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Recognition & Appreciation in the Workplace

As the workplace continues to gain a new generation of employees, it has become all the more important to understand what the priorities of employees are. It’s not always what you think – while compensation, hours, and location are all still important, other factors at play are often overlooked that can make or a break an employees decision to stay or go. Two of these key aspects that are not always front and center in the workplace are appreciation and recognition.

According to a Global Workplace Study, 78% of U.S. workers reported that being recognized motivates them at their job*. But how do you acknowledge and recognize your team members, especially in a dental office? The morning huddle is a powerful tool to not only talk about your day and prepare for your patients, but also to shout each other out for the great things that have been going on in the office. It starts the day on a positive note and puts employees in the mindset to take on the day and make a difference. This doesn’t have to be limited to the dental office – any business can benefit from a morning huddle.

Something exciting that DecisionOne Dental Partners is able to do due to being a group practice is to recognize on a larger scale. Once a year we shut down our practices in order to gather everyone together for a large meeting together. We think of it as a family reunion and treat it as such – a day full of fun, friendship, learning, and of course recognition. This year’s meeting took place just a few weeks ago and we were proud to launch our M.A.D.E. awards – Making A Difference Everyday! We looked at all aspects of our offices and acknowledged business and organizational improvements as well as aspirational awards – we recognized our top volunteers in the company and we gave our team members an opportunity to acknowledge one another in our peer-to-peer award. We know praise from the top is great but sometimes it’s knowing how much our co-workers appreciate us that can make all the difference. I got to read each and every nomination and was so touched to hear all the wonderful things going on at our offices.

This year at our annual D1 Rally we also began a program to acknowledge service anniversaries. DecisionOne Dental Partners was officially formed in 2011, so we took this time to acknowledge 3 and 5 year service anniversaries and gave exclusive gifts out as a token of our appreciation. We know there are plenty of other dental offices out there, so we want to take a moment to thank our long term team members. After all, millennials who are engaged in their workplace -- which includes recognition and appreciation – are 64% less likely to switch jobs.**

The same Global Workplace Study on recognition also stressed the importance of appreciation - 69% of employees said they would work harder if they felt their efforts were better appreciated*. Everyone loves a free lunch, but after a while that doesn’t give a lasting feeling of fulfillment and appreciation, it just becomes Pizza Friday. So how else can we show appreciation for our employees? One of the most successful ways we’ve found to appreciate our team members is by hosting events for them. Currently we have three annual appreciation-focused events for our team members.

1. Company Rally 2. Company Picnic 3. Holiday Parties

I mentioned some of the recognition aspects of our company rally above, but a huge part of the event is also focused on appreciation. We look at our Rally as a way for our team members to get to meet, put names to faces, and to feel inspired and rejuvenated in not only their professional lives but their personal lives. This year we had an amazing lineup of speakers – best-selling author Garry Poole, culture expert Jeanne Malnati of both The Culture Group and Lou Malnati’s Pizza, former Executive Vice-President of Walt Disney World Lee Cockerell, & advocate for persons with disabilities Frank Stephens. Beyond our speakers impactful messages, our team members also had a chance to participate in a photo scavenger hunt that left us with priceless photos of our team members having a blast interacting together and getting a little competitive. If you want to check those out, just search the hashtag #D1Rally2018 over on Instagram. What wasn’t included in our meeting? Numbers, systems, and other business that, while very important, wasn’t the message of the day. Our message was that our team members are valued, important, and we wanted to inspire and excite them. Business can (and does) come at another time.

We also hold two other annual events – our company picnic and our holiday parties. This year will be our fourth annual company picnic, and it’s known for being a low key way for our work families and our actual families to meet! We encourage spouses, kids, and other family members to join us for a day of fun in the sun. I know a picnic can sound intimidating to plan, but we have found that the simpler it is, the better time is had by all. Get a bounce house, music, some great food, and a few lawn games and you’re set for a great time by all.

Our holiday parties are our final piece of the puzzle. We have found that alternating years for our parties has had the best effect – one year we gather together as one big group to celebrate together, and on alternate years our offices all have their own party. Both types of parties lead to camaraderie and a great opportunity to relax and have fun with your fellow team members outside of the confines of the dental practice. Again we

​know planning these types of items can be intimidating, but we have found the best practice for our individual parties has been to give a per person budget to each office and let them plan their own parties. This way each office has the kind of party they want and everyone has a great time without the planning headache.

While this formula has proven successful, we know there are plenty of other ways out there to acknowledge and appreciate your employees. We want to hear from you - how is your company doing this?

One last thing – if you’re a dentist who thinks this sounds like the right environment for you and your employees to thrive, be recognized, and be appreciated, we want to hear from you. Send me a message or contact Mike Olson, our Acquisitions Director, for a free and confidential practice evaluation. He can be reached at 708-465-1908 or

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