Making the Difficult Decisions when Creating your Dream Team

It seems that many offices are dealing with staff turnover at a rate that is higher than expected. Sometimes this is due to the team member running after the next dentist who is willing to pay more, lifestyle choices for their schedule or it can mean that a person interviewed better than they performed. Sometimes it can be that we made a decision because we felt that we had no other choice and we needed a team member in that position. Creating your perfect team balance comes from making some decisions right from the start of the hiring process.

I want to provide you with some tips for helping you create your dream team:

  1. If you have a new hire very often you and your existing team will know within two weeks if this person is a good “fit” for your team. This is the time to make your decision. If you are feeling that they are not the right fit, they are likely feeling the same way. Let them find a new position where they’ll be happy, and you just keep looking. But if you wait for months, it’ll make replacing them a bigger problem for everyone involved. It may feel like you’re being kind by giving them a chance to stay on, thinking that they will catch on eventually. For a team member, it’s better to know quickly if you need to move on before you’ve built your life around the job and then will have to start the job hunt all over again from scratch. This is only true assuming that you have a well-planned onboarding program for new team members. If you don’t train your new hires properly, then they will all look bad in the first two weeks.
  2. Having a well-structured onboarding program for all positions in your office will help manage expectations of skills learned and areas where extra training is needed. Having the program printed instead of just verbal instructions will allow learners of all types to have a chance at becoming a great team member. Being clear with your office’s needs will help as the absence of proper training will have new team members perhaps making decisions based on what they think you may want. It is unreasonable to expect that a person can become a good team member by learning intuitively.
  3. Ensure that you are always providing check-ins with new team members, for the first week it should be a daily check in at the end of each day, then for a month you would want a check in at the end of each week and then once a month for the next six months. These should be formal pre-set check-ins not passing by the team member in the hall and saying, “how is it going?” You will want to ask them what they felt comfortable with so far, where they feel they need more training or what your expectations are of them at this point. A good question to always ask is “On a scale of 1 to 10 how is it going for you? If they don’t answer 10, then ask what would it take to make it a 10? You will be very surprised at some of the answers you may get. Ensure that you follow the rule of praising your team members publicly and providing any negative feedback privately. Feedback is always best delivered in real time if you are wanting to see real change, giving a current example works wonders.
  4. In every office you will find that most owners or managers will end up spending 80% of their attention to the 20% of their team members that are disengaged or behaving poorly. If someone isn’t performing or has a bad attitude toward their job, other team members can react in a couple ways: a) start acting the same way because apparently that’s just the way it goes here, or b) be constantly frustrated because they’re working hard while this other person isn’t helping or is actively worsening things. Holding on to a “bad apple” on your team may mean that you lose some good team members because they feel you are not supportive of their good behaviour. This can lead to some very serious and damaging “drama” in your office.

Creating your perfect team takes a lot of time, effort, and planning. Building your culture in your office comes from the group within, from the owner on down. Follow the suggestions I have provided and you may find less turnover in your office.

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