HR (Human Resources), to Develop or Not to Develop…Don’t Let That Be the Question

As I thought about this post, I wondered if I was qualified to speak to the topic of HR in the actual dental office. Then I reminded myself, as a business person and a manager of a team for over 20 years, I consistently deal with employees, day-to-day “fires,” unplanned situations, etc. Developing an effective business team does not change from one business to the next, whether you own your own coffee shop, manage in a large corporation, or yes, own your own dental practice – we all know if you do not have an effective team, your business suffers.

Human resources is about attracting, developing and retaining the very best people to grow your business (practice). Simply put, human resources is about your people, your investment in human capital. Given that HR is indeed about your people and it’s widely
accepted that your people are your best competitive advantage in today’s economy, isn’t it time that dentistry embraces HR as a critical part of practice management strategy? Studies show that 70% of poor business performance is a result of poor strategy and only 4% is a result of economic conditions, so doesn’t it make sense to spend quality time setting and adjusting your strategic plan to stay flexible, productive and most importantly, profitable?

A study by the Harvard Business Review showed 95% of employees don’t understand their company’s strategies. How can your team support your practice’s strategies if they don’t understand what they are? Without a clear and shared direction, great talent can be, and frequently is, misdirected and your business will not reach its full potential. Steve Jobs offered great insight on the power of understanding focus when he said, “People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’re focused on, but that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that are there. You have to pick carefully.”

Typically, practice management is thought to be about having the right systems in place in the key areas of the practice. Systems and protocols are defined in great detail, training is conducted and team meetings held. When results are disappointing, the natural response is to focus again on the training and systems. Dennis Mankin, CEO of Platinum Performance Partners, helps us understand that we in business are much too focused on putting solutions in front of people. That’s why we have so many solutions in place that teams simply don’t follow. Come on, you can relate – how many of you have an outstanding SOP manual sitting on a shelf collecting dust? Systems alone don’t achieve results, people do!

When you make HR a part of your strategic planning, you are putting people first, getting their input and commitment and creating a game-changing moment that will drive the results you’re looking for. You need to create an environment that clearly defines outcomes, removes the barriers and supports the processes that enable achievement of results. One of the best management quotes I’ve seen to date is from John Foster Dulles: “The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year.”

You may feel that your business (practice) is not large enough for a dedicated HR department. Maybe so, but don’t let that keep you from developing an effective strategy to grow your team and ultimately your business. At Patterson, we pride ourselves on being your dental practice resource. For that reason we are happy to now offer a full line of HR resources from Ginny Hegarty, SPHR, an HR specialist with over 25 years of experience in the dental industry.

Check out this full line of resources today at The question is clearly not whether to develop your team, but rather, what is taking you so long?