I have written previously about the ”compartmental” mindset that can take hold in a dental team, where everyone is comfortable doing their own thing in their own little world, as opposed to interacting and working together toward a common, greater purpose.
In order to understand how to overcome this mindset, it is important to see how it can begin in the first place. To do that, it is probably worthwhile to look at your hiring and training practices.
When you have a position available, you often start by looking for someone who is “experienced” in that role, or has recently completed an assisting or administration program. The idea is that you save time in training by getting someone who is ready to step in with the right level of competence.
That all makes sense, as far as it goes. But I don’t think it goes far enough.
New Hires and Your Dental Team
When you are confident that a new hire for your dental team is experienced or trained in the position, it is often easy to take that experience as reassurance. You just bring the person in and leave it to them to figure out the details of how their idea of the job fits it in with the philosophy of your practice. So if you’re hiring someone who has been working in another practice, they are coming with a perception of practice goals and value, and a job description, that’s been determined by another dentist.
Even if you’re hiring someone for your dental team straight from school, they still come with a mindset - in this case, one that is based on the technical foundations they are taught, likely with a fairly limited focus on the patient-value-oriented reality of today’s contemporary practices. That’s a decent foundation, but it is up to you to show them that there is so much more.
Naturally, that includes providing them with the right continuing education opportunities so they can come to appreciate what it means to create value at a high level. Beyond that, there are things you can do to get them to understand, in an up-close way, how that translates into daily actions in your practice. For instance, you can give the new recruit a run-through of the new patient experience, with the new dental team member as the patient, so they can see firsthand how your practice creates patient value. Have them talk about what they learned from the experience, and how they see themselves, and what they do, contributing to the value your dental team creates.
There is no getting around it. If you want a dynamic dental team that is aligned and supportive, one that is built on your idea of what an ideal dental team should be, you have to establish a set of expectations that goes beyond what they learn in school or what they bring from other practices. In that sense, everyone on your dental team should be specially trained - trained in what it takes to be a member of YOUR practice.