Congratulations! You’ve selected your new hire and today is day one of what you hope will be a long, mutually rewarding relationship. What’s your onboarding plan?
First impressions are powerful and lasting. The prospects for achieving success with a new hire will depend to a great extent on what you have planned for this new hire’s first day at the office. Putting your best foot forward matters, considering these statistics:
- Healthcare is tied with banking and finance in having the second highest turnover rate of 15% in 2016, behind hospitality (20%), according to Compensation Force, a workforce blog produced by Altura Consulting Group in Wayzata, Minnesota
- 40% of employees who have quit a job voluntarily did so within six months of starting the position, according to ClearCompany, the inventor of a software/service talent management system. The cost of replacing an entry-level employee is 30-50% of their annual salary, according to ClearCompany.
Do the math, it’s eye-opening.
What is your onboarding plan?
This the question is often met by a surprised, deer-in-the-headlights look.
“What do you mean, onboarding strategy? We hired an experienced dental assistant, she knows what to do, right?”
The reality is this dental assistant does know what to do in her previous practice. She doesn’t have any experience in how to best support your philosophy of care and protocols. She doesn’t know your perspective on the practice culture or the nuances of everyday life in your practice. Without this knowledge, there is a steep, stressful learning curve ahead of all of you.
“Hmm, I guess I don’t have an onboarding strategy.” This doctor does have a strategy; unfortunately, it’s not a good one. There’s a long-standing tradition in dentistry of introducing new hires through a process known as the “sink or swim.” For the uninitiated, this consists of basically throwing the new hire into the deep end of the pool and hoping they learn how to save themselves. Some will thrive, some will struggle; others will simply choose to get out of the pool and go home. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Want to learn what new employees really want and a better way to onboard? Click here to read my most recent article published in the Winter 2018 edition of Dental Practice Success.
Last week we left on the question, “Do you think your best work days are behind you or ahead of you?” Let’s follow that up with this question from my YBY [Your Best You] Appraisal System. On a scale of 1-5 with 1 being you’re not effective at all & 5 being you totally rock, exceeding expectations on all levels, how would you score yourself at work?
I like this method of scoring because it encourages continual growth and challenge, as opposed to the traditional 1-5 where 1 is an F for failing grade and 5 is an A for excellent work. The traditional approach measures each person’s performance while the YBY method scores each person against potential. Your potential gap will always be bigger than your performance gap. YBY scoring sets people up to see #5 as a moving target. The traditional scoring puts people on a fixed path that can lead to mediocrity and boredom. Studies repeatedly show that employees want to know they are making forward progress. It then stands to reason that we must provide challenges that create this opportunity if we are to support the development of our team members as they become the best versions of themselves.
Dentistry is changing at the speed of light offering many new treatment options for patients. For your practice to continue to perform at a pace that gives you the freedom to practice the way you choose, it’s critical that your team is with you, committed to a path of excellence and continual improvement.
My first goal is to help the team see their role and level of contribution must go beyond job performance of their essential duties. The leaders’ role is to establish an environment that supports continued growth as well as a mentoring system to support team members through a four-part system for continual growth and development including:
This assessment protocol is a game changer. When you move the needle so that consistent above average performance earns you a 3 out of 5, you can expect an immediate reaction from your employees. Set your team members up for success by preparing them for this new strategy that raises the bar on the old status quo. Challenge your team to step up and embrace the concept that “good enough, just isn’t” in your practice. To take a team from Good to Great, you must have team buy-in. That comes when your team is prepared to see challenge as opportunity.
Here’s a good place to start
Make a list of your current team members and write down the number from 1-5 that you think represents their performance level. Your criteria are as follows: 1 =Marginal Performance 2 = Usual, Average Performance 3 = Above Average Performance 4 = One Step Ahead Performance 5 = On the cutting edge, consistently challenging self Not sure how to choose a score? Look at each name: Does this person continually take action and strive to do better? [score 4] Are they generally coasting based on their good past performance? [score 3] Are they stuck at status quo, going through the motions? [score 2]
What can you do to create the right environment to inspire your team members to see themselves on a journey to excellence? How can you guide them to set their ego aside and own a score of 3, while enthusiastically committed to improving that sore to a solid 4?
