expected of each team member.”

I know what you're thinking. Job descriptions are a waste of time. I'm here to tell you they're not. Job descriptions serve as a road map to success for your team members and should clearly outline job tasks and duties, as well as your expectations and how their performance will be measured.

Detailed job descriptions make it clear who's responsible for which systems and exactly what is expected of each team member. Sit down with team members to create job descriptions and resist the urge to overlap duties. If you do, you end up giving employees tasks rather than responsibilities. No one knows what they're responsible for, leading to frustration and a lot of finger pointing when tasks don't get done or aren't done correctly.

Empower one team member to take control of each system, and then cross-train so every area has coverage when the point person is out of the office.

2. Create a culture of success

If you want your team members to excel, you have to provide them with the tools and training they need to effectively perform their jobs. Don't just expect new hires to pick things up as they go along, or think spending 10 minutes quickly going over how to schedule patients is all the training your scheduling coordinator needs. This important team member should learn how to effectively communicate with patients, the pros and cons of blocking the schedule, and the importance of monitoring unscheduled treatment reports.

3. Realize what gets measured gets done

When evaluating employee performance, it's important to use an appraisal instrument that evaluates a variety of key areas. Those areas include the following:

  • The employee's willingness to help others
  • The employee's willingness to cooperate with others
  • The ability to follow instructions
  • The number of errors in their work
  • The employee's work ethic and attitude
  • The employee's productivity
  • The employee's commitment to completing responsibilities and improving workflow

4. Provide ongoing guidance and feedback

This is key to improving employee performance. Instead of only setting up yearly performance reviews, give your team members feedback as much as possible.

Don't wait until there's a serious problem. Let team members know what they're doing well and where they can improve. Praise employees publicly, and talk to them in private when you need to be critical. Be specific and be honest, and employees will know exactly what they need to do to improve performance.

Your team members want to do their part to help your practice succeed. They want to know how their contributions can help move the practice forward and to feel like they're important members of the team. For that to happen, they need to know exactly what's expected of them and how their performance will be measured. Follow these four tips and you'll soon have a happier, more productive team that's helping to move your practice toward true success and profitability.

Sally McKenzie is CEO of McKenzie Management, which offers educational and management products available at www.mckenziemgmt.com. Contact her directly at 877-777-6151 or at [email protected].

DrBicuspid.com wishes to congratulate Ms. McKenzie on her being named Best Practice Management Consultant in our 2015 Dental Excellence Awards.

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of DrBicuspid.com, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

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