All-Star Dental Academy Founder and CEO Alex Nottingham JD MBA speaks with All-Star’s Director of Hiring and VP of Coaching Robyn Reis.
In today’s fast-paced business world, it’s more important than ever to ensure your team is engaged and thriving in the workplace. Disengaged teams can lower productivity and morale, making it difficult to succeed on a larger scale. In this podcast, we’re talking about how to foster an environment in which your team can thrive.
Our guest is Robyn Reis, director of hiring and VP of Coaching at Allstar Dental Academy, who has experience guiding hundreds of practices in the areas of administration, marketing, HR, hiring, and team culture.
Robyn will take us through what it means to Thrive at Work and why it’s important to practice success. We’ll also discuss what steps you can take to start engaging and motivating your team right away. Finally, Robyn will give you one simple thing you can do tomorrow that will make a big difference in the workplace environment. By the end of the podcast, you’ll have a better understanding of how to create a thriving workspace that both you and your team will look forward to every day!
- [00:10] Introducing today’s topic and guest
- [02:19] What does thriving at work mean?
- [03:46] Why is this important for the dental team?
- [06:02] Work-life Balance: Make the Most of Your Precious Time
- [14:32] How the office environment and your coworkers affect your ability to thrive
- [18:38] Why is investing in your team important?
- [26:12] What is All-Star Hiring?
- [30:17] What’s the one thing you can do tomorrow in your workplace to become more engaged
- Thriving at work means enjoying the people we work with, enjoying the work we’re doing, having opportunities for growth and learning, and being energized and motivated by the actual meaningful work we do.
- When you work in an environment that you’re energized with and are motivated by, you tend to have less stress.
- Gallup just came out with a report saying that three-quarters of the workforce is disengaged.
- We have to get okay first for the patients to be okay.
- As a leader, you have to make those investments in the team. And it’s not just financial, but also time.
- If you think good employees are expensive, try bad employees.
Robyn is the Director of Hiring and VP of Coaching at All-Star Dental Academy. She is also a certified HR consultant with Bent Ericksen & Associates and guest faculty at The Pankey Institute. She helps hundreds of practices with practice administration, marketing, HR, hiring, and team culture.
Alex Nottingham JD MBA
Alex is the CEO and Founder of All-Star Dental Academy®. He has authored the dental practice game-changer book “Dental Practice Excellence” and co-wrote a bestselling book with Brian Tracy. Alex has shared the stage with Michael Gerber (the author of “The E–Myth Revisited”), and lectures nationally and internationally to prestigious dental organizations. He is a former Tony Robbins top coach and consultant, having worked with companies upwards of $100 million. His passion is to help others create personal wealth and make a positive impact on the people around them. Alex received his Juris Doctor (JD) and Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from Florida International University.
Transcript performed by A.I. Please excuse the typos.
[0:02:23] ALEX NOTTINGHAM: Okay, let’s start with the simplest question, which is, what does thriving at work really mean?
[0:02:32] ROBYN REIS: That’s such a great question. I know you and I have talked about this a lot. Lots of things to do with hiring and practices, growing and trying to find team members. But truly, when we think about what does the term itself thrive define as? It’s defined as a steady progress of growing, flourishing, prospering growing? When you think of something like a plant thriving, it’s got sun and food and nourishment, that’s exactly what we humans need in our work environment. So thriving at work really means having the ability to really enjoy the people we work with, enjoy the work that we’re doing, have opportunities for growth and learning and being energized and motivated by the actual meaningful work that we do.
[0:03:27] ALEX NOTTINGHAM: Totally makes sense. Totally makes sense. And that’s not often the case in dental offices or work in general.
[0:03:34] ROBYN REIS: True. And it’s also thriving at work also means having your own sense of well being as well. And I know that that’s a missing piece right now in a lot of practices.
[0:03:50] ALEX NOTTINGHAM: Thriving at work. Why is this important for the dental team to thrive and for the dentist? Because now, of course, you and I are very optimistic, and we believe that work is something that should bring us joy. And if it’s not bringing us joy, then it’s not working. It’s not right. But that’s not always the case. Many feel this is a job. I go clock in, clock out, and a lot of dentists complain, I wish the team took they were stakeholders, and they took it like it was their own business versus just, I got to go.
