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Episode : #731: Employee Check-ins — the RIGHT Way

Podcast Description

Want to inspire a better practice culture for free? Master your employee-check-ins! In this episode, Kiera breaks down the structure of the idea employee check-in — the what, why, how, and more. She shares how DAT’s own employee check-ins work as an example, and gives advice on tying raises to check-ins or not.

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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 consultants 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.

0:00:50.7 KD: Hello Dental A Team listeners. This is Kiera, and ooh, today’s a great day. I am going to dive in to helping you guys get a better culture and morale through employee, I don’t wanna call it reviews, employee check-ins, why not? Check-ins sounds way more fun versus a review feels like very daunting. But I hope you guys are ready for it, I hope you’re living your best lives. And I wanna remind you a really awesome quote is Action Cures Fear. That is by David J. Schwartz. Action Cures Fear. So if you’re afraid of something, take action and take massive action because I believe that we are always just one decision away from a completely different life. So with that, all of you, if you’re listening today, please go leave us that review on whatever platform you’re listening and share this with someone. You guys know my goal, to get this into the hands of millions, to change millions of lives through this podcast, and I can’t do it without you.

0:01:44.4 KD: So guys, share it today. I just ask that you share it with one person. Truthfully, I’m gonna ask you every time you listen to the podcast, so you better start thinking of your people. You can send it to the same people, but I really want to hear, shout out to the office. I know you listen, there is an incredible office here. And what they do is they actually listen to our podcast and there is a running group chat with their office where they text about the podcast all the time, of things that they’re listening, things to implement, and the whole team has bought into it. And I wanna say kudos to you for being an exemplary office. I know you’re in my home city, Reno, Nevada. Shout out to you guys of being one of the offices that I just think is doing dentistry right, of how to build a great culture and using the podcast for greatness.

0:02:24.1 KD: So please, please, please share with other offices because we can get teams like that. And if we can elevate teams and make business easy for owners and for teams, it’s a win and that’s what I’m all about. So please share it guys and know how much I appreciate you and shout out to that Reno, Nevada and Allison for meeting you guys. How fun is it that we know you and that you’re here. And I’m sure that there are hundreds of other offices like you. So if you’re an office like that, email me. And if I’m ever on the road and can meet you, I definitely do surprise and delights oftentimes when I travel, just showed up at an office in Utah, shout out to them. I was there visiting and did a random surprise and delight to some huge podcast fans out there. So email in, let me know where you guys are at and if I’m ever on the road traveling and I can swing by, you better believe Kiera Dent could be in your practice.

0:03:09.0 KD: All right, with that, a lot of times people talk to me about reviews. How do we do reviews? What does that look like? And so I’m just gonna give you guys just quick like down and dirty, how do we implement reviews in our practice? I like to start with the why. Why do we implement reviews? What is the purpose of it? And I feel like it’s feedback. As a team member, I always wanted to know how I was doing for my doctor. How was I doing as a team member? I wanted feedback so I could become a better teammate. And as leaders, I think it’s good for us to give the feedback to share with our team members what are they doing really well and how can they improve and become even better? Why not give the feedback? Why not create a culture of ownership, of grit, of tenacity, of wanting to evolve and become better?

0:03:50.2 KD: So with that, I personally like to do one-on-one check-ins every single month with my team. We have ours on a set time. I think the biggest thing about it is being consistent. I’m not gonna lie to you. They are a lot of effort. So what I’ll tell you is how to do it with smaller teams and larger teams of things that I’ve seen work really well. So we have a team of over 10 people. I have people in all different states, so we’re that medium sized practice. I have offices who have 30, 50, 60 employees and I’ll tell you how they do their reviews and their check-ins because at the end of the day, the bigger you get, the more opportunity for lost communication and the more need for delegation of team leads is a big piece for that. So we have at the set time every single time.

0:04:29.8 KD: Ours are currently 30 minutes. I don’t talk to my team as often because we are virtual. But in an office where you guys are seeing each other every single day, I think sometimes you can even have these check-ins at 15 minutes. Now, a check-in is not a raise. Dun dun dun, let me just be a fun killer right here. No, check-ins and reviews should not be a time where we’re only giving feedback to get raises or to tell you what you’re doing right or wrong. I believe that a check-in should constantly be giving feedback on both sides. How are we supporting you? What things can we do for you? How can we make your life easier? So, get it on a set time. I love the first week of the month, but that has become insanely busy because it was my favorite week. I could remember it was an easy cadence.

0:05:10.7 KD: So ours has now moved to the second week of the month because we have booked our first week of the month. So the second Monday of every single month I meet with my team and I have a 30 minute check-in with them, consultants and our like HQ team. So your front office team, they have different check-ins. I have all of them rate themselves on our core values on a 1-10 of how they think they’re doing and also how I think they’re doing because core values to me are paramount. We do our core values every Wednesday. We have a Wednesday core value shout out. We have core values that we read every single Monday. They are truly the epitome of our company and our team knows that. And every quarter I review them to ensure that’s really the direction I want our company to go and we change them as necessary.