This approach isn’t for everyone – you may be perfectly content with team members who score 2 or 3 in the grid above. If that’s the case, carry on, you’re in a good place right now. On the other hand, if you just know in your gut that you want more and you’re capable of more, listen to that voice and don’t settle for less. Be the boss that your team will remember as the one who challenged me to be the very best version of myself.
Take the YBY Challenge by downloading your copy here. I believe you’ll find it’s a game changer.
Gratitude shows up in many ways. About ten years ago I was invited to speak to a group of referring dentists celebrating the retirement of an orthodontist who had practiced for over 50 years.
I asked this doctor, “How many families would you guess you have you supported during your career?” He answered that he wasn’t sure how many patient families he had treated.
“Not patients” I responded, “I am wondering how many team members you have helped support their families.”
I was surprised when his eyes got teary and he told me he had never even considered that question. He then thanked me for the gift of the question that made his heart so happy. This was a moment I’ll never forget.
It’s often said, that in business your people are your best competitive advantage. Some even describe employees as your human capital. While true, I think the value your team brings to you, your patients and your practice far exceeds those descriptions. Dentistry is a team sport, you can’t do it all by yourself. Your team members are essential to your success and they should be the beautiful representation of the face, the voice and the essence of your practice. Don’t settle for any less.
...his eyes got teary and he told me he had never even considered that question. He then thanked me for the gift of the question that made his heart so happy.
In my experience, if you wish to provide world-class care and service to your patients, you must first:
- Provide world-class care to your employees; they are basically your first clients
- Treat them well – Care about them and their families
- Establish clear boundaries and guidelines via a policy & procedures manual, and protocols
- Support team member growth and development within their roles in the practice
By recognizing and rewarding the behaviors and deliverables that you want to be repeated, you will be proactively nurturing the seeds of success while creating a culture of gratitude.
Your team may change through the years; your systems, protocols, and boundaries should grow with the practice and support a win-win environment. It’s near impossible to be in a state of appreciation and annoyance at the same time. Lead with appreciation and gratitude.
Doctors often tell me they are grateful for the team, but they don’t know what to thank people for since they spend their days focused on patient care. I have a favorite activity to share with you that increases awareness and the opportunity to lead with gratitude.
Download a copy of The Gratitude Initiative. Give it a try and let me know what you think. #PIVOTstrategy
Does this sound familiar?
Your 11:00 patient has arrived on time. Unfortunately, your 9:00 patient is still in the chair, you’re running behind and you still have two hygiene patients to check.
Everyone from the patient in the chair to the team to the patient in the reception area are impacted. Stressful, for sure. You vow to tease this apart at your next team meeting and figure out what went wrong. You run to the team lounge and make a note on the agenda list, What’s wrong with the schedule that we’re running behind – figure it out!
Two days later as the team gathers for the weekly one-hour team meeting, you pull the agenda list from the lounge. As the meeting begins, you ask, “What’s wrong with the schedule that we’re running behind?” Your question is met with the deafening sounds of silence. “Anyone have any ideas here? What do you think the problem is?” You realize you’re looking at the tops of everyone’s heads. They do not want to make eye contact and be put on the spot to weigh in and risk getting thrown under the bus. How can you create solutions when the team won’t weigh in and help you create solutions?
PIVOT Point: Strategy
My Dad always said, “If you don’t like the answers you’re getting, ask better questions.” Time to hit the reset button and change your strategy. I recommend two new strategies to create a breakthrough for you and your team. [Page 24 in PIVOT]
#1 Set your team up for success [The CAUSE strategy]
C Create an agenda that supports your team to grow beyond their circumstances
A Avoid the blame game. Search for innovative solutions rather than excuses
U Understand the real issue at hand. Are you dealing with facts or opinions?
S Set your team up for success by starting the meeting on a positive note with great energy
E Engage with your team to do the pre-work for the meeting so everyone comes to the meeting ready to contribute solutions. Have their backs.