[0:04:28] ROBYN REIS: Yes, we hear that a lot of times, don’t we? I just wish my team would take ownership exactly.
[0:04:35] ALEX NOTTINGHAM: Well, and you’re talking about a whole new level of objective in the workplace.
[0:04:41] ROBYN REIS: Yeah, absolutely. And why doctors want teams to thrive? Why do they want them to take ownership? Well, really, when you work in an environment that you’re energized with and are motivated by, you tend to have less stress, right? You don’t burn out. You have better job satisfaction. And of course, there are tons of research and studies out there that really demonstrate and prove this. And who doesn’t want to have a happy, fun, motivating job where you’re less stressed and you have happy employees? I mean, ask any dentist that’s exactly what’s on their number one list of what they want is they want a happy team. They want an engaged team.
They want people to take ownership and initiative. And when you think about those terms, if you’re listening right now and you don’t have that in your environment, then what I would encourage you to do is, if you’re a team member, talk to your doctor about how can you influence change? If something’s not working, how can you influence change? And it’s so important for leaders and managers to be really aware of the team that they have in front of them. And if they aren’t engaged, if there seems to be a lack of motivation, stop and ask the question.
[0:06:08] ALEX NOTTINGHAM: And this speaks to a work life balance because often absolutely, it speaks to a work. Right. The traditional way of work is I have work, I have family, and one sucks. Well, sucks less. But in general, the idea, again, being optimistic as we are, and from a lot of the research, the goal is to since we spend most of our day at work for many years, why not make it fun? Why not make it enjoyable? Part of that work life balance, part of gosh, now I’m getting psychological, self actualization and spiritual or personal growth as a part of that. So speak to me about that.
[0:06:52] ROBYN REIS: What you found it was funny, Alex, is I know you and I have had numerous conversations about those self affirmations and the mantras that we have, and the meditation that we do. And there is such great value in that. And I know some people might be thinking, well, that’s kind of voodoo, voodoo, whatever, but we know that it’s true because again, research, psychology, all of it knows that it really starts with us, right? It starts within us. And we have to have that great sense of well being and understanding. I’m deserving of a good job, I’m deserving of a good wage, and I’m deserving of success and happiness.
Of course, the state of hiring and dentistry right now, as we all well know, is the wild west. Some parts of the country are doing really, really well with talent. Other companies or other parts of the country. It is a desert. And so we’ve heard this term too in the HR world and in a lot of articles about the quote, quiet quitting, which really is talking about there are teams that are skeleton crews, positions aren’t being filled, so people are being burdened with more and more and more responsibility. And because the practice business is already strapped financially, a lot more money isn’t coming that way either. And so it’s leading to burnout. And the quiet quitting is people staying, but just not going the extra mile anymore. They’re doing the bare minimum. And truly, it’s survival mode. And I think there’s a lot of people that can relate to what survival mode is all about. It’s doing the absolute bare minimum, minimum just to get by.
And we want to help teams get beyond that. They have to work through it. That’s part of the adversity. And being able to thrive or get to the other side where you thrive, where you are energized and motivated. And it is getting through that tough time together. And how teams are adapting to that is they are looking for ways to increase morale, cross training, learning a new skill that again leads to the well being of if leaders and managers are willing to empower their team. By giving them new assignments and new learning and cross training through different divisions.
Digital scanning or photography or learning how to bill or learning how to make appointments or absolutely. Something as simple as, hey, I’d like to learn how to schedule better. It’s really leading to teams that are being more engaged. And when Gallup just came out with a report that says pretty much three quarters of the workforce are disengaged, that’s a problem. That’s a problem that we need to pay attention to.
[0:09:49] ROBYN REIS: And the solutions can be so simple.
[0:09:54] ALEX NOTTINGHAM: Yeah, I’m thinking about whenever this also goes to happiness studies, that when you’re learning a new skill, it helps with happiness. And we talked about before, right? Voodoo, whatever. What we look at is what does the science say, what do the numbers say, and when? For example, like you said, if we invest in our team, we know dentists invest in themselves, typically, especially ce, not as much practice management, but many are.
