A professional staff development program goes beyond the simple strategies associated with hiring the right people to do the right job. It involves an ongoing effort that ensures the people you hire continue working in a happy and productive manner. This applies to nearly every employer, including those in dental practice management. If you’re looking to implement your own professional dental staff development program, consider these four necessary components:
Organization is critical when devising a staff development program. Even before you start the hiring process, you should know what you want from your employees. If you haven’t already, create an organizational chart of your current staff, their direct reports, and their duties. Then, determine where you may have gaps in the near or distant future.
Similarly, short- and long-term goals for your practice should be mapped out, attainable, and clear. Planning on your practice’s growth early and determining how hiring will need to evolve over time will help you avoid scrambling to bring new people aboard when you’re in a pinch. Once you have a plan outlining the direction of your practice and your hiring efforts, you’ll find it easier to keep employees on track to help your firm achieve its goals.
One of the best ways to keep your practice running smoothly is to train everyone in your office in as many aspects of the work as possible. Through your program, ensure everyone in your office, from assistants who answer the phones to dental hygienists, are well versed in the complexities of one another’s work and able to address as many patients’ questions as possible. This will not only enable your employees to bond, but also create a professional work atmosphere that will impress those inside and out. And, don’t forget to formally document these processes to more easily train new hires.
Your program should build a team of people that trust and rely on each other. This requires cultivating an engaging office environment and camaraderie among your employees. Team building exercises and excursions are effective ways to build camaraderie – after all, coworkers with comfortable relationships work better together, thus contributing to the overall success of the organization. Also, when hiring, consider how each candidate will mesh with the rest of your staff (i.e. hiring for culture fit). And, once the right candidate is hired, make an extra effort to help them feel welcome as they become a part of the group.
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Lastly, as you train your team, don’t forget to show staff your appreciation. This goes a long way in building an office environment where everyone works hard toward a common goal. However, don’t simply offer your employees half-hearted gifts on Administrative Professionals Day – it’s important they know you value them all the time. Some easy ways to show appreciation year-round involve sending a company-wide email acknowledging good work, regularly asking for feedback, openly discussing challenges, and demonstrating willingness to compromise. Everyone wants to feel important at their job, and showing appreciation is a crucial part of hardworking and happy staff.
No matter your hiring plans, building a strong staff development program will serve as a foundation to recruit and retain top talent. With a dental practice management team of well-rounded, properly trained, trusting and happy employees, you’ll position your business for sustained growth.