Dentistry is facing a staffing crisis, as are many industries. Whenever there is staffing crisis there will be turnover and many practices will have new people joining the team. While it is wonderful when a practice can identify and hire the right people there’s always a risk of developing an old guard versus new guard mentality and potential conflict.
When you hire even one new person, it can influence the overall practice culture and team camaraderie. If you are lucky everything will go well, but there is an equal or greater chance that the new guard will not mesh seamlessly with the old guard and conflict, tension, or even arguments could begin.
Although not all situations become extremely disruptive, any interference in operating a smooth-running practice should be prevented to reduce stress and create a positive environment for the team and your patients.
The following recommendations will help avoid conflict when on-boarding new team members.
- Assign an existing team member to be a mentor to each new team member. A mentor is the person that the new team member can go to any time with any question about anything. This type of mentor will be highly effective in giving the new team member comfort and confidence and will function as their liaison to the rest of the team as they become part of the practice. If a new hire has an old guard team member as a mentor they are more likely to quickly acclimate to your practice.
- Take time to explain to the new team members the mission, core values and culture of the practice. All too often practices are desperate to place a new employee into a vacant position and get them going as quickly as possible, skipping over the critical step of performing a thorough orientation. This is a mistake because the new team members will not automatically sense or adopt the practice culture. And plan to explain it more than once! You must talk about it daily. Repetition creates success in this instance.
- The doctor should meet with each new hire once a month for the first 6 months just to have a conversation about how things are going. This is not a performance review or improvement conference. It is a conversation to see how the new hire is feeling, how things are going, answer any questions they may have and determine if any steps are needed to make it easier for them to do a great job.
While there are many other opportunities to help new team members quickly become “one of the team,” the most effective strategies are those that involve one or more of the existing team taking responsibility to help accomplish this important task.
The staffing challenges facing today’s dental practices make it even more important that practices take the proper steps to integrate new team members rapidly and successfully.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Roger P. Levin, DDS is the CEO and founder of Levin Group, a leading practice management consulting firm that has worked with over 30,000 clients to increase production. A recognized expert on dental practice management and marketing, he has written more than 60 books and over 4,000 articles and regularly presents seminars in the U.S. and around the world.
To contact Dr. Levin or to join the 40,000 dental professionals who receive his Practice Production Tip of the Day, visit www.levingroup.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.