How to Create a Positive Team Culture in Your Practice

Edineth Bonilla, CDA, RDA, FAADOM, with text, "Real-world insights from AADOM authors"

  • Are you currently experiencing tension on your team?
  • Or perhaps lack of motivation?
  • Does your team seem excited to be in the office?

Team culture plays a huge role in a successful practice.

The same effort and priority we put into our practice, patients, and marketing should also be applied to our team culture!

I’m sure we can all agree, that a huge lesson learned in 2020 is that we cannot do this alone. We need to create a positive team culture where we share the same end goal, a thriving and vibrant practice.

Hiring a rock star team member as well as retaining your talented team is of course important, however, I believe the first step to improving team culture is getting to know each other better.

Do you ever wonder who “Susy” is, outside of being your amazing treatment coordinator? What is Susy’s favorite food? Does she have a hobby or pets? Where did she grow up?

I believe it’s vital for us as managers to know something special and unique about each of our team members. If we treat them as individuals, more like family and not just employees, team culture improves.

Tips for improving team culture

One of the best ways to build the culture of your team is to participate in activities outside of the practice. Bring your team together in casual settings where they can relax and get to know each other.

Holding a team-building day quarterly is ideal. If you can swing quarterly, definitely plan something a minimum of twice a year. Bringing the team together around the holidays is always a nice time to celebrate the success of the year.

Here are some ideas for team building activities outside of your practice:

  • Bowling
  • Attend a Broadway Show
  • Host a Paint & sip party
  • Team dinner with Karaoke
  • Yoga Session
  • Spa Day
  • Sports Game–local or professional
  • Beach Day
  • Movie Night
  • Concerts
  • Museum Trip
  • Group Bike Ride
  • Cooking Class
  • Axe throwing venue
  • Candle Making
  • Pottery making party
  • Escape rooms (these are great team exercises)
  • Amusement parks
  • Happy Hour / Dinner

Bringing the team together for these activities helps build improved:

  • communication
  • trust
  • collaboration
  • listening
  • memories to improve bonds in the office

Our practice scheduled a paint and sip session for the team. To my surprise, the following day, the team was full of conversation about our outing and where they featured their paintings at home.

Soon after, I noticed a shift in the dynamic within the team; some of the team members who had previously not interacted prior to the painting session, were now having small talk and sharing laughs.

One of our new team members expressed that she felt much more confident around her teammates since the outing. These types of activities not only build the relationships between your team, but also help reduce stress and burnout.

Ultimately, our goal is to have a team that is happy and feels supported in our practice.

Team members want to be appreciated and encouraged to succeed; what better way than creating time for everyone to interact and feel valued?

Meet the Author

Edineth Bonilla, CDA, RDA, FAADOM

Edineth Bonilla’s career in dentistry began six years ago as an RDA and evolved from there.

Today, she is the practice manager at Jersey City Pediatric Dentistry.… Opens in a new window to jcpdentistry website…

She has been an AADOM member since 2018 and was inducted as a Fellow in 2020.

She loves all things dentistry, but when she isn’t at work, she likes to work on puzzles, play board games, cook, and spend time with her fiancé.

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