Not a week goes by in which I don’t see at least one post about team members and the trouble they cause us. Sometimes it’s about one person who creates drama, another time it might be about someone drinking on the job and yet another time it might be about two team members who fight all the time.
Of course, ether are those in our profession lucky enough to post that they’ve never had a problem and they have the greatest team members on the planet. However, during my 26 years in practice, I’ve had periods with really great teams and periods with pretty underwhelming ones as well. But, there always seems to be some problem in the HR department, no matter who I’ve hired. And if you’re growing, you generally find yourself having to add team members, which can always upset the chemistry.
It’s an interesting topic because unlike all other areas of our practice lives, the amount of time you put into it doesn’t necessarily correlate to what you get out of it. For instance, if you market well, your practice WILL grow. If you spend a lot of time on continuing education, you WILL become a better clinician. However, if you spend a lot of time on the hiring process, it guarantees you nothing.
Why does the most strife in our professional lives seem to be centered around those we hire?
I have a couple of theories about this but I think it’s mostly about the lack of similarities and professional priorities in our lives. I went to grade 23 to become an orthodontist and most of those in my practice life have never finished college. Note that I am not equating this to intelligence, but rather our commitment to education. I understand that some team members might have become orthodontists had life given them a better chance, but then again, most wouldn’t have. Again, they can be smart and kind, but it doesn’t mean they are committed to professional training and that can be a big deal.
In a town like Dallas, where there is no unemployment, finding the smart and committed employees is tough because really qualified candidates look for similar paying in jobs in other industries which are frankly a whole lot easier and require a whole lot less commitment.
But that doesn’t explain the whole drama thing. In orthodontics, the teams seem to be larger than most other areas of dentistry, and I think the whole simple “numbers” thing plays a role. The more people you have in an office, the more likely you are to have interpersonal conflict, right? But I’ve also seen two employees destroy an office when there’s only been three total employees.
So why can’t most seem to hire and retain the perfect team? Why does this seem to be a topic that seems to cause the greatest trouble and pain in orthodontics and why does there never seem to be a perfect answer to hiring, retaining and placating the perfect team?
I’d love to hear your answers.
All the best,
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