Creating a Dental Office Where People Want To Come To Work

by Dr. Ron Arndt

In their book, How Full Is Your Bucket?, Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton provide the student of practice management with a powerful lesson in understanding human potential and motivation. The metaphor in this book suggests that each person carries an invisible bucket of emotions, along with a dipper, which he or she can use to either add to other people’s buckets or to dip from them. In the end, research shows that filling someone else’s bucket benefits both parties — the person who gave the praise and the person who received it.

dental staff accountabilityThe Gallup Organization surveyed almost 4 million workers on the topics of recognition and praise. Some of the startling results:

• 65% of people reported receiving no recognition on the job last year,
• an estimated 22 million workers are “actively disengaged,” or extremely negative in their workplace.

Those practices smart enough to recognize the impact of employee satisfaction and have begun offering recognition and praise report see the following results:

• increased individual productivity—higher income to the practice and team
• better safety records/fewer accidents on the job—reduced costs to the practice
• employees stay with the practice longer—HUGE cost savings to the practice
• higher loyalty and satisfaction scores from customers—positively impacts the bottom line with increased revenues to the practice.

Consider the following strategies, adapted from the Gallup organization, that you can take now. The many small interactions or moments that make up your day — approximately 20,000 moments by one study’s count — weigh in on either the positive or negative side. These moments influence who we are, how we feel, and how we perform.

Here are five strategies for reducing the negativity in your culture:

1. Prevent “Bucket Dipping.” Increase your own awareness of how often your comments are negative. Work toward a ratio of five positive comments to every one negative.

2. Shine a Light on What Is Right. Try focusing on what employees or peers do right rather than where they need improvement, and discover the power of reinforcing good behaviors.

3. Make Good Friends. People with good friends at work have better safety records, receive higher customer satisfaction scores, and increase workplace productivity.

4. Give Unexpectedly. A recent poll showed that the vast majority of people prefer gifts that are unexpected.

5. Modify the Golden Rule to the Platinum Rule. Instead of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” you should “Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.” Individualization is key when filling others’ buckets.

Talk to your team; rid yourself of “stinkin-thinkin”; and by all means put yourself in charge of your morale. If you allow attitudes in your office go sour, your employees will be mentally down and out. Create higher expectations; take charge of filling people’s buckets; Act upbeat, and you and your team will feel better, perform better, and……… will create a dental office where people will want to come to work.

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