"Experience" Is Not Always the Best Teacher
Dr. “Rick” is a new dentist. He has been in practice for a couple of years and has had to let one office manager go, and he is now worried that his current manager isn’t going to work out either. The first office manager was “part of the package” when he purchased the practice. Dr. Rick had concerns from the start about her performance. According to the selling dentist, “Wanda was a delight. She never caused any trouble and was quiet as a mouse. She just kept to herself and didn’t bother anyone. In fact, when the office wasn’t busy, she would just curl up in her chair and read the magazines.” Not exactly what one would call a “Go-Getter.”
Wanda didn’t adjust well to Dr. Rick’s youthfulness, his desire to change the direction of the practice, and especially his expectation that Wanda only read the latest People magazine on her own time. The two parted ways. He then hired “Jenn.” She brought a track record of dental practice experience with her, and as Dr. Rick soon discovered, an attitude as well. Jenn happens to think that some of Dr. Rick’s requests are a “waste of her time.” She also likes to comment that she’s worked in dentistry longer than he has. She is repeatedly making references to how the doctor she used to work for did things. Dr. Rick was certain she would be such a good fit for the practice. Where did he go wrong?
Like dentistry, hiring and retaining staff is both an art and a science. One of the most common mistakes hiring dentists make is they focus almost exclusively on previous dental office experience. They pay little attention to other key indicators of employee success, such as length of time in previous jobs. They rarely consider the types of employees they are attracting through advertising. Seldom do they test prospective applicants, and rarely do they create an environment in which the new recruit is properly trained to succeed.
The following are the most common reasons why new hires don't succeed or merely become mediocre performers.
When faced with an open position, dentists commonly feel pressured to fill the job as quickly as possible. Consequently, they are far more likely to settle for less or skip critical steps in the candidate selection and hiring process. That was the case with Dr. Rick - he was in a hurry to replace Wanda. He eventually learned that Jenn had similar attitude issues in her past jobs, but it was the fact that she had dental office “experience” that gave him the excuse he was looking for to fill the position quickly and cut corners.
Slow down. Approach new employee hiring with the same level of care, consideration, and planning as you would a dental procedure. You wouldn't rush through a crown prep - don't rush through the hiring prep either. Consider these steps:
Next week, making the investment in your new hire.
For more information on this topic and for additional Dental Practice Management info, visit my blog: The Lighter Side.
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