And then it’s, can we bring our team into these business skills and even going deeper? Part of business overlay is the soft skills, the emotional intelligence. And what we find is when they learn a new skill, they feel and this is very important in terms of on your department of hiring and retention, when they feel more competent, they will perform better, they will want to stay. They’ll be less disengaged, they’ll be more engaged, and the doctor will be grateful to have that team member. So we have to make those investments in our team and lead. This is leadership, because it’s interesting. I think about my son when I tell him what to do. It’s funny. This is a little joke, and I’ll probably say it again in future podcasts.
My father always said to me, because I was a pain in the you know what, you get a boy. He said, I hope you get a child just like you. Right? I’ve softened over the years, and sure enough, I did. And I love it because I know exactly how he thinks. I know how to manipulate. You can’t go to him and say, do this. You have to manipulate his environment. Okay? And then, OOH, isn’t this fun? Right? And so this is the same idea with the team. We have to create an environment for them, not tell them what to do, not say, like, so I’ll give you an example.
Online training. One of the things that we do or coaching or events or whatever that might be, we say, you’re going to do this or you have to get better. They’re going to be like, oh, or no, but if we do it like a child, we create the environment, it’s going to be fun. They start saying, wow, this is amazing. This doctor is thinking about me. I feel more confident in what I’m doing, because, again, dentists that are listening, you train a lot. It’s second nature to learn new skills. A a lot of team members may be afraid of it because they’re afraid of failure, but once they get a taste of that success and that encouragement, they want more of it. Like, even my son, oh, I got an A, I want to do it again. So it’s the same idea.
So you have to kind of moderate that, and that’s part of leadership and being aware and back to the subject of engagement.
[0:12:33] ROBYN REIS: Right.
[0:12:33] ALEX NOTTINGHAM: It’s not like, hey, it’s a holistic approach and following through. So you hit the nail on the head, Robin.
[0:12:41] ROBYN REIS: Absolutely.
[0:12:42] ALEX NOTTINGHAM: With your research.
[0:12:43] ROBYN REIS: And Alex, again, with the practices that we work with, they know patients aren’t number one. It’s counterintuitive. Right. But they know that their team members are number one. And if they take really good care of their team members, the team members will take great care of the patients.
[0:13:00] ALEX NOTTINGHAM: And it makes sense.
[0:13:01] ROBYN REIS: Totally does make sense.
[0:13:03] ALEX NOTTINGHAM: I know you’re a mom, and it’s like, if mom isn’t good, the children aren’t good. So you sound like, oh, well, the team is number one. That’s so mean. The patients are number one. The patients will not be taking care of the team will not take care of patients if they’re not okay.
[0:13:19] ROBYN REIS: Right.
[0:13:20] ALEX NOTTINGHAM: So we have to get okay first for the patients to be okay, if that makes sense.
[0:13:25] ROBYN REIS: Absolutely. And that goes back to the thriving about giving team members opportunities for growth, for fulfillment, for finding things that really do bring joy and happiness to their work. Flexibility, autonomy. A lot of that goes hand in hand. You talk about directing Zachary and telling him what to do, and that doesn’t go well as adults. Same thing. Right. It’s really inviting team members to learn.
It’s really encouraging them to want to learn. And that is through a very more creative approach than that. Authoritarian. You have to do this. And as my daughter always repeated to me was, well, you’re not the boss of me.
[0:14:13] ALEX NOTTINGHAM: We’re all kids. When you go down to it, it’s younger kids, older kids, or more seasoned kids. We’re all kids. We all have a little kid inside, and we got to be mindful of that. Right?
[0:14:24] ROBYN REIS: Indeed.
[0:14:26] ALEX NOTTINGHAM: Heather gets sometimes she’s like she’ll get upset, and she’s like, oh, hurt my feelings, or whatever, but you look like such a tough guy. But yeah, I’m still a little kid inside. I may look like, but inside were little kids. Now, we are building on this, the office environment and your coworkers. How does the office environment and your coworkers affect your ability to thrive? Tell me about that. Well, you did speak a little bit about it, but kind of build on.
