The ADA, WHO and State Health Departments have given dentists the green light to go back to work after this unexpected hiatus.
We have spent endless hours participating in webinars, nailing down what and where to get our newly required PPE, and are ready to move forward. Where is our support? Have we walked this path side-by-side with our most important asset: our team?
Many dentists are now coming to the realization that:
- Our team members may not be as comfortable coming back to their work environments.
- Some team members have been receiving stimulus and unemployment checks that offset their costs of living, and they may be feeling a feigned sense of comfortability due to the extra assistance.
- Some team members have chosen a different path during this crisis and will not be returning to our profession
- Most team members have been following social media that is more editorialized and sensationalized than factual.
- If you have received a loan, you will soon need the census to have a portion/all of it forgiven.
Where does that leave you now that you are ready to get back to caring for your patients?
Back to Basics: Hiring, Training and Leading your Team.
Nailing down clean hiring practices has never been more imperative. In this time of uncertainty, both applicants and employers need to feel a sense of certainty and security before making recruiting decisions.
- Recruit for team members that are ideal candidates for your vision and philosophy of care
- Compensate them for their true worth
- Be competitive with benefits
- Think outside the box; go outside the industry
- Identify the skill sets that are important to you
- Find those skill sets in other areas
- Precision, accuracy and fluency with money: bankers
- Communication, empathy and listening: counselors, clergy
- Clinical and sterilization: engineering focus or background
- This is a great time to introduce dentistry to high school graduates who may be seeking alternatives to full time college path
- Be sure that your hiring process is impeccable
Often, we are so busy in our profession that we hire, share the particulars of the position, and then hope the new hire can make it on their own by watching someone else or being intuitive enough to be successful. Those days are over!
This new wave of recruiting and training will need to be more stern and rigid. Even the team members that are returning will need strict guidance on expectations and the correct way to deliver care.
- The best gift you can give your team and your patients is to provide explicit training and instructions. Do NOT assume they know what you have learned in the last 2 months.
- As much of an annoyance as it may seemingly cause your team: Role play every new portion of your patient care and handling; over and over again. We have to remember that as intimidating as it may be for our team, some of our patients will be returning with trepidations. It is our job to make them feel safe and comfortable
- Make the instructions repeatable. All of your new procedures must be written and repeatable for reference, training and for new hire success.
- Team meeting time has never been more important. This time is valuable for you and your team. They have questions, concerns and inhibitions. They will either gain information from you or from sources that won’t be correct or accurate. Let them have time to discuss it amongst the team
- Morning “huddles” are imperative. Every day we have the opportunity to “take the temperature” of our team and the patients that we will be caring for. This measure can be like getting into a boat without oars or life jackets and heading out into stormy weather.
- Stress levels will be high when we come back. Do everything that you can to eliminate the unnecessary stress in our lives!
- Make everyone feel their purpose. Each team member needs to be an expert and valued. Perhaps weekly, a specific team member will lead the team with education, motivation, or team building. It may sound unwise after not seeing patients for 2 months to advise you to take more time out of production, but during this time, we have to fortify our foundation.
- Soon enough you and your team will find your cadence; your new normal. Until then keep the buoy nearby because you will need it frequently.
- Above all, enjoy the journey. We are living an incredible page in history. Each of us is involved in writing it.
This episode in health care, economics and business strategy was not a semester course in dental school, and its synopsis can be intimidating. The way that you lead is yours to choose.
- Some will wonder and decide if it is the appropriate time to retire/sell
- Some will take on the challenge like Siegfried and Roy
- Most will need assistance from someone with the expertise in this area
Whichever category you find yourself in, your team and patients will still look to you for guidance and leadership. They trust you, and they are right to do so. Even if you don’t know the answers, you know where to find them.
- Let your team be involved in training, conversations, decisions and implementation. When they feel that they are part of the solution, they own it and become part of the implementation.
- Your patients trust your team. Make sure that what the team is repeating to the patients is true, authentic and reassuring
- Educate your team. You want them to feel safe in their new environment. When they feel secure, the information that they share with your patients and the community will be reassuring and safety-driven
- Give your team and patients a true sense of hope. What you say, how you say it and the non-verbal cues that you share will lead you on your path to success!
We all have a choice to make. I cannot do RCT on #30, but I can assist you and your team with the best grand re-opening in your community! Reach out to me for assistance in returning to the ‘new normal’ in the safest and most profitable way possible.
Our attitude will govern the outcome of our effort. What we choose, we become.