Episode 455: How to Boost Team Morale

Boosting morale in your office doesn’t need to be extravagant, but it does need to be intentional. Kiera and Brit discuss what your office can do to create lasting happiness in your practice. The two even give examples of what the Dental A-Team is doing and whether or not they’re working.

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0:00:05.8 Kiera Dent: Hey everyone, welcome to The Dental A Team podcast. I'm your host, Kiera Dent. And I had this crazy idea that maybe I could combine a doctor and a team member's perspective, because let's face it, dentistry can be a challenging profession with those two perspectives. I've been a dental assistant, treatment coordinator, scheduler, filler, office manager, regional manager, practice owner and I have a team of traveling resultant, where we have traveled to over 165 different offices, coaching teams. Yep, we don't just understand you, we are you. Our mission is to positively impact the world of dental. And I believe that this podcast is the greatest way I can help elevate teams, grow VIP experiences, reduce stress and create A teams. Welcome to the Dental A Team podcast.

0:00:51.7 KD: Hello, Dental A Team listeners. This is Kiera. And you guys, I love when our consultant team gets on the podcast with me and I get to have somebody that I adore on the podcast. Brit... If you guys have not met her, if you have not heard any of her consulting, you are missing. Brit, is one of my faves. She joined our company. She came from a massive, massive background in dental. She grew up dental. She's a hygienist. She's also a regional. She transition practices into DSO. She's a wealth of knowledge. So Brit, welcome to the show today. How are you?

0:01:23.7 Brit: Hey. Thanks for having me, and the great intro. I'm doing fantastic.

0:01:28.3 KD: Good, good. Brit hangs out in Arizona, and we just had our company holiday party. Brit won the best dressed award. Brit, what were you wearing? And where did you find it is a better question.

0:01:41.5 Brit: Where did I find it? I found an awesome hoodie that is in the shape of a Christmas tree. Which yes, means that the hood is the top of the Christmas tree, ornaments and all on it. It's the best. It's the best. And I wanna say it might have even been... Oh, I know where I got it from. It was a Target purchase, of course.

0:02:02.2 KD: A Target purchase, of course. Well, and she also dressed up her dog as a reindeer. So Brit was like the whole shebang. She won best dressed for sure. And it was really funny 'cause her little face was just poking out of this Christmas tree. So, Brit's a good time, love and adore you so much. But let's dive into... Actually, it kinda ties into that. I wanted to chat on how to boost team morale. And I think actually what we just talked about of having fun parties, fun things like that. Brit you're a team member. For me, I've always thought having activities things like that really can boost team morale. But again, you're gonna speak team side, what are some of the things you see? How is that like... A company party, fun things that we do. From your perspective, what do you feel are some great things that can boost team morale?

0:02:46.1 Brit: Yeah, I think parties for sure are a big boost. Outings are a big boost when you can afford those things to go and get the team out of the office and do something fun. I think it goes a long ways. I think from a team member perspective, I've been that team member to where I've had an attitude and have been like, "I don't wanna go to something extra." I don't wanna put in some extra time. But honestly, those are the times when I struggled more as a team member to connect and morale for myself was worse, because I wasn't putting the time in to engage. So I think the manager side of things, doctor side of things, planning activities and team member side... Participate. Join in.

0:03:25.8 KD: Yeah, absolutely. And I love that you brought that up because we really truly... It can be annoying to go to these activities but we have to realize the point of these activities are to bond as a team. They are to create memories together. And the reason I think right now is pertinent to be talking about morale is because I feel we... I called it the COVID crank for almost a year, but I feel... And Brit, I know for you on coaching calls... Like, we're hearing it office after office, after office, where morale is just down.

0:04:00.5 KD: I don't know what it is. The holidays are coming, so people tend to get a little more excited about life. But it really is that tricky time right now where people are kind of cranky. And so I think it's even more important to get those activities planned to go and do things as a team. That way your morale can be boosted. Because I think having a fun place to work, a place where people really enjoy being there, is one of the key ways to keep and retain team members, and also have it a better place to work.

0:04:27.2 Brit: Yeah, for sure. And I think that part of the COVID crank is that we were all kind of like cooped up and just nose to the grind for so long, and didn't get to do as many of those fun things that were nice surprises. And so when we can... And adding those back into our routine, add them back into extra time outside the office of doing something fun. Or even if there's little pieces of excitement we can bring into the office as well. Just little surprises go a long ways.