[0:14:53] ROBYN REIS: A little bit more. Yeah, great question. And that really is at the heart of practices that thrive and those that don’t. And again, going back to what Gallup and other research Forbes articles, business articles come out about the state of disengagement with team members is the environment is huge in helping develop thriving cultures within the practice. And those leaders and managers that get it. Here’s what they’re doing.
Instead of exit interviews, when people resign, they’re having stay interviews. That’s what they’re called in the HR world, where they’re having regular check in conversations, not about work performance, not about a project or a mistake you made. It is, hey, Alex, let’s just spend ten minutes. What’s going on in your world? How can I best support you? What else can you think of that you need from work that maybe you’re not getting?
It is just I am connecting with you as a human, and I want to know, how can I make your job better? Just had a call with one of my hiring specialists. Just checking in. Hey, how’s it going? You mentioned on our last call you were super busy. Can I support you? What’s happening in your world? How is work affecting your personal life and just having those great conversations. I’m learning more and more about each one of the people I work with. And we don’t even get to work in an office together.
So the beauty of working inside an office is you see these people every day, and so you really know. But it’s part of that stay interview finding out how can we create a more thriving culture to keep our team members happy. Lots of conversations that we have with applicants who are looking to make a change is they don’t feel appreciated. They’re getting burned out. They’re asking to do more things and just not getting the recognition and appreciation.
And as we’ve always talked about thank you goes a very long way. Other practices are learning to do team building activities outside the practice, but also inside. Learning together is another great way for people to come together and get to know one another. Those teams that learn together, grow together.
[0:17:17] ALEX NOTTINGHAM: And I can build on that. That’ll be a good time. Because I had a question later to ask about is our practice Growth Summit? Is May 19 and 20 correct? And it’s going to be beautiful. Lago Mar in South Florida. And last year, you were part of the core, as you always are, and you’ll be here as well, building on this subject of thriving in the workplace. One of the things that I really was special, and certainly people were mesmerized about your hiring protocol, and we’ll talk about that in a moment.
It was also fun, the games that you come up with. Can I mention the last game? Because you’re not going to do the same one again. But you had us put these plates on our back, and people would write nice things about you, and at the end you would read them. It was so beautiful. And these were not even just your office, it was other offices. And people remember these things. And I remember, again, we had great reviews every year.
And it speaks to that the team is just so appreciative, and they’re looking to go back and they’re learning and they’re having fun. And I think it’s part of that. You were mentioning about, again, investing in a team, creating those team building outside the office. Why is that important? Because, again, as a dentist, there’s time and money and to do these things, why do this? What does it do for an office?
Again, if I’m listening or considering something like this with my team, I think.
[0:19:02] ROBYN REIS: The question is more, why not? Why aren’t you investing in your team? Why aren’t you creating opportunities for people to learn and grow? It’s not a judgment, it’s just a question, a curiosity. Because again, we get to see a lot of those practices that are doing the right things. They’re creating the culture. One of our All Star members says point blank, you have to be an A to stay. And that really sets the expectation for team members that he’s not going to tolerate less than, and everybody on his team is 100% committed, engaged, and wanting to take the practice forward.
And so that’s, again, why leaders and managers really have to pay attention to who they’re onboarding and who is on their team. Those practices that have long term team members 20, 30, 40 years, it still takes time and still takes intention to ask the question, how are you doing? How can I support you? What would you like to learn, and how can I make that happen for you? So it’s, again, recognizing people as people and that they have lives outside of the practice, but when they’re in the practice, making sure that they have an environment where they are motivated, they are energized, they have the flexibility, the autonomy and opportunities, again, for growth.
[0:20:30] ALEX NOTTINGHAM: Yeah. And I think about dentists as leaders, and I think there’s like two parts to this, right? So as you say, you have to be an A to stay. That’s the second part of it. Meaning as a leader, you have to make those investments in the team. And it’s not just financial, because it’s also remember, it’s doctor time because that’s production time lost. If we’re going to train either online training or going to an event, it’s doctor, not my comfort zone because I just want to be doing dentistry.
But it’s important. And before we can elicit or put forward a demand on our team, we have to be very clear as ourselves, as leaders, and cultivate that and say, I did my part. I invested in my team, I motivated my team, and I put great people like yourself and others around them. That’s very important. And I notice with hiring especially, because I used to be all about, okay, so we launched All Star. It was just online training and some coaching.