#2 The FIRST 20% Solution
The most common approach to problem-solving is to focus on the result and work right there where the problem became apparent, the train derailed and the system failed. The trouble with that approach is that the problem actually occurred long before the train derailed. It’s in re-evaluating the actions in the first 20% of the process, before the train ever left the tracks, that you’ll find the opportunities for positive changes that will create a better result.
Funny coincidence, Bradley Cooper learns the value of the First 20% solution in the movie Burnt. I’d love to hear from you if you, too recognize the First 20% lesson in the movie. I’ll leave you with this, “The difference between school and life: School teaches you lessons and then gives you a test. Life gives you a test and you learn the lessons.”
First Step… Celebrate Your Successes!
There are five fundamentals of PIVOT Leadership. This post will focus on Strategy. Click this link to the article, Go Right Ahead, Play Favorites that addresses where your leadership focus should be to celebrate the high performers on your team. Today we’ll talk about the how to celebrate and come alive in your practice. Here we go….
“Seems like as soon as we reach one goal, we move onto the next goal. I think our practice could do a better job of giving us that high-five feeling when we’ve earned it.” Brave words from a team member during a recent meeting.
- Could one of your team members be feeling the same way?
- As the practice leaders, could you do a better job of celebrating success and encouraging your team to celebrate each other?
Who doesn’t love a celebration? I especially like when I see team members recognizing one another for great work by sharing their ‘wins’ from the day before. This is one of my favorite parts of my client on-sites and Skype meetings.
“Tell me something good” is a key fundamental strategy for success as well as an uplifting way to start each day and celebrate each quarter with your team. Below I’ll take you through the 5 Steps to Celebrating Your Success Team Meeting.
5 Steps to Celebrating Your Success Team Meeting
Step #1 Schedule a special team meeting
The first quarter [Q1] of the year begins with holiday celebration, fanfare, party hats and noisemakers. This is a time when many teams focus on strategic planning and thoughtful intention for the new year. It’s high time we give some attention to the start of the second quarter [Q2], too. Let’s start with recognizing and celebrating your Q1 wins.
Step #2 Create a fun atmosphere in your meeting room
Celebration meetings should not look the same as every other team meeting and usually involve festive foods. You could bring in lunch or snacks, decorate with balloons or noisemakers. Some teams choose snacks like fruit, yogurt, or crudité while others go for nuts, candy, and chocolate. You could also decorate with small potted plants that the team members can take home. This is also a good time to plan a fun activity for the team during the meeting.
Step #3 Brainstorming Time
Let the team know it’s important to you that the team recognizes and celebrates success and you realize that some ‘wins’ are obvious to the entire team, yet many times a team member has a personal win the rest of the team would love to know about. Then, break into smaller groups, give each group a copy of the Celebrating Your Success worksheet attached and have them begin their brainstorming session. Each team’s challenge is to create a list of the accomplishments [big & small] that you as individuals and as a team have accomplished in Q1 and identify how you achieved your results.
Step #4 Synergize
After about ten minutes, bring the small groups back together so you can share your lists. Have a large sheet of easel or butcher paper and sharpies available. Draw straws to see which team will create the main list on the large paper and then have the other teams call out their ‘wins’ and together create one long list. *Tip: Brainstorming is most successful when it begins in small groups and you’ll build momentum as you come back together. * Chances are the group will think of more accomplishments as you synergize to create this one big list. more accomplishments.
a. Talk about how you made these achievements happen
b. Encourage team members to share details of the most meaningful patient connections they had in the previous month.
c. Clapping and cowbell celebrations should be encouraged too!
d. When discussing the team behaviors and actions that went into these special moments and practice wins be sure to notice any recurring themes. This exercise sets the stage for establishing Q2 strategies goals and we’ll talk about that in next week’s email blog.
Step #5 The Take Aways
Our lives are enriched by the quality of our relationships. Look for opportunities to build the quality of your team relationships. Yes, this takes time, but less than you may think. Begin every day by sharing “what was great about yesterday” so you authentically create an atmosphere that supports and encourages the team to raise the bar on their connections with each other and with patients. Like a new pair of shoes, it may feel awkward in the beginning. Stick with it. One day you’ll notice you all have come to love this strategy for team success. Ask me how I know ☺
To get you started please download my Accomplishments by Quarter Worksheet.