5 tips for productive dental staff meetings
Holding productive team meetings is one of the best ways to make sure tasks get done. For some larger practices, that means meeting regularly with your leadership team. Smaller practices might include every team member. Meetings have to be something that your staff finds valuable in the week-to-week or day-to-day management of the practice. Otherwise, meetings are simply a management exercise that people attend only because the employer has called them and staff have to show up or they might lose their job.
1. Schedule: Post the date of the next team meeting as well as an agenda sheet. Encourage the team to add to the agenda. Implement a standard time to meet and make sure everyone knows the schedule well in advance. The dentist and Practice Manager should always attend, unless their schedules do not permit. How much time should you reserve? Ideally, one and a half to a two-hour block of time but if you can’t spare that much time to start, reserve one hour.
Provide different protocols other than the staff meeting to assist with management functions. For example, if a staff member wants to take a vacation, you should have a specific method by which employees request vacation time as part of a written general policy manual. If you don’t have such a protocol you might find employees complaining at the meeting that they haven’t been able to find a good time to take vacation, which steers the meeting off course. The staff meeting is not the time or place for this.
2. Training: Take the time to step back and analyse the practice to determine what areas need improvement and more training. Training should include actual role playing to help build a better practice. When appropriate, we highly recommend recording role playing so you can review it and observe for yourself what needs to be improved.
3. Successes: Drive home that you and the staff are a team that provides a valuable service to the community. A key part of a successful staff meeting is the sharing of patient testimonials.
4. No-gripe zone: Staff meetings are not to be used as gripe sessions. Staff members should never be reprimanded for communicating. However, do not tolerate gossip, rumours, or causing a disturbance in the work area.
5. Assigned Leader – Rotate who leads the monthly meetings so it isn’t always the same person. There is no reason for the meetings to only be conducted by the Principal Dentist or the Practice Manager. Give everyone on the team the opportunity to take the lead on this.