0:05:49.6 KD: My core values have probably changed 10 times since owning the business in six years, but I believe if they’re truly your core, they’re the guiding compass and the culture setters for your practice if you will allow it. So on that note, what I recommend is on your one-on-ones, I have them go through their core values. How do they rate themselves? For my consultants, I have them go through all their clients. How are they doing overall? I do have a quick task checklist for all of them of like their main KPIs and what are their KPIs? How are they doing on that? Are they hitting it out of the park? Are they needing help with it? How are they doing on the pieces of the company that are moving us forward for all the positions of our practice?

0:06:26.8 KD: Then from there I always change it. I like to have fun with my team and I genuinely want to know them. I wanna know them as people. I wanna know their hopes, their dreams, their fears, their desires. And so with that, I ask a lot of questions, at the beginning of every single year, what I do is I have them all set a word for their year. I have them say what they want to achieve for their personal goals and their professional goals and also what their word of the year is going to be. And then every month through the year, I actually check in on all of those items. How is their professional goal going? How is their personal goal going? How is their word? Are they embodying that? Are they doing those items? Then in addition to that, I ask them a few questions.

0:07:12.4 KD: So I’ll tell you, these are my specific ones. I’m literally looking at this right now. I have duties, I have KPIs, I have core values and then I have what is the one thing you and goal you are looking forward to this upcoming month? So what is your number one thing? And usually it’s personally and professionally, if they’re excited about something coming up and I just like to know what’s going on personally. ‘Cause if I can look for ways to help them on their personal journey, rock on, let’s do that. And then what is your goal of how you can add value to the company this month? And then what is… We call it a chicken nugget idea. This comes back to Wendy’s. If you guys remember, Wendy’s used to have a five piece chicken nugget. I don’t frequent Wendy’s as often. This might be why.

0:07:54.3 KD: And then they switched it to a four piece chicken nugget, and think about this, I thought about how much money did they, one, save on dropping it from five to four? Like that one chicken nugget probably saved them multiple millions. And then the other flip side is, four is not enough. So we all upsell to the 10 piece chicken nugget, which is too many, but four is too little. So we’re gonna go… Because five was perfect. So now we upsell. How much money do you actually now bring to the company? So we saved millions and we brought in millions. Brilliant idea of one chicken nugget. There’s the FedEx one. You’ve heard about the FedEx guy who realized if they took right hand turns, how much money that could save the company. Plus how much easier would it be for employees? So I love FedEx and chicken nuggets, in our company we call it a chicken nugget.

0:08:42.7 KD: And I just put it on there like what’s a chicken nugget idea you have for the company? Sometimes it can be on how to change lights. One of our ideas that’s about to roll out, Dana came up with, it was her chicken nugget idea of a way that we could really just change and add value to the company. Literally came from this one-on-one check-in. I cannot wait. It should be rolling. Wait for it. Stay tuned. It’s gonna be part of our kickstart. I’ll just tease it out a little bit and I might tease out that it is a good way to make management made simple. How nice would that be to have management actually simple for you. Kudos to Dana. I’m just gonna tease it out a little bit. I am giddy about this product. I am so excited and I know it’s gonna change your life.

0:09:24.0 KD: So I hope you guys are ready. Be on the lookout. Of course the podcast family will be the first ones to know about it, but it’s coming your way and it came because of this one-on-one check-in. After that, so it’s our chicken nugget idea [chuckle] and the chicken nugget makes me laugh. And throughout time whenever people come up with really good ideas, Tiffany especially on our team is like “that’s a chicken nugget.” So we’re always looking for chicken nuggets of what are good ways of simple efficiency that adds massive value to the company and to the clients. Then I have on there of area of concern support, one way we can make your life easier. I wanna know what they want to know. I wanna know what’s their biggest stressor. And then I ask them the question of what was a win from last month?

0:10:06.4 KD: And then I ask the question of what is your biggest stressor? And then the last question, and I purposely put these in this order, is what is your happiest part of your job? And so for what that is for me is it gives me really good feedback all the way around. It helps me know about their core values, it helps me know about their KPIs, it helps me know about their tasks. And then it really gives me the personal things about them, of what are they most looking forward to? What are their goals for this next month? What’s an area of concern? What’s a win from the last month? What’s your biggest stressor and what’s the happiest part of your job? And then below that I have action items from the last month. So we follow up on that, how did that go? And then I look at their 2023 goals of their word, their personal and their professional. And I check in on that.

0:10:47.8 KD: So really my check-in with my team is I’m finding out about them personally. I’m looking at their clients. I’m looking for their support. I’m looking at their tasks, I’m looking at their KPIs, but really I’m looking at them as a person. That’s what I care about on these reviews. So now if you need it for raises there are great ways for you to have tiers. You can have it of each position has a tier so people know what tasks they need to take on to be able to elevate on raises. Some offices, like raises just get weird and they think reviews equate to raises and you can do that. It’s totally up to you. For me, I’ve got tiers for the positions. And then also the biggest thing I tell my team is, when you add value to the company and you really go above and beyond, I give raises and I literally don’t have a set standard.

