The 4 Biggest Issues Plaguing Periodontal Staff (and How to Overcome Them!)

As a practice owner, it’s important to realize that your practice’s success doesn’t just hinge on your ability to treat patients. Even the most skilled Periodontists can find themselves struggling to bring in patients and improve referral relationships.

Much of your success depends on having an engaged, professional staff that can contribute to the patient experience, referral relations, and other aspects of your practice. But for staff to be successful in their roles, they must be able to overcome any barriers that get in between them, and a job well done.

Take a look at four of the biggest issues that prevent staff from living up to their potential and how you can help them overcome these obstacles:

#1 - Failed Leadership

This is a tough pill to swallow because it requires the practice owner to take responsibility for the staff’s failures. However, success starts at the top and isn’t possible without strong leadership. 

One of the biggest ways that leadership collapses is that Periodontists are afraid of being “the bad guy.” You don’t want to correct issues because you fear hurting someone’s feelings, which could deal a blow to morale and productivity. But not addressing problems will only produce more problems - it’s a lose/lose scenario that can only be avoided if you choose to be respected vs being liked.

In addition, many practice owners don’t make time to provide structure for the team. In many cases, practices operate without structure or proper training. They fail to set expectations and become disappointed when staff members fumble.

#2 - Lack of Tangible Reward

Many practice owners operate under the delusion that having a job is motivation enough. But you also know it’s true that each staff member puts forth a different amount of effort, regardless of what you’re paying them. Some only do the minimum, while others go above and beyond on the regular. 

Having a tangible reward system encourages each person to perform their best. It nixes the idea that working harder won’t matter since there are some who only do the minimum. It incentivizes doing more by leveling the playing field and letting staff members be recognized based on true merit.

#3 - Favoritism

Favoritism happens, even if it’s not intentional. Either you create it by rewarding a select few members of your team, or others create it out of jealousy when someone earns the recognition they deserve. In either case, favoritism isn’t productive or healthy for your practice. 

To combat this, it’s important to treat all employees equally. This means holding everyone accountable to standards. When you make exceptions for one, the same exceptions should be made for all. The more you can build equality by setting universal expectations in your practice, the better you can keep favoritism outside of the office.

#4 - Fear of Change

Many employees struggle to learn something new because they’re scared of failure. They make excuses (e.g. I don’t have time). The reality is that they’re not sure if they’re smart enough to take on new knowledge or responsibilities. Most of the time their fears are honest, they might feel they have no purpose on the team and potentially let go if they can’t easily grasp the new task at hand in a timely manner. 

Their defense is often the same: “We’ve done it this way for X number of years, and it works, so don’t change it.” 

Granted, not all change is good, but sometimes it's inevitable. In order to keep up with not only modern technology and even more importantly the latest advancements in medicine, a fair amount of change should be expected.

Staff members must realize that change is necessary in order to move forward, and they should embrace opportunities to invest in themselves to become more valuable to the practice.  Reassurance of the value you have in your team members can help to alleviate these anxieties, however, setting expectations and not compromising on your own integrity is paramount. 

What do you feel are the biggest issues standing between your staff and success? Join the PANDA family to network with others and to share your questions, concerns, and feedback about coping with these issues.  Click to Join The PANDA Family

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