0:05:00.2 KD: Absolutely. So I think we should dive into this 'cause I'm always about, Got it. The principles there. Let's talk about some hows. So for one of my offices, I love this, they actually had a budget. So every month... And it can be $100, it can be $200. It does not need to be something that breaks the bank. But they actually gave their office manager and their team say "Let's just go with a $100 budget." And they said, "We want you to plan a team activity every single month." But what I like is spread it out to the entire team. And I said, "Everyone should be attending these team activities."

0:05:29.0 KD: So you can rotate it amongst team members. Brit and I have an office doing this right now together. And they actually break it down per person. So one hygienist chose January. One assistant chose February. The office manager took March. So that's the idea behind it. But they have a $100 budget and their job is to build something for team bonding, team outings, team activity. And it becomes something fun that they can all work on, and I love that. And I told everybody, I said, "Just think you're gonna have to plan one of these outings, so get there and show up and support the team member who had to put it on." And I think that that's a good way to take the stress off of doctor or the leader, the office manager, having one more thing added to their plate and taking it around to the whole team. And some ideas that I've heard of are like, paint and wine nights.

0:06:16.3 KD: You can have somebody come in or... I'll be honest, I did it on YouTube. I'm not joking, guys. Like there is a painting... A Paint by Number on YouTube, and they'll walk you through it, if you don't wanna go out due to COVID. I have another office doing a hot chocolate bar and bringing a bunch of different toppings. You could have a gingerbread house building contest. You could do a service activity. I know our company is doing, a coat drive where we found shelters and we're having a lot of you offices... Shout out and thank you to you. But we're having a bunch of people donate coats during the winter season to go donate to people in need. Those are all types of activities. Brit, have you seen any offices or other ideas of just some of those monthly outings or activities that don't cost a lot, can be a ton of fun that some of your offices are doing?

0:07:01.4 Brit: Yeah, for sure. I love rotating it because a lot of this is gonna come to what does your team enjoy and what do they value. So by rotating it around team members, you get a variety, you get things that they care about and they enjoy. Even if it's just going out for drinks or something afterwards, having a chance to chat with each other outside of the office and talk about things that are non-work-related. So that's something... I've had some offices go to even sporting events that are in the area that they can go to. The paint one is always a fun one. But just any local things even that you can support and get out to, that gets everybody out of the office.

0:07:40.8 KD: For sure. And it's also great... Don't hesitate to snap pictures on social media. You better believe, guys, we're reaching out to PR companies to let them know that we're going and donating these coats. We want people to know. We want them to know that we're active in the community. So don't hesitate to tag on social to get in different places. And I agree Brit. I think the rotating of ideas of activities can be a good boost for morale.

0:08:06.6 KD: As you guys look back on 2021, how was it? Was it your best year? Was it a year you could have done a little better? And as you're looking forward to 2022, what type of a practice and a person do you wanna be? Well, guys, now is the time to take massive action and to have the life and the practice you've always wanted. Dental A Team Platinum is where it's at, guys. We focus on system development. That's right. Top to bottom. Team development, growing leaders, growing you as a person, making sure your balanced, that we have happier teams. And we also ensure that your practice is profitable. Teaching you how to be business-savvy. So if you're looking to enhance your practice take it to the next level.

0:08:42.0 KD: You yourself wanna grow, now is the time. Dental A Team Platinum, we fly to your practice. Most of our office see a 10% to 30% increase in revenue, reduction of stress, happier teams, better patient experiences. So if you know you wanna rocket launch yourself into 2022, don't wait guys. We are only taking on so many platinum practices because we physically fly to you. So email us today, [email protected]. And you better believe we have something special for you end of year offices. So be sure to reach out [email protected]. Remember you're only one decision away from a completely different life.

0:09:16.6 KD: I wanna pivot to something that we're doing in our company to boost team morale right now. And Brit, you can say if you like it or don't like it. This is honesty hour on the podcast 'cause I don't know. And the great news is, I think... Brit, you can either agree or disagree. I think I do a good job of wanting our team to actually speak honestly. And they know that they can tell me this idea is terrible, and I'll actually take it without offense. But I really...

0:09:39.0 Brit: It's true. It's true. [chuckle]

0:09:42.6 KD: I love our morning huddles and what we've done to shake those things up. And I purposely did it to boost morale and to have camaraderie. And having kind of like a theme for everyday. So like Monday is motivation Monday, Tuesday is testimonial Tuesday, unless you guys are still doing tips. I haven't been on Tuesday in a while.

