Build an Effective Team: How to Develop Your Employees

When it comes to employee management, many dentists view it as a process that starts with interviewing applicants, and ends once the hire has been made and the employee has been given his or her job description. Unfortunately, that approach leads to teams that may be functional—but are far, far away from reaching their potential. Any dentist who wants to get the most out of his employees must understand the importance of training and development.

Choosing to neglect the development of your employees is essentially stating “I don’t have anything else to teach you—you’re perfect.” Be honest for a moment—how many of you have employees who have nothing else to learn? I don’t care if you’ve had an assistant for thirty years—there is still something he or she can learn to do better. The key to creating an efficient and productive team is to understand that the development process never stops. If you aren’t sure how to put a system of employee development in place, feel free to contact me for help! In the meantime, here are three steps to help you begin:

1) Perform a thorough evaluation of each employee—and set goals together. Take the time to think hard about the strengths and weaknesses of each employee. Don’t try to rush this process—take the time you need to get it right. Then, sit down with the team member and share your feedback. Of course, it’s important that you present this feedback in a positive light. Discuss these strengths and weaknesses, and work with the employee to set goals for future improvement. Set a date for a follow-up (perhaps six months down the road), and revisit these goals to see how much progress has been made.

2) Ensure that responsibilities and procedures are clearly defined—and provide regular feedback. A major frustration for many employees is a lack of clearly defined expectations. If you expect your team to continue to improve, it’s important that they understand what it is that needs improvement! Take the time to regularly provide feedback—this doesn’t have to be a sit-down meeting. Simply letting them know that they are on the right track (or not) is important.

3) Invest into the lives of your team members, even if it doesn’t directly benefit your practice in the short term. As you are setting goals and providing feedback, look for areas that need improvement that aren’t directly related to job performance. This could mean improved communication skills, better organizational skills, or anything else. By showing your employees that you do care about them as people, you inspire loyalty and maximum effort.

You’re investing a substantial sum of money into your team. So why would you settle for anything less than the maximum possible return? Your employees aren’t going to become more efficient and more productive on their own—it’s up to you to provide the guidance they need to grow into an effective team. Contact me if you’d like help getting started!

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