0:11:28.5 KD: It’s I know Shelby took on five more tasks, definitely taking on a raise because she took and made the company easier, elevated the company and grew herself in her position. So always looking for that. That’s what I do. I’m constantly on the lookout. I want to give raises, I want to elevate people, I want to grow them. Also having the tiers. A lot of our clients that we work with, we help build tiers. So for every position in the practice we grow them up to, here’s a beginner dental assistant, here’s an intermediate and here’s an advanced dental assistant and what the pay range is for it and how you can advance to each tier. That way we set clear expectations so that way it’s not these one-on-ones but these one-on-ones definitely tie to it. And so if I know this person wants to get a raise, let’s review this.

0:12:10.3 KD: Let’s look at this, let’s take action on it, let’s see how I can help you get that raise while you’re also helping to grow yourself. So that’s how I like to do these. I do them once a month with the team. I recommend that they just get set. Like I said, ours is the second Monday of every single month. Those are the questions that I ask. That’s how I do it. I have the team member fill it in, I give them my feedback as well. And then we give action items and we review it the following month. So that’s how we do it. In other offices I recommend 15 minutes. It can be a much shorter watered down version of that. You can change up the questions every single month. It really can get fun and creative. But I say really look and be intentional.

0:12:47.4 KD: For me, this is a time for me to connect with my team. This is a time for me to build retention in the team. This is a time for me to get to know them as people. It’s a time for me to help make their personal goals and dreams a reality. That’s what I use my check-in time for. Other people might not. Now if I’ve gotta do like an employee review, those are very different. It’s when we’re basically on probation or we’re needing to do it. I then have set check-ins, we have follow-up, I’ve got specific accountability items I want them to follow up on. It’s a very different type of review. This to me is giving feedback that way. And then twice a year, I do mine in May and November, we do an anonymous survey, where I get feedback from them across the board.

0:13:24.6 KD: I’ve thought about doing the 360 peer review where we all give each other feedback. I just don’t know… I feel like we get a lot of negative feedback. I don’t know that I necessarily wanna do that today. Maybe for my leadership team I’ll for sure do that ’cause I want them to get the feedback from each other. I want them to get uncomfortable conversations. But that’s currently what we do as that. Now, to tell you about bigger practices of what I watch them do is they might meet with each department every quarter. So it’s this month is gonna be dental assistance. This month will be hygienists and then this month they’ll be front office. That way we split up the one-on-ones but we’re still meeting with them every single quarter. And then in really, really large organizations, you definitely delegate it down to your leads.

0:14:03.0 KD: So each person really is checking in with about five people max per month. I get it, it’s over lunch. It is another lunch meeting. But I feel like it’s so important and if you can do it in 15 minute increments, no one really misses their lunch. ‘Cause you can do it at 12:00 to 12:15, 12:15 to 12:30, 12:30 to 12:45, 12:45 to 1:00. You can get four in within an hour. And yes, if someone has something really pressing that they need to talk about, I let them know, “Hey, thank you for sharing this with me. You know, I’ve got another appointment after this, but I wanna schedule it. Let’s schedule next week or let’s schedule tomorrow over lunch. I’m gonna block us an hour ’cause I really wanna make sure we dive into this.” That’s how you’re able to still open up, have them give you the feedback but not run behind as you’re doing lots of those.

0:14:46.3 KD: So I hope too that the listener who wrote in for that, asking about how to do this, that that gives you some ideas on how to do employee reviews, how to set them up. But I really feel like be consistent, care about your team. Understand that this is something that does take time. I mean, it’s a lot of time. I do 30 minutes, I’ve got 10 team members. You can do the math, that’s five hours a month. But I think about that and say, five hours to invest in my team, to not lose team members, to hear about their stressors, to learn great ideas. That to me is worth it because hiring a new employee, losing an employee because I didn’t care about them is way harder than five hours a month. So just think about that. Choose your hard as Britney Stone, one of our amazing consultants would say, choose your hard.

0:15:29.1 KD: And for me, I feel like let me invest in my team members because I believe the secret sauce to success is an incredible team. A team of ownership, a team who elevates themselves, a team who’s held accountable, a team who thrives on accountability and peer-to-peer accountability. A team who has true trust and vulnerability. And you get that through building relationships. And I feel like one-on-ones every month is your relationship builder in a practice. It’s a way to stop the busyness and it’s a way to truly connect, which I believe our society has more need for connection, more need for relationships, and more need for being seen, heard and understood more than ever. So I’d recommend you implement this. If we can help you, if you wanna be like our clients where we help set this up, we customize it for them. We really give them their roadmap and implement this when it’s the appropriate time. I would love to help you, email us [email protected] or go to our website and book a call. Very simple, at thedentalateam.com, up in the right corner, book a call. I know it will change your life. Why do this the hard way when there’s an easy way, you are always one decision away from a completely different life. And as always, thanks for listening. I’ll catch you next time on The Dental A Team Podcast.

0:16:38.5 KD: And that wraps it up for another episode of The Dental A Team Podcast. Thank you so much for listening and we’ll talk to you next time.

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