0:09:58.4 Brit: No, I'm glad we changed that one actually.

0:10:01.1 KD: The tip one was dumb. I'm not gonna lie. It was really dumb to...

0:10:02.9 Brit: It was hard. It was hard.

0:10:07.3 KD: Hey guys you should ship your postcards early 'cause... I don't know. So we did testimonial Tuesday, which I purposely changed 'cause I wanted to infuse good morale into our company. Wednesday is core value shoutout. So we all choose somebody with a core value that they exemplify. Thursday is thankful Thursday, and Friday is fun Friday. I've considered changing it to a funny Friday where we all have to bring a joke to the morning huddle, 'cause I just think that'd be real fun. But that's something I purposely... And again, I love Brit, that you and I are on the podcast today. Because as a leader, that was something I was looking for culture and morale boost of like, "Let's shake up our morning huddles and have them a little more fun." But Brit, from your side does that boost morale? Or is it just something that Kiera, thinks is fun? And again, this is honesty hour, 'cause I don't want people doing it if it's not actually gonna work.


0:10:55.5 Brit: So I really like it. I think it's fun. I think, again, anything to add, just a little something different when we're in the routine of doing the same things, it just makes you think outside the box. And it's just fun to hear what your co-workers have to say. To see... You get to know a little bit about what's going on with them in their lives as well by doing it. So it doesn't take much time. It's pretty quick. We know what's coming. They're usually pretty easy to come up with your answer. Tip Tuesday was hard. I'm glad we didn't do that one. Funny Friday would also be hard. So I don't know if I'm on board with that one.

0:11:29.2 KD: You can just... That's called TikTok watching or just search a dad joke. I've got... Or the holidays are coming, ask your family for them. But I do like that we do fun Friday, where right now we just have people list like what the most fun thing was that they did this week or something fun that they're excited for. So either way. But again, just these little things. I think the idea is... Often times with this morale, we think it's gotta be extravagant. And what I hope is being painted today is that it can actually be very simple, subtle things that can boost that morale.

0:11:58.6 KD: I will say, as leaders, I think one of the biggest things you can do... And I have my own way of doing it, everybody has their way, and we'll share some specifics. But I think it's a really, really, really paramount for leaders, especially to highlight your team on things that they're doing well. I think we go a lot. So whether that means writing a thank you card, whether that means highlighting a team member weekly, whether that means going out of your way to... Like, I have an office and she has a compliment alarm on her phone, so she doesn't forget. But just finding a way to appreciate your team and then having your team members appreciate one another. I personally think is a good morale boost. The reason why is it's an attitude of gratitude, it's focusing on positivity. It's infusing that. And that really can boost that morale.

0:12:46.1 KD: I know for me, I feel real lucky we have the podcast. So for Thanksgiving, I always do a shout out to every single team member. I publicly wanna thank our team and I wanna make sure that people know that. And then privately, we have a Friday Five that's still public for our team, but not public for all of you. But I write a Friday Five every single week that highlights team members of the things that they're doing well. And then I try really hard to also write thank you cards or do personal messages to our team. Yes, that is something very natural that I do, but it also takes effort and thought process through. But Brit, again, I'm gonna push to you as a team member, do those things actually boost morale? Or as a team member what things would you prefer to have come from your leaders to help boost that morale in the practice?

0:13:31.5 Brit: I think those things go a long ways. Kiera is a great words of affirmation person. She does a wonderful job at it, and it goes a long ways with the team. And I think that being a leader who can compliment and find your way, that you can do it, to build it in, to make sure it is consistent and you're finding those opportunities. And then I think as a team member, it goes a long ways for the team to compliment each other in front of the team.

0:13:56.0 Brit: So I'm a big shout-out person, whether it's in team meetings or morning huddles, if that's something that you add. But encouraging the team to acknowledge the good in each other, I think is massive. And it takes some encouragement at first. Sometimes we assign people to give each other shout outs or compliments, but you've gotta start somewhere with these, and add them in, encourage the team, and eventually, everybody loves a compliment, everybody loves being recognized at the end of the day. And so sticking to it and helping the team learn how to do that. And a lot of the times, the team, they appreciate each other and they see a lot of good things going on, but we're just not taking the time to acknowledge it. So creating a space for it goes a long ways with morale.

