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30th March 2017

3 Key ways to keep your dental team happy

Having started at University with a dental degree and no other support or funding, Andrea Ubhi today has a multi-million-pound business and actively helps a charity that cares for survivors of sex-trafficking in Nepal.

A business woman with many so many impressive accolades must have a mantra to her success, and indeed she does: “a happy and thriving team is an effective and productive team”. Companies with happy employees outperform their competition by 20%, are 12% more productive and take 10x fewer sick days than those who describe themselves as ‘unhappy’. It’s this attitude that won her Best Employer at the prestigious Private Dentistry Awards in 2016.

So how does she run a successful team and maintain the high standard of her practice? Here Andrea offers her advice to keep your dental team happy.


Strategy from the grassroots

Strategy is important in any business, but Andrea understands the need to evaluate and re-evaluate on a regular basis. Not only this, but she also grasps the effectiveness of involving every team member and employee within your strategy. It starts with the people.

Every 6 months a one-on-one meeting is held with every member of the practice. The agenda begins with the aspirations of that individual, their thoughts and ambitions. Andrea then formulates the general strategy around these discussions. This is an ingenious way of gaining the support of those who keep your business going; your business is your employees.

It’s well known that if given your own responsibilities to manage, you are far more likely to produce higher quality work, and care more about the work you’re doing. This is known as the “scrum” team approach and is used by Google, Amazon and the FBI. It is the simple notion that you agree the strategy as a group, and then left to devise your own methods to achieve your goals. At Andrea Ubhi Dentistry this is monitored by using a “to do”, “doing” and “done” area of a whiteboard. This has proved to increase communication and engagement of staff. Engaged employees are 38% more likely to have above-average productivity.

Andrea is keen for every team member to benefit in the success of the practice through bonuses and pay rises to the team as a whole. Compelling evidence shows that employees with a financial interest in the company they work for are far more likely to feel more satisfied and work harder.


On an individual basis

95% of medium sized companies offer flexi-working. On the contrary to employees working less hours, having this flexibility has been found to increase productivity and results in some employees, in particular at managerial level, in fact working longer hours to compensate.

Be genuinely sympathetic to your employee’s needs. If one member of the team has a particularly long commute, for example, avoid penalising them for being 2 minutes late. Instead agree a certain amount of hours they need to work which allows more flexibility. Understanding the importance work-life balance has given Andrea the strength to recognise that a team is far happier and more productive when they have the freedom to work around their personal lives, especially those with children having to do the daily school runs.

Working to an employee’s strengths, rather than weaknesses, has been found to have remarkable results. A Forbes research project in 2014 found that 70-80% of leaders and employees will benefit more by improving what they are doing right. Although weaknesses do need to be addressed, tailoring a role or re-designing a position to suit an employee’s strengths enhances their interest in their work and makes the team as a whole much more engaged and effective.


Team bonding

Take away some of the day-to-day frustrations and you’ll often find the people you work with to be interesting and fun individuals. Andrea has learned that a little celebration hurts nobody. Birthdays, Christmas and awards are acknowledged with a celebratory meals or drinks with the whole team – a great way to unwind and have fun together. Teams that work well together incur lower healthcare costs, have a lower turnover rate.  Plus, 50% of positive changes in communications within the workplace can be attributed to social interaction away from the workplace.


The Evidence

The above strategies are implemented by Andrea at Andrea Ubhi Dentistry, and the results are clear. The positivity shown by her own employees is a testament to how effective management and a positive, happy team results in a more successful business.

Dr Adam Glassford
“Andrea makes time to talk to each of us individually about any proposed changes and always asks for our input on any issues or ideas she has. Andrea makes a great effort to make sure we all know how valued we are.”

Zoe Gilroy – Practice Manager
“In the ten years I have worked for Andrea I have progressed from a trainee dental nurse to senior practice manager. This progression would not have been possible without Andrea, who has always made sure I had the support that I needed.

Carmel Wood – Treatment Coordinator
“When I came for my interview I was told you won’t get that Sunday night feeling, and I can vouch it certainly is true. I feel I’m coming to work and seeing friends.  Everybody looks out for everyone because we all want the same thing – 100% patient care from the moment they walk through to the door to completing their treatment”

Dr Remo Costi – Specialist Orthodontist
“Andrea is my inspiration and role model. She has achieved great things with both her dental practice and referral business. She is a pleasure and a joy to work with.”

Dr Matt Gahan – Specialist in Prosthodontics, Restorative Dentistry, Endodontics, and Periodontics
Andrea is incredibly passionate, not only about providing the highest standard of dentistry for patients, but in making sure that we as a team are happy and working as well as we can.




Andrea Ubhi is director of Andrea Ubhi Dentistry in York, and was the won Best Practice Brand & Design North, Best Employer, Practice of the Year North at the 2016 Private Dentistry Awards.



If you think you’ve had a positive influence on your employees, or know someone that has, nominate them for Best Employer for the 2017 Private Dentistry Awards. Find out more >

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