13 Steps to a Healthier Work EnvironmentJuly 8, 2015 | Category Team Harmony
BY CATHY JAMESON, PhD
Most dental professionals work 40 hours per week—some more, some less. But, even if you are seeing patients 34-36 hours per week, when
you add in administrative, travel, and continuing education time, it is not reasonable to consider the average 40 hour work week applicable to dentistry.
The average dual income of a family in America according to the US
2013 Census ACS National Household Income survey is $51,371. The average individual income is $27,312. So, compare your salary to those figures! However, no matter how good the hours may be and how much money you make, if the work environment is not healthy—you will not be happy and will lose enthusiasm, becoming less productive.
The key to a productive practice where outstanding people come, stay and perform productively is to create and maintain what I call a “healthy work environment©.” In a survey on stress control that I conducted with 3,000 dental professionals (of every position in the practice), the leading cause of strain for these individuals was problems among team members. The second leading cause of stress was difficulties with the business and financial management of the practice.
At Jameson Management, Inc., we have consulted in over 2,500 practices and found that the most productive, profitable, and least stressed are those who have their systems in order and are constantly working at improving them. The other major reason that leads to production is when that the practice environment and the relationships of the team members, including the doctor, are healthy, enjoyable, and productive.
Here are 13 factors that I have found most beneficial to a healthy work environment:
(1) Clarity of purpose, mission, vision and goals: The team cannot support the development and growth of the practice if they are not clear about the ultimate purpose being served. That is the foundation of excellent leadership.
(2) Statements and expression of appreciation: This is the number one thing desired by people in the work place today. While money is important, it is rated the fifth most important attribute desired by people in the workplace. Appreciation is number one. Remember to say “thank you.”
(3) Involvement. Include your team in establishing and working toward goals. Include them on decision making. When you include your team in decision making processes, they will be more likely to buy into the decisions being made.
(4) Trust: Team members want to be trusted and they want to trust their doctor(s) to make decisions that are based on integrity, ethics, and honesty.
(5) Respect: People in the workplace want to be respected and honored for their talent, abilities, and their rights as an individual. When you expect people to be great — and give them an opportunity to be great — they become just that.
(6) Team members want to feel proud of what they do, how they do it and the results they gain for patients. Build a practice built on excellence and integrity and your team will exemplify pride in that service. Do not ask people to be great if you are not willing to do whatever it takes to be the same.
(7) Openness about problems and involving the team in solutions: Every business and every person will have problems in their life. Face those problems and involve the team in the solutions. Trust them to “step up to the plate.”
(8) Sharing the rewards of work well done: As the owner of your business, be ever aware of your cost of operation and your margin of profit, always interested in increasing it. Be aware of what we call the “critical factors of the business of dentistry©.” Set goals related to each of these factors and monitor them on a regular basis. You have to monitor before you can measure. You have to know where you are before you can determine where you need to go. Be generous — based on continuously improving profit margins. Take the lid off the salaries for your team members. Then, stand back and watch energy exude and productivity increase.
(9) Clear definitions of job descriptions, systems, and expectations. Accountability is based on clarity of expectations.
(10) Celebrating an accomplishment and giving credit where credit is due. Dr. Ken Blanchard of “One Minute Manager” fame says “we find it so easy to catch each other doing something wrong. Let’s spend time catching each other doing something right.” Step outside of yourself and “see” the things that people are doing to make your practice successful: large and small acts of effort put forth. Then, acknowledge these from a place of sincerity.
(11) Clear, constructive communication. Establish lines of communication both as a team and as individuals. Dr. John Jameson says, “Schedule time to communicate with your team. The time you schedule for this communication will move people forward and will prove to be productive.” In addition, mistakes will be reduced, as well as disappointments.
(12) Being willing to say, “I’m sorry” when a mistake is made and doing whatever it takes to rectify that mistake, whether with a patient or with a team member. You set a tone for honesty, integrity, and outstanding leadership when you take measures to make things right—when something goes wrong. A leader has the strength and courage to take responsibility for anything that happens in his/her organization. In the end, ethics and integrity are the ultimate measure of success.
(13) Be generous with your gratitude. Say “thank you”—sincerely and often.
Schedule a free consultation with Jameson to learn more about how to create a healthier, more profitable workplace. Your Henry Schein representative can also provide a free Team Harmony/Behavioral Styles workshop to improve internal and external communication.