The Backbone of Company Culture

Company culture is required to have a positive workplace.
Company culture is more important now than ever.

I believe there are many things that promote a healthy and productive company culture. As I sat down to write this article and began jotting down the items I felt were “most important,” I soon realized that the list could almost be never ending. I did notice, however, that every aspect of building company culture ultimately traces back to one main element – communication in the workplace.

Take Twitter for example. They consistently rank as one of the best companies to work for based on culture alone. One reason I always see mentioned is rooftop meetings. Now let’s be honest, wouldn’t you enjoy meetings a lot more if they were on the roof? I would venture to guess though that someone didn’t wake up one day and say, “Let’s have meetings on the roof!” (Jack Dorsey correct me if I’m wrong.) Twitter wanted to create an out-of-the-box environment for their employees where they could think creatively and communicate with one another in a fresh setting.

At Heartland Dental we don’t have rooftop gardens, but we are continuously looking at what we can do to encourage communication in the workplace and develop our company’s culture. Some ways we effectively communicate with one another are:

  • Clearly stating the company’s mission and vision statement 
    • We strongly stand behind our mission and vision statement. It’s the foundation of everything with believe in as a company. When your employees know and understand your mission and vision, it helps keep everyone working towards the same objective. 
  • Morning huddles
    • Supported doctors are encouraged to schedule weekly and monthly morning huddles with their teams. The weekly morning huddles are designed to be quick and informative – discussing the appointment schedule and providing any important updates. Ideally, the monthly huddles are longer and more in-depth. This gives the doctor a chance to speak to his or her staff and address any questions or concerns voiced by the team. It doesn’t always have to be a serious matter though. This is a great opportunity for everyone to get to know each other better and grow as a team. From a corporate perspective, it can often be harder to get everyone together in one setting. However, we implement a similar structure and have a “Home Office Huddle” once a month. It’s often a more laid back environment and we provide company updates, as well as recognize outstanding performing employees. Afterwards there are snacks, of course.
  • Collaboration between supported doctors 
    • It goes without saying that every supported doctor wants to be successful. However, that desire for success runs even deeper at Heartland Dental. Our network of over 1,000 supported doctors want to see each other succeed. They often utilize that network to ask questions and bounce ideas off one another. When your team members do their part to encourage one another, the outcome is phenomenal!
  • Speaking with passion 
    • Your tone of voice and body language often relay more information than what you’re actually saying. Dr. Gerald Bell of Bell Leadership Institute teaches the 55-35-10 rule. When communicating, 55 percent of the audience’s focus is on your body language, 35 percent is on your tone and 10 percent is on your words. If you aren’t passionate about what you’re saying, your audience won’t be engaged or feel motivated. On the contrary, if your audience feels inspired and is aware of the authenticity behind your message, they will feel compelled to perform to the best of their abilities.

Patrick Lencioni, founder of The Table Group and author of many books on leadership and business management, has been a guest speaker at Heartland Dental events in the past. He has spoken about the benefits of effective leadership and communication, and we’ve been fortunate to learn from him first-hand. Recently Patrick was a guest speaker on the Dave Ramsey show and when asked about companies with great culture, Patrick mentioned a handful of companies which included a nod to Heartland Dental.

You can listen to the entire podcast here on Podtail. At 12 minutes and 10 seconds, Patrick begins his segment. At 14 minutes and 58 seconds, he mentions Heartland Dental. 

You cannot have an outstanding company culture without creating outstanding communication. Establishing an open, collective atmosphere where everyone gives and shares selflessly, without fear or distrust, has been a huge reason why Heartland Dental has been able to achieve so much.

Rick Workman, DMD

Founder, Former CEO and Active Chairman, Heartland Dental

Rick Workman, DMD, graduated from Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine in 1980. After starting his own practice, he set out to create a world-class dental support organization that would relieve the management burden for dentists by offering them an array of non-clinical administrative support. Today, Heartland Dental is the largest dental support organization in the country. In addition to being the founder of Heartland Dental, he is also the past president of the Association of Dental Support Organizations. To read more about Dr. Rick Workman, click here