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Dental Consultants Best Staff Meeting Tips

Dental Consultants Best Staff Meeting Tips

An organized agenda and a leader to keep the meeting on track will lead to successful staff meetings.

A poor way to run your dental office is to hold infrequent staff meetings or have them only when there’s a problem. Staff meetings should be useful and routine, not organized for emergencies because you’re upset, there have been problems, or somebody made a mistake.

Do not call a meeting when one individual needs to be corrected, then talk about the person in the meeting as if it’s “everybody.” This does two things poorly—it chastises the person who hasn’t performed his or her job correctly in front of the whole group, and it tells the entire group you’re disgruntled, rather than the person you should talk to individually. This means the meeting is highly unproductive and appreciated by no one.

Meetings can also be inappropriately used as gripe sessions. Staff meetings not controlled properly by the dentist or office manager can turn into bad experiences for everyone. If your staff criticizes everything that’s wrong with the office without discussing effective ways to change, the meeting is a waste of everyone’s time.

Because they don’t know how to run an effective staff meeting, many offices don’t have staff meetings at all. But when they do have meetings, they’re simply administrative events where nobody gains anything.

Meetings should be valuable. Otherwise, people attend them only because they’re required to or they may lose their jobs. What type of environment is that, and what type of contributions would people make if this is how meetings were conducted in your office?

Conducting a successful meeting

Here’s how meetings should be conducted.

The first thing you should have is a logical plan and a very good idea of what you want to accomplish. This is the agenda. Meetings should be held at least once a month, but many offices hold them every two weeks, with most large offices holding them weekly. 

Have a standard time when you meet, and make sure everyone knows about the meetings well in advance. The dentist and office manager should always attend unless their schedules do not permit. These meetings should be approximately one hour long and are a good way to keep employees updated about future plans, policy additions, or changes; to review production numbers; and to conduct group training as needed. 

Staff meetings should not be gripe sessions. Staff members should never be reprimanded for communicating, but the spreading of gossip, rumors, or causing a disturbance in the work area should never be tolerated. Encourage staff to share their ideas for improving the quality or speed of your services. In addition, welcome suggestions to correct situations that may be hindering efficiency. Dentistry is a very positive science. That positive attitude needs to be mirrored in all staff actions, whether with patients or coworkers.

Meetings without agendas are usually unproductive. It doesn’t matter if the meeting takes place at a big corporation, a church, a social gathering, or anyplace else. Meetings need to cover specific points and then move on, otherwise they drag on and may involve things that aren’t valuable to the entire group. There’s no point in letting someone cover an issue that could be handled in a private meeting or in writing.

Providing a meaningful agenda

Efficient dental practices have general policy manuals that spell out the “rules of the game.” For example, if a staff member wants to take vacation, a good policy manual should explain the way to request vacation. If your practice does not have a manual or your staff has not read it, someone might complain at the staff meeting that they haven’t been able to find a good time to take vacation. The meeting is not the time or place for this discussion. The meeting is also not the time for someone to go on and on about inadequate equipment or supplies. In other words, staff meetings are not the place to discuss things that should be handled in writing or during one-on-one conversations and meetings. 

In staff meetings, it’s important to cover the actual performance of the group. To use an analogy, halftime at a football game is a time when the spectators get refreshments and chat with friends. But that’s not what the team does. Halftime for the team means they gather with the coach and go over what plays are and are not working, how to improve their score, and other factors. They may discuss how many yards were gained by running and passing. This gives the coaches an idea as to whether or not they can win the game with their current plan. 

Going over the key statistics of the practice should also be part of a staff meeting. Is the practice doing well, poorly, or average? No matter which one applies, you should have a plan, or at the very least instructions for your staff to continue doing what has been successful. Why would you stop doing something that patients liked, that improved performance and production? However, if something is working but you see room for improvement, then by all means do it! But remember, there’s a fine line between change and improvement. 

Another point to discuss in staff meetings is that you and the staff are a team with a very valuable service that is needed and wanted by the community. Staff meetings are a good time to hone your team skills. As the leader, you should be involved in the meeting, and if needed, in the training. By training I mean actual role-playing and handling people better, and by doing this you’ll be building a better practice. When appropriate, record your role playing so it can be reviewed. It’s amazing to see yourself, and a lot of improvement can result from exuding more confidence when meeting patients. 

You may notice that because the staff are not used to role playing, they don’t like it. But the truth is they’re not accustomed to training that’s tougher than sitting back and watching a DVD. This will be a brand-new way of training for them. Don’t confuse them not liking it with something they simply need to get used to. Once they institute the new ideas into the practice, you should find out what results they achieved.

Another part of a good staff meeting is sharing success stories. When patients tell employees that their visits to your office were special or they felt the service was great, those comments need to be shared with the group. Compliments are one of the highest forms of motivation for a group. The fact that you’re performing a good service and that your training is showing results as evidenced by patient responses is extremely important.

If you follow this agenda and diligently work at it, you’ll find that meetings will be productive and will actually increase efficiency and morale.

