Dr. Seuss once asked, “How did it get so late so soon?” This is a question dental team members may ask as they roll into work too late to attend your huddle or as they struggle to get your first patient seated on time following lunch. While it may seem like a small oversight to show up late, not addressing tardiness issues will open the door to bigger problems with your team.
First, the team notices when someone is late, just as the team notices performance-related mistakes. When you discipline someone for performance related mistakes, but you fail to do the same when someone repeatedly reports to work late, you set a double standard that can undermine your authority in the practice.
Next, team members who struggle to show up on time often develop more significant issues when their attendance goes unchecked. It is not uncommon for tardiness to morph into situations where the team member demonstrates insubordinate behavior or misses small details that detract from the patient experience.
Therefore, building a strong dental team means managing the small issues proactively. Holding the team accountable for showing up on time and returning from lunch on time is just as important as their performance chair-side or in the front office. When you hold team members accountable for attendance, the good ones will fall in line and you will see their overall performance and attitudes improve.
Remember that start times are put in place for a reason. You and your team depend on each other, and when people cannot keep their commitment to show up on time, they let everyone down. Therefore, when you have team members struggling to adhere to your attendance policies, hold them accountable. Your dental team and practice will be a lot stronger as a result.