Make Time to Reward Team Members

by Dr. Ron Arndt

Dental CEO’s, how can YOU take the time to care for your team members?

What are you willing to do to acknowledge others? For many years, bosses thought that cash bonuses, higher salaries, or an expanding menu of benefits was all it took to motivate workers. Research over the past two decades, however, confirms something else.

The two motivational factors most mentioned by employees were not salary and benefits, but rather an interesting job and recognition for doing that job well.

Here is a Coaching suggestion – Establish Guidelines For Rewarding Team Members

ideas for dental team recognition1. Match the reward to the person. We are all different, so notice that what serves as a reward for one person may not work for another. Get to know your people so you know what turns them on. Pay attention to non-verbal reactions when you reward people. Ask team members what they think would make great rewards.

2. Match the reward to the event. Give small rewards for small actions; larger rewards for more important achievements. Remember the power of a simple “Thank You” to acknowledge a team member.

3. Be specific. When you witness a behavior that you want to reinforce, describe exactly what you noticed. For example, “Pat, I noticed that you were able to calm Mr. Rocker’s nerves about the new root canal procedure. The procedure went much smoother because you took the time to soothe his fears. Thanks.”

4. When you see it, say it. Don’t wait. The time is right when you notice the action or event that helpedGift the team or a patient. Waiting dulls memories and expectations.

5. Build in flexibility. Develop a fixed reward system that allows everyone to participate in receiving recognition. Then, introduce a second system that allows for “on the spot” rewards. This can be something as simple as a certificate for lunch at a local fast-food eatery or a silver dollar. Fixed rewards inspire team members to set individual goals, while a flexible reward system allows for “creative actions” – yours and theirs.

6. Package rewards like gifts. A box with fancy wrapping is more exciting than a ho-hum plain brown envelope. Create a “pretty package” around your words when recognizing an achievement.

7. Allow for spontaneity. Add some zest to your reward system. Single out individuals for a special reward one time; at another time, reward the entire team. Keep it fresh by doing something different each time. Team members will be challenged to stay on their toes, and will be excited when they are rewarded.

Recognizing and rewarding team members for a job well done, or for meeting a performance goal is not a luxury. It is a basic requirement for strong teams, higher productivity, and a more effective practice.

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