Attention dental offices! Did you know that Dental Assistant Recognition Week is coming up in a few short weeks?
(For our eye care and medical practices...Paraoptometric Recognition Week is in September and Medical Assistant Recognition Week is in October. Mark your calendars!)
If not, don’t feel badly. You’re not alone. I’m terrible at remembering even names, which naturally means that I’m even worse at remembering important dates. You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve shamefully joined the last-minute losers standing in front of the Hallmark section at the grocery store near my house.
Fortunately, it’s not too late. You still have time to show appreciation for the dental assistants in your office.
Remember: employees of any sort perform better and are more likely to go the extra mile when they feel appreciated. Recognizing their effort also boosts morale and encourages team unity - both things that make your office a better place to be and a more efficient practice.
Take the time and forethought to recognize the dental assistants in your office and everyone will benefit. Below are a few tips on celebrating Dental Assistant Recognition Week.
1. Make Your Appreciation Visible
Go for flowers, balloons, and/or banner across or behind the front desk. Recognition that is visible to everyone will make your dental assistant feel especially appreciated. It’s also a great way to get the week started and set the tone for a week of recognition. If it’s visible and obvious enough, even your patients will get into the spirit. Appreciating your dental assistants has the added benefit of improving patient satisfaction. Everyone loves a good dental assistant!
2. Make Your Appreciation Personal
Single each assistant out and thank them for something they personally contribute to the practice. Take time to pull them aside and address them on an individual level to let them know that you appreciate what they do. It doesn’t need to be a scheduled event, just a moment of one-on-one conversation. If you aren’t good on the spot, scrawl a thank you on a card.
Not only will it make them feel that your recognition and appreciation is genuine, it will also help you. It can be easy to get swept up in the Big Office Picture, so step back and consider the things you appreciate about them. Just a kind word of gratitude can go a long way.
3. Make Your Appreciation a Celebration
Take an hour out of the week to have everyone step out of their formal roles and laugh together. Bring in lunch for the team. Have everyone wear party hats. Get a cake (or go with a healthier option!) Throw confetti on the desk. Make a toast to the dental assistants and let them know that you couldn’t do it without them.
4. Make Your Appreciation Tangible
It doesn’t have to be much, but this is a good time to spend a little cash to show them how important they are. Dental assistants are a critical part of any dental team, and they have a huge impact on patient experience. Unless you have time and great ideas for individual gifts, go for gift cards. If no one in the office has insight on your assistants’ favorite shopping location, go with the safe bet: most malls will allow you to get a gift card that works in any shop in the directory.
5. Make Your Appreciation a Conscious Thought
Even if you don’t do something every day, keep recognizing them all week long. Throw a grin and a, “Have I mentioned how great you are yet today?” their direction every few hours. Add, “Oh… and Happy Dental Assistant Recognition Week!” at the end of random interactions during the day.
My favorite idea? Grab a card for every day they work during the week. It doesn’t have to be fancy, you can even get some paper and make your own with a colored marker (the worse you are at making cards, the more they will get a kick out of it!) Every day, write one thing you appreciate about them. By the end of the week, they’ll come in to the office looking forward to the next card.
Celebrate Dental Assistant Recognition Week. Once it begins, they will feel recognized, appreciated, and even more motivated to be the kind of assistant that deserves your praise!
Did you know that one of the best ways to improve the satisfaction of your staff is to improve patient satisfaction? Happy patients reduce stress on staff. Check out this checklist, "7 Research-Backed Steps to a Patient-Friendly Practice" and make everyone happy!