Sample staff meeting agenda

Part 1

1. Call to order 2. Roll call 3. Minutes from last meeting. Someone needs to take the minutes at staff meetings so that they can be referred to later. 4. Open issues: New policy on vacation days (owner or OM). Discussion of whether or not to change labs (owner or employee who will lead discussion).

Part 2

Review production numbers and goals for past week (owner or OM). Share staff/patient success stories (owner or OM).

Part 3

New policy, project, or protocol: Internal marketing (owner or OM). Training: Staff training for the new-patient referral program (owner or OM). 

 


Kevin Tighe, Cambridge Dental Consultants, Senior Consultant, got bitten hard by the business and marketing bug during long summer days working at his dad's Madison Avenue ad agency. After joining Cambridge as a seminarist in the mid-1990s, Kevin went on to become Cambridge’s senior consultant and eventually CEO. Cambridge Dental Consultants is a full-service dental practice management company offering customized dental office manuals. Frustrated? High overhead? Schedule a chat with Kevin at .

 

 

Dental Consultant DA Job Description
Dental Consultant NP Phone Script

 

What Does A Dental Consultant Do? Charge?

Many dentists will tell you dental consulting works. If dental practice management firms had no worth or benefit they could not stand up to harsh economic realities for long. What a veteran dental consultant brings to the table are systems and protocols successfully implemented in other practices that have been improved and tweaked over many years. Top dental consultants talk and network with each other. They pay attention to what works and what doesn't work across all dental practices.

Marketing & New Patients

Practice management consultants generally have little marketing training or background. 

Note: Cambridge'a consultants are Certified SEO and Ad Words Specialists

Dental Office Systems

Key systems dental consultants implement:

  1. New Patient Phone Call
  2. Insurance Processing
  3. New Patient Experience and Patient Education
  4. Financial Arrangements
  5. Scheduling
  6. Confirmation
  7. Unscheduled Treatment Followup
  8. Reactivation
  9. Huddle
  10. Stat Monitoring
  11. Daily and Weekly Checklists
  12. General Policy Manual

Your Staff

You will not get much ROI from your dental consulting if your staff do not have your back. You do not beed a team of cheer leaders jumping up and down with enthusiasm, but you do need staff who are smart and take some pride and ownership in what they do. If there is more than the usual drama in your practice that needs to be sorted out before you will get any real results.

Staff Accountability 

What gets monitored gets done.

The "big" obvious numbers are important to monitor, but when you look at them they are typically already "in the books". You want your team to concentrate and be accountable daily on the "small" stats that bring about the "big" stats. How many practice owners know how many calls were made to unscheduled patients each day or overdue re-care or inactive patients? Many dentists vastly underestimate how much daily "outflow" is needed to keep a schedule full. How may dentists know what % of slots were open in their hygiene schedule each day? How many know how many NP calls there were yesterday, who scheduled and if they end up showing up? More importantly how many staff know considering it's their job to do?

The only way to monitor what gets done is with daily stats especially for your weak areas. For example, one employee should be specifically responsible for calls to patients who are unscheduled, overdue re-care or need reactivation. Other staff can and should help in coordination with the accountable employee, but that employee accountable reports daily on a spreadsheet like this: 1. # of calls or personal texts sent 2. # of contact
3. # of appointments with name and date 4. # of arrivals

It is the employee who is either making themselves valuable to you or not. If they are doing so, dismissing them will never enter your mind. On the other hand, if they are not making themselves valuable, you will be doing them and yourself a favor by giving them the opportunity to find a practice or other employment that is a better fit for them.  

Leadership

What most practice owners are missing is not how to book an appointment but how to be effective leaders. The best systems in the world are useless if the staff do not comply. Good leaders know how to get staff to willingly follow through and comply. Agreement among all team members is key. Your written office policies should contain those agreements and should answer most questions staff come up with. Doing so will save you much time and simplify the management of your practice. Staff non compliance is a sure sign of poor leadership. The primary reason practices underperform is staff non compliance.  Key traits of leaders. All it takes is discipline: 

  1. Always keep a cool head especially when "under fire"
  2. Realize that all mistakes are an opportunity for you and your staff to learn.
  3. Set a good example.
  4. Always be learning.
  5. Take care of yourself.
  6. Fight the impulse to address multiple issue at the same time. Frantic activity creates spotty results.

Cost

$35.000.00 is the average fee for a one year program with dental practice management companies you are likely familiar with. For those companies that require you and your staff to travel to their facility or seminar you also need to add in the cost of travel, staff pay and lost production from time away from your practice. 

Questions You Should Ask

  1. Do you and/or your staff have to travel or does the consultant come to you?
  2. Is the program mostly one on one consulting versus seminars or courses with multiple clients in attendance? There are advantages to both.
  3. If the dental consulting is one on one who will actually deliver the consulting? I recommend knowing who your specific dental consultant will be prior to signing on the dotted line.
  4. Is program based on a specific dental practice management system? You want to avoid cookie-cutter programs. Ensure the program will be tailor-made to fit your practice's specific needs.
  5. The cost (including travel expenses and downtime) is certainly not the only factor, everything else being equal, it is still a major factor to consider. It's unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little.

If you do a little homework it should be fairly easy to pick a reputable consultant that is a good fit for you and your practice.