“Don’t forget, a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.”
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Dental teams have a great emotional need to feel appreciated. When the team feels appreciated, they are more invested in the practice, which translates into stronger teamwork, positive patient experiences, and better overall practice performance. There are a number of ways you can show the team that you appreciate them.
- Tell team members “thank you” on a regular basis for specific things they are doing well. This is one of the best ways to make people feel valued. For example, your assistant does an excellent job of calming an anxious patient, and you say, “Thank you, Sarah, for doing such a great job calming Mr. Adams before the extraction.”
- Schedule employee appreciation lunches during the year. Order your team’s favorite lunch into the office, or if you have time, go to a nearby restaurant. Take a moment before lunch and say a few words of thanks to the team. “Before we start lunch, I want to thank all of you for going the extra mile for patients. I also appreciate how hard you have worked to make sure we stay on time.”
- Show your appreciation in a handwritten note that accompanies a small gift. The note can acknowledge a positive accomplishment or attribute, and the gift can be as simple as movie tickets or a gift card.
- Acknowledge team members in front of patients. This not only reinforces the confidence patients place in the team, but it also shows your team that you notice their fine work. The most effective way to consistently provide excellent patient is to regularly praise the team for jobs well done.
Positive feedback is most effective when it acknowledges specific actions, occurs regularly, and comes across as genuine. If you want to get the most from your team, make a commitment to give your team the appreciation they deserve.