office management Tag Archive

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Guide to “Going Paperless”

book

2016 is the year to “Go Paperless”

Stop putting it off, going paperless can save you tens of thousands of dollars. Make it a New Year’s goal – paperless in 2016.

My comprehensive technology guide, “How to go paperless in the dental office” will answer the basic question…Why bother?  It then provides step by step help in setting up a paperless office, including the eight essentials that need to be in place before you get started, four ways to digitize stuff, and front deskless workflow. There is even a budget and financial analysis that shows how your current paper system is costing you over $40,000!

“How to go paperless in the dental office” will answer all your questions, provide a plan and show you how to save money… all delivered in a fun and easy to understand style.

Follow the link to order your copy today >

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3 Ways to Help Keep Your Dental Office Staff Happy

happy-employees
Happy staff, happy life? Quite possibly. Although there’s no guarantee that a happy staff leads to a happy dentist, you can be sure that a happy staff strengthens your practice. When your staff is unhappy, that unhappiness manifests itself in the form of turnover, which is something you don’t want to see with any level of frequency.

Turnover is bad for your practice for a few reasons. First, it costs you money. You’ll have to recruit new staff and train them. You may even have to turn down appointments because you don’t have enough staff on hand.

Turnover also hurts morale in both your employees and your patients. Employees see the turnover and start to wonder whether they too should look for a new job with another practice. Patients see frequent turnover among your staff and wonder why their favorite hygienists or receptionists are no longer around.

You can limit turnover by making your office an enjoyable place to work.

3 Tips to Keep Your Staff Happy

  1. Give praise. Study after study has shown that employees – regardless of industry – view praise as the single most rewarding benefit they can receive. In a recent study, 83 percent of all surveyed employees said that individual praise was more rewarding than any form of bonus or gift.

    There are a few ways in which you can offer praise. You can do it in a standardized way that’s open to all employees. Popular forms of this kind of praise include an Employee of the Month award or contests that are tied directly to some performance metric.

    Another good way to praise is in one-on-one conversations. Performance reviews present a perfect opportunity to offer praise. You can also do it when it’s not expected. Pull a high-performing employee aside and let them know how they’re doing. Tell an improving employee that you notice and appreciate their efforts. These actions may seem small, but they pay big dividends.

  2. Help them with retirement. Your employees are worried about retirement. They’re concerned that they won’t have enough saved and that they’ll have to continue working long past their desired retirement date.

    You can show your appreciation for their efforts by helping them save for retirement. A 401k plan can be an effective way to do this. It gives your staff the opportunity to save money for their own retirement and it gives you a vehicle to contribute. If your office is small and you think a 401k may be too complex or expensive, you could talk to your financial advisor about alternatives like SEP IRAs.

    Many employees expect some kind of group benefit plan at their place of employment. If you don’t have one, you may have difficulty recruiting quality talent. Similarly, your employees that you do have may view their benefits as being inferior to those offered at other practices.

  3. Create a bonus plan. Your staff knows that you make significantly more money than them. They’re likely fine with that. After all, they also know that you bear all the risk of owning the practice.

    However, they also know that they contribute a great deal to your success. When your business is operating at full speed, they like to be recognized for their contributions – and not just in praise.

    A bonus plan can foster the feeling that you’re all working for the same team. It can create a direct link between your employees’ performance and their compensation. You can tie the bonuses to the practice’s overall performance or you can tie it to specific job functions.

    One note on bonuses, though. Whatever system you put in place, be sure to make the system easy-to-understand and transparent. If employees feel that bonuses aren’t fair, bitterness and resentment could develop.

It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day management of your practice. However, always remember that your staff is a crucial part of your practice’s success. Invest in their happiness and you’re likely to see the benefits.

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The Power of Electronic Conversations

e-conversations

Many an article has been written about the shortcomings of electronic communication and how it has displaced face-to-face communication. We are all aware that telephone calls and personal visits have been substituted by text messages and emails. Many loathe the trend, while others have embraced it. Most will admit that while electronic communication provides convenience and speed, it lacks the bandwidth of a real conversation where nuances of voice, intonation and gesture add value. While we admit the loss of bandwidth in electronic communication, in this article we want to highlight a benefit of electronic communication that is seldom adequately touted.

First, some context. Over the past many months, employees of LogiStyle have been working closely with employees of another company situated in a different city, for reasons that will be the topic of the next Food for Thought article. Please stay tuned! Each of the two companies have enjoyed the luxury of all its employees co-located in one facility, in one town. Both companies fostered an empowered organization where employees relied on close personal communication with each other. When you had a question or a difference of opinion, you walked over to each other’s office or had a corridor conversation. Now, people are working across time zones and distances. Communication is not as easy.

Second, let us examine a scenario. Let’s say that a manager needs to make an important decision for which five individuals have been identified as likely to have significant input to offer. It is also acknowledged that their initial positions are likely to differ. The manager is exploring which of two methods of gathering their input might work best. Should she visit with each of the five individuals one-on-one and gather their input, or should she call a meeting of all five and have a collective conversation. Clearly, if she opted for one-on-one communications, she could read and respond to the emotions of each individual and be more tactful in making them feel that they were heard. If she did so, would the input of each individual have had the benefit of others’ points of views? More philosophically, would everybody in that group know and be convinced that everybody else in that group heard the same arguments? In keeping with the provocative nature of these articles, we claim that collective conversations create value and that a collection of individual two-way conversations destroys value.
And third, another example. By-laws of corporations usually call for a majority of Directors on the board to vote for passing a resolution, and usually allow for the board, in place of a meeting, to pass resolutions by unanimous written consent, wherein each Director sends in their consent without a collective conversation. Why do they allow majority to rule in collective conversations, but require unanimity when the conversation is not collective? For the very reason described above: When the conversation is not collective the thinking of all others does not enrich the judgment of each individual.

Let’s return to the topic of electronic communication. When groups, teams, projects and companies become larger and more geographically dispersed, collective conversations become more difficult. Even arranging a conference call becomes tedious. The result: there is a lot of two-way individual conversations, often partitioned into people in each geographical site, and the value of a collective conversation is lost, while inheriting the cost of partitioned conversations. How can we avoid this? Electronic conversations! Electronic conversations provide the modern equivalent of the village square. When a difficult topic is to be discussed, start the conversation electronically, allowing for people to chime in collectively, and let the points of views be expressed and rebutted. Use it as the village square before you walk into the town hall. But, remember, don’t allow people to mingle too long in the village square. You have to strike a balance. Too much of back and forth electronic conversation will quickly degenerate into emotional debate and regurgitation. Force people to express their positions in terms of facts and interpretations – facts that can be verified and interpretations that describe what they conclude from those facts. Close the electronic conversation with a conference call during which you can have a live collective conversation.

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