Planning team meetings

Author: Dr. Aisling Whitaker, CEO Dental Hive

Running a dental clinic involves wearing many hats, putting out many fires and multi-tasking. In the busy-ness of it all, it is easy to forget about the importance of touching base with your team and re-engaging them. A key component of team retention is staying connected with each person and making them feel heard and valued. A good place to start is regular team meetings. Here are some steps you can take today


Step 1: Pre-schedule group & individual meetings

It can be hard to find time day to day, so pre-plan and prioritize it. Add blocks to your schedule now for a few months out, and plan the entire year (or more). 

We block off two 2-hour group team meetings, one every 6 months. These are re-grouping sessions where we cover general updates to the clinic and protocols. We also use the opportunity to role play a few medical emergencies.

Individual one-on-one meetings should be scheduled for new team members at 6 weeks, 3 months (end of probation), 6 months and then annually thereafter. These meetings focus on the performance of the individual and the plan for their professional development. 

Training and Lunch & Learn sessions should be dotted in the mix also. Find out from your team what they want to know more about and invite reps to come in and teach. If the dentist or clinic has started a new treatment or taken major training, we block off an entire day to onboard the team on their specific roles in that new treatment or protocol. For example, if the dentist is taking a botox training course, consider blocking off a number of hours in the following week to update the entire team while the information is fresh. 

If you have a large team with the ability to divide into departments (hygiene, assistants etc.), consider having separate meetings to delve into specific topics more deeply. 

Lastly, a quarterly management meeting is critical. Use this time to review financials, goal-setting for the clinic and making protocol changes. Plan for success. 


Step 2: Inform your team

Let your team know in advance about the upcoming training sessions. Have a schedule for meetings and training sessions posted on the staff room bulletin board. Record your sessions using Zoom or Teams, and keep them in an archive to return to. 


Step 3: Collect anonymous feedback

Two weeks ahead of the meeting, collect feedback and ideas from your team. You can use services such as survey monkey to find out how your team really feel about what they want to learn and whether there are any storms coming.


Step 4: Have an agenda

Make this time useful and informative. Create a structure for your meetings and circulate your agenda a few days before the meeting. Make the meeting meaningful for the people in it. For example, a full team meeting shouldn’t just focus on production. A primary goal is motivating and re-engaging your team. Avoid criticism and presenting in a way that is one-sided. Think about how you can demonstrate positive leadership and re-vitalise your team for the next time period. 


Where to start? The first step is setting aside the time. So go to your schedule today and start blocking of the time. Keep an eye on our resources section for more helpful tips on meetings and team engagement.

About the Author: Dr. Aisling Whitaker, BA (Hons) MSc PhD BDS (Hons)
Dr. Aisling Whitaker is a general dentist, owner of multiple dental clinics Bitehaus Dental in Toronto and CEO of Dental Hive. Dr. Whitaker is experienced in starting a dental clinic from scratch, developing marketing campaigns, office systems and building a strong team culture.

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