Now we’ve gone on with mastermind events, hiring, but I find that with hiring especially, or a commitment to retention, that these live events are the ability to connect to it’s a warm human being. AI hasn’t totally taken us over just yet. So while we’re still warm blooded mammals, we like to be with each other, relate. And it’s not just like social to be social. It’s social with an intention. And again, we have the rational mind.
I’m going to talk about that at the summit, the rational mind. Then you combine this with the emotional mind, which is even more powerful, right, because the rational mind is kind of like online training, very important. That’s our flagship product. You do it 20 minutes every week. Now you combine that with, let’s say, a coaching experience and or a live event experience, and now you add that emotional element, and it becomes even stronger. Okay? And there’s a third element I’ll reveal at the event. I’m not going to say it now, won’t give it away.
And that creates something lasting you think about examples, sports teams or military units, they become brothers and sisters when they rally behind a purpose. And that’s what this is all about. That’s what we’re looking to create for people. And you’re so magical and brilliant, Robin, in creating those situations. I don’t know how you think about these things. And people like, wow, so much fun, right?
And we’re learning and having fun. So that’s my point. And then once that’s created a it’s a great way of seeing, do they belong on our team? Are they a will they stay? So we’ve done our work and we can then say they’re not cutting it, then we let them go. Remember, because a dentists don’t like to hire and fire anyway, and it’s not the best environment of hiring, we better make those investments. Because this is something every time we talk about hiring, Robin, we have to bring up if we have to replace somebody, what is the cost of that?
[0:23:37] ROBYN REIS: That’s the downside, right? That’s the downside of hiring, recruitment, team building. And just to dial back a little bit further, it really is about having that vision, that vision of what do you want to do for your business, for your patients, for your team? And if continuing education or growth opportunities is not part of that vision, then, Doctor, you’re going to get what you get. So spending time, it’s going to be.
[0:24:10] ALEX NOTTINGHAM: Harder in the long run.
[0:24:12] ROBYN REIS: Right.
[0:24:14] ALEX NOTTINGHAM: Tim Twiggo has told me you don’t want to step and this from Ben Erickson. Don’t step up over dollars to get pennies. Make those investments now, because it’s going to be a lot more painful later if you don’t.
[0:24:25] ROBYN REIS: Right. And another thing that Tim also mentions is if you think good employees are expensive, try bad employees. Wow. So it goes back to the very, very beginning of when doctors created their practices. What is the vision that they had? Is it something that they wanted to surround themselves with people who were smarter, more talented? They are. And the pieces and parts together create a greater whole.
So going back to the elements, why it’s important and why should practices care about thriving at work? It really does go to culture, vision, people on your team and team members supporting one another. The part about those live events, we’ve heard all kinds of things about zoom fatigue, and if I have to have one more Zoom meeting or one more Zoom interview, I’m just going to go jump off a bridge or something.
It is something that people just are so fatigued with. And the idea of creating these events for people who are like minded, that want to surround themselves with people to learn, because, again, the learning yes, happens at the front of the room and also sitting side by side with somebody new and outside the lecture room. And the participation events and the fun exercises, it’s just those connection with people having those conversations and people saying, yeah, I’ve been there.
Here’s what I’ve done. Here’s what I’ve learned. Here are the mistakes I made, so avoid them. So all of that really comes together in creating opportunities for people to feel a part of something bigger than themselves.
[0:26:14] ALEX NOTTINGHAM: That’s wonderful. I have two last questions for you, and we’ll wrap it up. One is the hiring service, what is it? Because I know it’s a big question for people what does All Star Hiring do? And then I’ll have our final cool question before we end.
[0:26:31] ROBYN REIS: Awesome. So All Star Hiring is really about becoming an extension of the practice that we work with. We create job postings. We do all of the time consuming pieces that practices just don’t have the time or the brain power to do because they’re short staffed and they’re doing multiple things. So we give them back the gift of time. And so we do all the screenings. We create the ad. We post it. We review the resumes.
