Managing Your Staff Dynamics and Motivation in Orthodontic Offices

Dental Consultant, Jocelyn Greenky, from Sider Road and Ortho Marketing President, Dean Steinman, discuss staff dynamics and tips to keep your staff motivated. How can you encourage staff, build loyalty, and more productive inter-office staff dynamics?

Note: You can listen to the Ortho Marketing podcast at the end of this article by Jocelyn Greenky.

Running a dental firm is a compelling challenge. A skilled doctor requires a competent and caring staff to ensure all procedures run smoothly and patient care is held at the highest standards. As a result, the practice’s reputation is high, loyalty from staff breathes consistency across the board, and revenues increase year over year.

One area that I hear consistently from doctors is the difficulty of working with a non-engaged staff. As a result, it drags the doctor out of the operatory and into areas in which he or she would rather not spend time on.

Staff Dynamics 101: How to Ensure Orthodontic Staff is Engaged?

The are many answers. But let’s start with the gift of education.

Education begets trust. Trust begets loyalty. Loyalty begets respect. Respect begets a positive reputation. A positive reputation begets more and more patients.

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Answer: Training. Training. Training.

When the staff is consistently trained on a schedule for the year, they WELCOME the knowledge. The information provides boundaries, protocols, and processes in which they all must adhere for the sake of themselves, patients, and the practice.

It’s a breath of fresh air for them because it’s written and reviewed. Less screw-up. In addition, they are accountable.

Creating and Adhering to Protocols

These are well thought out written instructions of every area of a company and how it should perform. I would always suggest including the staff’s opinions as this enables them to feel that their opinion counts and has a stake in how the practice runs.

Listening is Orthodontic Staff is Key

You don’t need to take their suggestion, but listening is the key.

Training begins with either online videos, a 3rd party (such as Sider Road), or the business manager performing at least twice a year or every single quarter and, of course, when a new employee starts.

There should be a piece of paper ready for signature that the employee understands and will adhere to the protocols. This goes for a practice of five people to 500.


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What Should Orthodontists Do Next?

Rewards: Rewarding the staff as they perform exceptionally can happen in many forms.

Here are some suggestions:

Moola: It works

Education: Who wouldn’t want a gift certificate to a one-day course on wine 101 or any other subject that you KNOW that particular staff member loves.

Ad in local paper or online: Take out a local ad using all their names and publicly declaring your delight with their performance. They will love it. It’s a cheap and cheerful way to make them happy and advertise yourself.

Note: This showcases that the doctor cares about them as people and professionals.

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More Tips for Orthodontists

Last two points: the doctor must be consistent in mood and work habits to gain respect from their team. Period.

Second: the doctor should use the staff’s names as often as possible. We all love to hear our name, and asking after staff’s family and major milestones of their family moments will earn major brownie points.

Motivations Beyond Moola

If you need motivation beyond salary:

1. Bring a dog or pet to work. It reduces stress for everyone, including the pet.

2. Be consistent with your tactics mentioned above. Don’t start, do it, then forget, mention you forgot, delay, and pick up again. Even if you can do it 2x a year to start, it’s a start.

3. Do something fun. Recently I put in a negative jar in a doctor’s office because the first response to suggestions was always met with “can’t happen” or “not here.”

Enough! I need to hear, “let me think about it.”

Reach out to Sider Road by email at: for assistance.

We are a dedicated team of professionals who have YOUR practice as our focal point of success.


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Listen to the Ortho Marketing Podcast with Dean Steinman and Jocelyn Greenky below: