You know how important it is to hire the right people. But do you know what it costs you if hire the wrong person?
The estimates are shocking regardless of which source you read...an average of nearly $40,000 if the turnover occurs six months after hire. You might think that is a fabrication, but consider what a "bad apple" can do to slow productivity. Not to mention the lost revenue from dissatisfied patients and income lost from new patient referrals!
Recruiting employees is likely to be the most frustrating and time-consuming challenge in your practice. Losing a valuable employee also is expensive. And the labor shortage is not going away.
Employees are no longer commodities that can be replaced easily. The age of the "organization man" (or woman) has passed. Beginning in the 1970s, the business world changed. Our economy was impacted by the globalization of competition. There were increasing demands for services. And the way we worked was accelerated by information technology.
In a recent issue, a Harvard Business Review article noted that in 1900, 17% of all jobs required "knowledge workers..." employees whose responsibilities are predominantly concerned with generating or interpreting information, rather than just manual labor. By 2001, that figure rose to well over 60%.
Even more striking is the shift in how the "bottom line" is influenced. The percent of a company's market value related to tangible assets in 1982 was 62%, with 38% for intangible assets. By 2000, only 15% of market value was related to tangibles while a huge 85% was based on intangibles. In other words, your practice worth is greatly impacted by your employees!
With such enormous evidence of the importance of good hiring, it is essential to devote time to your hiring processes. Certainly there are no sure-bet methods to guarantee an applicant will be a peak performer in your practice, but there are ways you can hire with the greatest probability of success.
1. Review job descriptions.
Good hires need to have a clear understanding of the job you want them to do. Not only what to do but how you want them to do it. Write out the specific duties and responsibilities of the position. Be concrete. For example, your business office manager needs to "pick up and sort mail." Contrast that description with the following: "Mail carrier arrives between 12 noon and 2pm. Check for mail by 1pm each day, and each hour thereafter until it is delivered." The more you spell out the exact details of how you want something to be done, the more likely the employee will meet your needs and expectations.
2. Standardize your interview.
Studies have shown that the interview is one of the most flawed parts of the hiring process. However, most employers place enormous weight on what happens in the interview. Applicants with good social skills frequently fare better than reserved or shy people. Furthermore, there is tremendous personal bias in the interview - we gravitate to the people we like rather than evaluating the person-job goodness of fit. Eliminate subjectivity as much as possible by structuring questions that are focused on the real needs of the job and your office environment.
3. Look beyond the resume.
Technical skills and experience are important but you also need to pay attention to "soft skills." Listen to how they answer your questions to determine if they are an effective communicator. Give them a conflict scenario and ask them what they would do. Inquire about the last "new thing" they did to ascertain if they enjoy learning. Test their reasoning by presenting a couple of logic questions. You have the greatest potential for superior performance when you hire someone with good thinking abilities as well as effective people skills.
4. Expand your selection tools.
With the increasing importance on interpersonal effectiveness for job success, employers who add pre-employment testing will have a strategic advantage. Recognizing the importance of such a tool, McKenzie Management will be offering the Talent Management Guide in early 2005. This ready to use system will help you to identify successful applicants for various dental positions. We are now in the process of determining the specific traits and characteristics associated with success for hygienist, business office personnel, chair assistant and dentist/associate dentist.
Through the years, I've learned that many personnel problems are the result of a poor job fit due to poor hiring practices. Good hires will insure a more successful and productive office, better patient service, and new referrals. Confronting your own hiring processes is time consuming upfront but the investment will yield large dividends. The pay-off is higher caliber employees who work harder and stay longer...and this ultimately helps your bottom-line!
To learn more about how your thoughts, feelings and attitudes contribute to or interfere with your financial success, contact Dr. Haller at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Haller is available to speak to your dental society or study club on subjects such as interpersonal communication, conflict management, and team building. If you would like information about any of her practice-building seminars, contact her at email@example.com or 1-877-777-6151 Ext. 33