Ditch the Performance Review; Introduce the Success Conference

by Dr. Ron Arndt

When Performance Review time comes up in your dental office, have you noticed that your staff becomes anxious and stressed? Do they dread it? I am sure

that you dread it – the negativity, the finger-pointing.

In my practice, I tell my clients “if it’s not working – change it!”

Consider replacing these dreaded performance reviews with a Success Conference for your dental office employees. Being able to use Success Conferences to develop and encourage employees is a core strategy.

I named these events Success Conferences, because it focuses on the good. For dental office employees, constructive performance feedback is vital to grow. When we look for the good in our employees, they end up feeling good about themselves. And this doesn’t just last for that particular event – they often will adopt an “I can do it” attitude.

So, how to conduct these Success Conferences?

1. Keep those appointments!: I recommend to my coaching clients that they conduct 2 a year. Mark this on the calendar. Treat this as an important event; your staff will see that and mirror your action.

2. Create a reporting mechanism: Create a simple document that outlines a) How are you doing, b) What is working?, c) What is not working?, d) How can you improve? And e) What do you need from me? Ask your staff to fill out this confidential document every month, and submit it to you. It then forces your staff members to think about the answers as they write them down, and it gives you a record of progress for your team.

3. Encourage open and frank conversation: Dental CEOs and other managers often fall into the trap of talking too much during these events. Ask open-ended questions to encourage expansive answers. Don’t keep glancing at your watch and rushing the appointment. Listen intently.

4. Get your staff involved: Encourage your staff to take a major role in this Success Conference. When you ask your employees to commit to their own success, they feel more empowered.

5.Don’t ignore areas that need growth and development: Address those issues frankly, honestly and privately. But I promise that when you include celebrating success as part of the review process, the team member will be much more likely to improve overall.

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