4 Ways to Improve Your Job Descriptions and Hire the Best People
Your new Patient Coordinator, Matt, has been a huge disappointment. You thought he had everything you were looking for in an employee, from experience to enthusiasm, and you were confident he’d contribute right away. You took your time during the hiring process and made sure he was a good fit for the position before extending an offer, yet somehow he’s falling way short of your expectations.
You’re frustrated, and wondering if it’s time to start the hiring process all over. But before you do, think about what you’ve done to help Matt adjust to his new role. Have you given him the guidance he needs to succeed, or have you expected him to hit the ground running on his own? The truth is, it doesn’t matter how much experience he has or how successful he’s been in the past. If you don’t offer guidance, you’re setting him up to fail.
One of the best ways to offer this guidance is through job descriptions. And I’m not talking about short blurbs that just list off a few responsibilities, I’m talking about detailed job descriptions that outline your expectations and clearly set performance measurements. Job descriptions should serve as a roadmap to success, and make it clear to every employee how they can contribute to the practice.
Now I know most dentists don’t want to talk about job descriptions, and would rather skip them entirely. But trust me, if you take the time to create detailed job descriptions now, they’ll save you a lot of time and money down the road. They’ll help you hire the right people from the beginning, and lead to a more efficient team working toward one common goal: the success of your practice.
So what should you put in your job descriptions to ensure you not only hire the right team members, but that you guide them to success? Here are four elements every job description should have:
1. A definition of the job. As you craft a job description, really think about what you need the person in that role to do. Make sure you include every task and responsibility. These tasks could include greeting patients with a warm smile and a welcoming hello when they walk in the door, or calling and scheduling a specific number of past due patients every day.
2. Specific responsibilities and duties. Every job description should outline which systems team members are accountable for, and how their performance will be measured. For example, don’t just say your Patient Coordinator is responsible for tracking and calling patients on the broken appointment list. That’s too vague. Instead, say the Patient Coordinator is responsible for scheduling at least five patients on the broken appointment list each day. This gives your Patient Coordinator a clear goal, and outlines exactly how performance will be measured.
This level of detail leaves no questions about who’s responsible for what, giving both new hires and loyal team members the guidance they need to excel in their roles.
3. A list of the necessary skills. Not everyone has the skill set to excel in every role. That’s why it’s important to include a list of required skills in every job description, whether the job requires someone with the ability to work with a certain practice management system, or someone who has superb telephone skills. Include every skill in the job description, no matter how small it might seem.
4. A statement that lets employees know the job description isn’t all-inclusive. Many doctors are afraid employees will use their job descriptions to get out of performing tasks. They fear if they ask team members to perform tasks that aren’t spelled out in their job descriptions, they’ll say no and use the job description as their justification.
I certainly hope your team members don’t have this attitude, but to avoid this happening in your practice, I suggest adding a line at the end of every job description. This line should make it clear that team members are expected to perform any other duty as directed by the doctor or their supervisor, and they can’t refer to the job description every time you ask them to do something that isn’t on it.
Remember, you can adjust job descriptions over time. Just make sure you let team members know when you do. It’s also a good idea to get your team members involved in the process. Their input can help you create even stronger job descriptions, and if they know how much you value their opinion and their contributions, they’ll be even more vested in the practice’s success.
Another tip? Make sure there isn’t any crossover of roles and responsibilities in your job descriptions. Tasking more than one team member with specific duties will only lead to frustration and confusion. It’s important for team members to take ownership of their systems and have accountability. Sure, you want team members to be able to take on tasks when their co-workers are out – but there should be no question about who is ultimately responsible for specific duties.
As the CEO of your practice, you have to provide employees with the guidance they need to excel. Use job descriptions to hire the best people possible, and then have your team members look to them as their roadmap to success.
Still not comfortable creating job descriptions? Consider downloading my templates for guidance, or contact me directly. I’m here to help.
For additional information on this topic and more, visit my blog: The Lighter Side
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