The Cost of Settling for the Wrong Fit

One of the hottest topics in the dental world right now is staffing shortages. We know that we aren’t alone in this struggle right now, it is painful for almost every office though. The current shortages have allowed us to overlook some habits in team members that we may not realize are causing consequences in offices. 

Looking at some of these consequences may lead to you realizing that it is time to start making some team changes in your office, just having a pair of hands there should not be “just good enough.” If you want an office that delivers excellence on every level, then you want a team that will be able to do the same.

The cost of replacing a team member can be up to $10K, by not correcting or keeping wrong fit team members the costs will far exceed that total. There are three main types of wrong fit team members that are most likely to be found in dental offices. If your office is feeling off these days look at some of these descriptions and solutions to see if correction or change will help.

A team member who is disengaged is not excited by their work. They come in every day and do a passable job to ensure that they remain employed, yet they never put the extra effort in. The consequence of this in the dental office can be two-fold, other team members may see that this attitude is acceptable and drop their own standards to match, or the engaged team members may move on as they don’t feel that the office matches their levels of engagement. 

Having a “Drama Queen or King” in the office can create an enormous amount of unnecessary conflict and emotion around small issues, which will take everyone off task. Drama of any kind is distracting, wasting the time and emotional energy of everyone involved. It is often very difficult to rehab someone who lives for the drama and being at the centre of attention, it is a good idea to shut this down as quickly as possible. 

Anytime you come up with any ideas for change or adding new technology you may find that there are always one or two team members who tend to disagree and will dig their heels in arguing that “we have always done it this way and it seems to work.” This is the most common reason that many dentists don’t change and grow. This type of employee can cause a polarization within your team, slowing down or preventing new technology or systems from being implemented. The result of this can be a loss of productivity and a decrease in team morale. 

If you have recognized some of these personalities in your office, you may be wondering what you can do about it without replacing half of your team members. Ideally, a conversation may be enough to address what currently isn’t working. Some people can be very open to receiving feedback about change and a difficult conversation may be enough to bring them into line with your office values. If the feedback doesn’t work, then you will need to recognize what the negative effect may be on the entire office and decide if you are willing to let this behaviour infect the entire office or not.

In summary, if you want to have a plan moving forward for changing team attitudes in your office you will want to follow three easy steps. Firstly, identify the exact issue that you are dealing with. Secondly, strategize and take corrective action with that team member and come up with a viable solution that will have accountably attached to it to measure the outcome. Thirdly, if the above steps don’t work prepare to begin the search for a new team member, as painful as it might be the results of not making the change could be far more costly.

Having difficult discussions and sometimes making even more difficult decisions are necessary to see growth in a practice to deliver the level of excellence that you are always striving for.

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