A dental office is nothing without its office staff, especially if they are cross-trained to help each other. These are the employees that are the first to greet your patients and the last to interact with them, so it’s important to have them working together.
Why should you be cross-training your staff? It gives you the chance to improve efficiency, engage your employees, and give you the scheduling flexibility that you may not always need, but you’ll appreciate it when you do need it.
1. Maximize Efficiency
For a busy office, there are often times when two people are busy checking patients out with a line of patients forming, and one person doing busy work and greeting the occasional patient. If this third staff member is trained on the process to check patients out, then your office’s efficiency will increase and you’ll be able to process payments faster and reduce your patient’s wait times.
Your greeters don’t need to be fully trained in all potential circumstances/situations of closing out a patient’s account. Giving them a brief training allows them to better serve your patients, and if an issue arises, there are other staff members next to them that can help solve the problem. As long as they can accomplish the tasks correctly, they are still helping the office function as efficiently as possible.
2. Engages Employees
Cross-training your office staff helps keep them engaged. It can be challenging to always feel completely engaged with tasks you’ve mastered, and employee well-being is directly correlated to feeling engaged at work, as a 2014 Gallup poll found.
“Each person’s potential extends well beyond his or her job description. And tapping that potential means recognizing how an employee’s unique set of beliefs, talents, goals, and life experiences drives his or her performance, personal success, and well-being.” — Gallup
For your staff that enjoys the challenge of learning new things, additional training can be seen as a reward for their hard work and gives them a higher sense of ownership over the running of the office.
3. Provides Flexibility
Have you seen these scenarios in your dental office?
Your greeter is on break, and while anyone can greet a patient, do they know the correct procedure for checking them in?
- Your point person for insurance issues is sick, and there’s a patient with a question.
- One of the staff members that knows the payment system is going on vacation, and your office manager is having trouble finding coverage.
Each of these scenarios is an example of when flexibility can save your (and your office manager’s) sanity. Having members of your team that are trained in a number of areas gives you the maximum flexibility to place them where you need the coverage without worrying if they can do the job correctly.
Whether you have a large office staff with multiple people in each position or a small staff with primary responsibilities, you can benefit from cross-training your staff. The improved efficiency, engagement, and flexibility better serves your patients while creating a stronger work environment for your employees.