AUTHOR: The Dental CFO
October 22, 2021
Running your own dental practice requires many practice management skills you don’t learn in dental school. In order to effectively run your practice, it’s important to develop these practice management skills or make certain you have a trusted team member to execute them. We know you want to concentrate on the clinical side of the business. That’s why the team at The Dental CFO provides the expertise and tools you need to keep your team motivated and your office running smoothly.
Running your own business isn’t easy, but it isn’t impossible either. Below, we’ll discuss best practices for practice management, with a special nod to employee management, to help you keep your dental team and customers happy — because both are vital to the success of your practice.
What Is Practice Management?
Practice management describes the business side of your dental practice, essentially, everything that isn’t dental care. This includes finance, operations, marketing, information technology, human relations, and compliance. With the right help, you can master four key components that can make or break your business, as follows:
- Billing: effective payroll and patient billing
- Scheduling: intuitive, easy-to-use patient scheduling and staff scheduling
- File keeping: storage and management of patient and dental employee files
- Reporting: comprehensive reporting of the practice’s finances, overhead, payroll, and other essential information
When looking for practice management assistance, we strongly recommend digital tools to support business operations, improve patient care and communication, and quickly inform on business financial performance.
As part of our practice management consulting services, The Dental CFO offers dashboard reporting that combines information from your practice management system into meaningful reports and graphics you’ll use to make better decisions.
Effective digital tools must provide both security and a high level of organization. Our PMS system can provide the tools you need to confidently manage your practice. We store patient data in a manner compliant with federal regulations and industry best practice management.
Are you ready to take the guesswork out of managing your practice? With a great practice management system, you gain hassle-free ways to engage with staff, patients, and prospective patients.
Why Team Management Is Important
Know Who You Are Working With
With the right talent, your practice will have increased productivity and better team morale. Finding the right team members begins with the recruitment process. Before you even post the position, it’s important to identify the required skill set needed, as well as personality and behavioral traits that align with the job and your company culture. Then, you can look for candidates who meet these criteria and identify any potential red flags before making an offer. Fortunately, you can hire experienced consultants to help you streamline your staffing process and find team members with the knowledge and personality to fit your needs.
Prevent Animosity Between Coworkers
It’s important for your team to learn to work together. Even after you hire employees with the right skillset and personality to match your practice culture, there will still be occasional disagreements. If left unresolved, these workplace conflicts can get out of control. It’s important to address them as quickly as possible to maintain the culture you’ve created, not lose good employees, and avoid patients sensing any negativity among your staff.
This is easier to accomplish when you establish a culture of open dialogue. When employees have an issue they can’t resolve on their own, they should feel free to come to you or your office manager right away for guidance without fear of any backlash.
Define Job Roles and Responsibilities
At The Dental CFO, our consultants often work with dental practice managers to develop best practices for team management. One of the most important things you can do is establish clear job roles and responsibilities. With this in place, you and your team will know who is responsible for what, and you can identify any gaps you need to fill. This clarity helps avoid conflict over duties and responsibilities. Plus, you’ll spend less time delegating and more time with patients. We can help you get there!
How Team Management Relates to Practice Management
As a dental practice manager, it’s important to understand how team management relates to practice management. Essentially, having the right team in place – the right positions and the right people in each position – is the recipe for increased operational efficiency, improved morale, exceptional customer service, and ultimately a greater ROI.
But it’s not something you can set and forget. It’s crucial to nurture and check in with your staff. They should feel supported and heard with a sense of duty and empowerment. When they don’t, productivity suffers and patients notice. This can have a negative impact on your brand reputation. If employee engagement isn’t your forte, it may be time to partner with industry experts who can help you find, train, develop, and support your team.
The experienced consultants at The Dental CFO come from a wide variety of backgrounds. We can match you to the right consultants for your unique practice needs.
Build a Team You Trust
Trust is an important consideration for any hire, but especially for team members with access to sensitive, private data. When it comes to your finances or patient records, you need to know that the person handling this information acts ethically and in the best interest of your business. Effective team management requires you to develop a sense of who you can trust and who you cannot.
Even if you have full confidence in your employees, it’s important to have proper oversight. This can prevent embezzlement and other problems that can destroy your practice.
Partner with consultants who can help you build, implement, and maintain practice management best practices that protect your practice and empower your team for success.
Practice and Team Management Best Practices
Equal treatment of team members
It’s crucial to treat all employees equally to avoid internal perceptions of favoritism and potential discrimination lawsuits. To support this effort, create a team policies manual that outlines your policies and procedures for employment, dismissal, reviews, training, professional development, and progressive discipline. The more you include, the more you are protected. It’s also a best practice to document, with dates and signatures, any employee action or discussion that takes place. This file should be made available to employees upon request.
Proper staffing to prevent under- or over-working employees
As a business owner, it’s obvious you don’t want to underwork your employees, as this means you’re paying for team members who aren’t always producing. And from the employee perspective, not having enough work to do can lead to boredom, mischief, concerns over losing their job, etc. However, it’s also in your best interest to avoid overworking your team. Overworked team members become burned out, don’t feel supported, are not their best selves, and likely don’t offer your patients the best experience. Both scenarios can negatively impact employee morale, productivity, retention, customer service, and your reputation.
Regular Reporting on Scheduling, Revenue, and Overhead
It’s important to help your staff understand that everything they do is tied to revenue. Effective scheduling, collection of payments, and keeping overhead costs down all affect the bottom line. The Dental CFO works with dental practice managers every day to facilitate effective communication policies that invite an open, honest dialogue with staff members.
Regular employee check-ins & professional development
It’s important to establish regular employee check-ins. You can do this by adopting a practice management system that facilitates productivity tracking and job performance. This makes it easier to develop performance improvement plans and to reward staff members who are doing their jobs exceedingly well.
For employee motivation and retention, it’s great to develop a career path with goals, training programs, and advancement opportunities for each team member. If your employees don’t see a path for professional growth and development, they’re likely to look elsewhere. Invest in your team to reduce turnover and improve your overall business performance.
Regular training for employees should include using communication tools available on your practice management system and online. Google Hangouts, Zoom, and other communication tools make it easy to connect employees in different offices, for example.
Also, regular training on new procedures enhances employee knowledge and patient care while creating a culture of continual improvement.
Hiring the right people isn’t enough. Effective team management involves keeping your staff members motivated. After all, once you find the best people, it’s important to keep the competition from stealing them away. When you conduct frequent, constructive performance reviews and have honest conversations with your staff members, you can improve performance without creating resentment.
Opportunities for employee feedback
Everyone wants to feel heard, and as a business owner, it’s important to offer ways for employees to share their feedback without fear of criticism or professional risk. Plus, it helps you become a better leader. It’s important to be open to constructive criticism. If you need help facilitating this, The Dental CFO is equipped to support.
How The Dental CFO Can Help With Practice Management
It’s important to emphasize team management in your strategy to improve your practice. No matter how closely you pay attention to your bottom line, it won’t matter much if you haven’t developed an effective team that has your back.
Team management is essential. It promotes a unified approach to running the office and helps deter personality conflicts from taking over the office. When your entire staff is focused on providing high-quality service and looking out for the best interest of the practice, you’ll notice beautiful things begin to happen. Namely, your revenue will increase, your staff members will be happier, and you will become a more effective and valued leader.
But you don’t have to get there on your own. The Dental CFO has been helping dental practices grow for 50 years. We provide the clarity and expertise needed to resolve issues and reduce frustrations.
Our services include consulting and advising on accounting, taxes, retirement, and legal issues associated with running a dental practice. We tailor our services to your unique needs.
Contact us today to get started!