No doubt your team, like you, are a bit distracted during the holidays. End-of-year production goals, scheduling patients to maximize their insurance benefits combined with multiplied family and personal commitments throughout your team can impact productivity.
Showing appreciation energizes your staff and has lasting value. However it’s expressed, it will be felt for months long after the holiday decorations have been packed away.
Put it in writing
It’s common to text or email an appreciative note for a job well done. The sentiment is certainly appreciated, but is it memorable?
Pen on paper carries a bit more weight in these days of efficient, one-off, electronic communication. Ink reveals a thoughtful time investment.
Customize your words of appreciation to each recipient. Focus on their unique contributions to the practice and highlight specific wins and achievements they’ve contributed.
Use plain or personalized stationery. A holiday card, though seasonally appropriate, can appear obligatory.
Productivity increases by 50% when managers invest time in expressing gratitude to team members, according to the Wharton School of Business.
Provide stress relief
Who doesn’t feel additional stress during the holidays? According to Healthline, over 60% of employees feel their stress goes up during the holiday season.  Spending, family commitments, the occasional longer work hours, and travel take their toll.
Treat your team to a “spa day.” Bring in a licensed massage therapist during the lunch hour for shoulder, neck, and back massages. Provide gift certificates to a local nail salon for use after hours.
Here’s a unique idea with a holiday theme. Provide a gift-wrapping zone in your office.
Supply free, quality wrapping paper, tape, scissors, bows, etc. Invite your staff to bring their unwrapped gifts to work and use their lunch break to complete a common holiday task. 
Food also brings people together. Free food forms an appreciative bond among your team members.
Provide snacks throughout holidays. And keep dietary preferences in mind, such as employees who require vegetarian or gluten free options.
Order in, especially during heavy schedule days. Your team will appreciate the convenience, availability, and cost savings.
Roll up your sleeves
Giving back to your community as a team builds camaraderie. Provide volunteer opportunities that your employees can do together.
Give up an afternoon or full day of production to provide free dental services to your community. Serving others will do wonders for feelings of heaviness or depression that often accompany the holiday season.
Toy drives, serving a meal at a local shelter, or sponsoring a local family or organization in need can also build team morale. Serve together (outside of your daily routine) and you’ll improve your daily patient-service routine.
Use or adapt these ideas. And listen to how your team members like to be appreciated…and respond accordingly.
Appreciation is vital to your dental team culture all year. Use the holidays to form new benchmarks that will energize your team throughout the year.
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