We do phone screenings, zoom interviews, and get talented, qualified applicants in front of the doctor as soon as possible. We also help with the offer letters and background checks and employment references, all the steps that doctors, like you said, not only do they not like hiring or training, they don’t like doing the due diligence. And that’s what we do. And truly, we live by slow to hire, quick to fire.
We want to do our homework. We want to make sure that any new team member coming on board is a good fit for the practice. And that’s what All Star hiring does. We kind of put it together in a nice little package, and we help give the gift of time back to practices and let us do that heavy lifting for them.
[0:27:48] ALEX NOTTINGHAM: I saw an email where one of our doctors was asking about the personality profiling. It’s very in depth, what you do. I know you made it into a small package, but it’s a big package in terms of value because I remember you explained it at the live event and others, and it’s a majestic process, and everyone’s like, taking notes. It’s fantastic. But it’s like, wait, let them do it. They’re amazing at it.
[0:28:12] ROBYN REIS: So it’s a great and it’s not rocket science. It’s not like we have any special secret sauce or anything, except for the fact that our hiring specialist team, what I think is the magic behind the curtain, they all have incredible years of experience in the dental industry, clinical experience, administrative experience. We all have lived a life in dentistry, and I think that’s what makes us special. That’s what separates us from some other recruiter, some other online job board that might offer some services.
[0:28:51] ALEX NOTTINGHAM: We try the doctor doing a member.
[0:28:54] ROBYN REIS: Of the team to help add members to your team.
[0:28:58] ALEX NOTTINGHAM: Yeah, well, you can say the same thing that we have a lot of dentists out there. It doesn’t mean they’re all the same. And, yes, it’s not rocket science, but we’re very good at it.
[0:29:09] ROBYN REIS: We’re really good at it.
[0:29:11] ALEX NOTTINGHAM: And we hire all in the United States, and we do do Canada. It’s not as popular. And we also have now we have a connection for associate hiring, as well. So we do across the board, either through us or through our affiliates. We can definitely help you with that. Last question, Robin. Oh, by the way, if you want to find more about that, just reach out to anything at Allstar Dental Academy. It’s Robin at allstar Dental Academy or Heather at allstar Dental Academy. And we’ll be able to help you with hiring.
[0:29:40] ROBYN REIS: And it’s Robin with last question.
[0:29:42] ALEX NOTTINGHAM: Robin with A-Y-R-O-B-Y-N. Okay.
[0:29:46] ROBYN REIS: And one thing before you go on, before you ask me your special question yes. I just have to share the story that a new client that just signed up for All Star Hiring Services had sent me and the hiring specialist a comment that he’s like, I’m so thankful you guys are doing this. I’ve been doing this for a while. I’m terrible at it. And so my response to him was, like, I am so good because I’m so good that you are great that you said that, because I am terrible at dentistry. So we are both doing the things that we do best.
[0:30:17] ROBYN REIS: So that was a fun thing. So go ahead. Ask me your question.
[0:30:22] ALEX NOTTINGHAM: If there’s one thing I would have to put into play, I can put into play tomorrow in my practice that will make a difference in helping to become more engaged in the workplace, what would that be?
[0:30:33] ROBYN REIS: Great question. And I would say it’s probably multilayered in my answer. And that is, if you’re a team member and you’re listening and you’re not feeling like you’re thriving, reach out to your manager or to your doctor and just ask to check in and come up with a plan of what would make you thrive, what would keep you motivated, energized, engaged. What new learning would you like to do? And if you’re a leader or a manager and you’re listening, I would tell you the same thing.
[0:31:09] ROBYN REIS: Walk in tomorrow and start checking in with each one of your team members. Not about work, not about the job. Just hey, how’s it going? Are you getting ready for Valentine’s Day? Are you getting ready for the weekend? Just good, meaningful conversation. That would be my one thing.
[0:31:27] ALEX NOTTINGHAM: Awesome. Robin well, I really appreciate you being on the show.
[0:31:31] ROBYN REIS: Thanks for having me.
[0:31:31] ALEX NOTTINGHAM: For those listening subscribe follow whether it’s you’re on Apple, Podcast, Spotify, or YouTube, click all the buttons that are good. Likes, subscribes, follows, do it all, and until we meet again, go out there and be an All Star.