0:14:41.9 KD: Yes, agreed, Brit. And I wanna dive into some things that I've seen work real well in practices. Some offices do what's called a bravo jar or a high five jar. I agree with Brit, I kind of like it to be... I want it to be very intentional, but I also want there to be a process behind it. So it's just not the same people commenting every single time in morning huddle.

0:15:02.3 KD: So you can rotate it. It can be certain people that are on certain days. You could also give a card out that's like... You could have it as a shout-out card, or a bravo, card or a high five card. And you give it to them on Monday and everybody needs to have an intentional one delivered by Friday to the jar. And on Friday, we draw one name out of the jar and we read it allowed to other people. That person is the one who's highlighted. Maybe they get to wear a crown that day. Maybe... I've definitely bought people a real pretty sparkly GOAT pin for greatest of all time. I had them... Where they gonna wear the GOAT pin for the next week? You can have it where it can be linked to a gift card. So the person who wins, they might get a $5 Starbucks gift card. But just having it where... And that can be a way to start this, and then to continue it on.

0:15:48.3 KD: Purposely, I have that morning huddle. I'm not on a lot of the morning huddles. Brit can attest to that. I travel a lot, I'm in a lot of different meetings. But I wanted the team to be able to run ways to compliment each other, to shout out. That's why we do core value shot out where every person selects somebody to do a core value shout out to them. Making it to where it's a peer recognition versus a leader recognition. So hopefully that gave you guys a few ideas to boost some morale, because I personally, believe that morale is paramount. And it's tangible, and you can feel it when you walk into a practice.

0:16:21.6 KD: Within about one minute of being in a practice, I can tell if your morale is great, if you guys are bonded, if you love each other, if you're there to help each other, or if you guys have a really yucky morale. I think right now is an important time to do a thermometer check. How is the morale in your practice. And to be aware and then to take massive action to change it. I think morale is one of the best ways to keep a team bonded together. And I don't think... I don't think it's things that are hard, I just think it's things that need consistency. Brit, any last thoughts you've got on morale, boosting it, all things.


0:16:58.3 Brit: I think you hit it. I think it needs to be intentional. Morale just... It usually doesn't just happen or we go through rough patches. So it takes an intentional effort to make sure we're cultivating it.

0:17:09.8 KD: Mm-hmm, absolutely. So I would say for you guys, we gave you some ideas just to rattle them off, again. You can have that monthly budget and assign different team members out. Do an outing... Oh... A shout out to an office, I know their fans of the podcast. They do like dip Thursday and everybody brings their favorite dip to share. And they just have it in their break room and it's super super fun for all of them. So do something fun like that. Create some fun culture. But don't have this be office managers and doctors, you're the ones guiding this. Take it to the team. Have them help out.

0:17:39.5 KD: So that was one idea. We also had the morning huddle shout-outs or the team meeting shout-outs to compliment... So the bravo cards, the high five cards, give them out on Monday, read one on Friday... You can also assign people in the huddles. Finding ways to thank and give appreciation. And then we also talked about shaking up your morning huddles. For those of our Platinum offices they are about to get a surprise in the mail. And hopefully you guys will be watching our social media to see what we sent them, because what we did is we actually sent them a way to boost morale and to shake up their meetings, if you will, for next year.

0:18:16.9 KD: So that's again another way to shake it up to improve that morale, to have a bunch of fun. So be sure to be on the lookout. If you're interested in being Platinum, or wanna find out with their Platinum gift is, be sure to email us [email protected]. Definitely, helping people have a much more successful 2022. These boosting morale... Brit, and I have had plenty of coaching calls on it. And I think it sometimes fun to have an outsider come in with new ideas, ways to spruce it up and to get your whole team bought in. 'Cause, I don't know. Morale can be a tricky thing.

0:18:45.0 KD: So, Brit, I love that you do it. It's fun, you guys. There's so many, so many ideas. I'm bubbling, I'm like, "You can work on your core values. You can do... You can build a vision together. You can create a vision board together." But again, that's some of the things that we do with our clients to help them build this morale. But I would say, don't pass this off as something that's just a soft skill or something that's not valuable. Really take this on as something that you're going to commit to and do something. I don't care if it's something small, I don't care if it's daily, I don't care if it's monthly, but commit to doing at least one thing to boost that morale every single month, and see what kind of a year you have. Brit, thanks for being on the podcast. Love having you here, love having you on our team. I super appreciate you.

0:19:25.9 Brit: Thank you.

0:19:26.3 KD: Alright, guys, that wraps it up. Thank you so much for listening. We'll catch you next time on the Dental A Team podcast.



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