Create Job Descriptions That Help Grow Your Bottom Line

By Sally McKenzie, CEO Printer Friendly Version

When team members feel lost, their productivity suffers. Instead of spending their days contributing to practice success, they’re left wondering what they’re supposed to be doing. They become stressed and downright unhappy, which, in turn, hurts your bottom line.

This can be avoided if you take the time to develop detailed job descriptions that clearly outline your expectations. Job descriptions give team members the guidance they crave, and serve as a road map to their success.

I know many dentists think job descriptions are a waste of time, especially if they’re bringing on experienced hires. Not so. Just because you’ve hired an Office Manager with 10 years of experience doesn’t mean she will automatically know what your expectations are. Team members aren’t mind readers no matter how talented or experienced they are. They need detailed job descriptions that outline their duties and break down how their performance will be measured. Without that type of direction, they’re going to struggle.

The bottom line is this: Creating detailed job descriptions will help you improve practice productivity and grow your bottom line. Now, you might be wondering what exactly you should include in your job descriptions to get the best results. You’re in luck, because I can help with that. Here are the four elements that should be part of every job description you create:

A definition of the job. When you sit down to craft your job descriptions, it’s important to really think about what you need the person in that role to accomplish each day. Remember, no task is too small. If it needs to get done, include it. Leave no doubt about what the job entails.

The skills necessary to excel in the role. This is important. If team members don’t have the right skills for the job, practice productivity will suffer—as will everyone in the practice.

Including the required skillset in every job description will help ensure you hire the right people. For example, you don’t want to bring on an Office Manager who is good with numbers and reading practice reports, but who isn’t so great at handling the HR duties that also come with the role. If you do, it won’t be long before this team member starts looking for a job at another practice, if you don’t have to terminate employment first. This all leads to undue stress and lost revenues, and certainly doesn’t help you grow your practice.

A list of all the responsibilities and duties. When you get to this part of the job description, it’s important to be very specific. That means don’t just say the Patient Coordinator is responsible for calling and scheduling past due patients every day. Take it a step further and make it clear you expect this team member to reach out to at least five recall patients every day and to get them on the schedule. This gives the team member a very clear goal. He or she knows exactly what you expect and how his or her performance will be measured.

A statement that makes it clear the job description isn’t all-inclusive. Why do you need this? Over the years, I’ve had many dentists tell me they’re worried their employees might actually use job descriptions against them. They’re afraid if they ask their assistant to perform a certain task, for example, she might refuse, saying it’s not in her job description.

While most team members don’t have this attitude and want to do whatever they can to move the practice forward, it’s a scenario that can come up. To protect yourself from anyone tempted to use this line, I suggest you add a sentence at the end of every job description that makes it clear employees are expected to perform any other duties as directed by the doctor or their supervisor. This will ensure employees can’t refer to the job description every time you ask them to do something that isn’t on it.

Get your team involved
Now that you know what to include in every job description, I suggest you sit down with your team members to create them. Getting their input will help ensure you include everything that needs to be included. It will also show them you value their opinions, helping them feel more connected to the practice and more motivated to excel in their roles.

If you want team members to give their best effort, you have to give them proper guidance. Without it, they’ll feel lost and frustrated. Detailed job descriptions make it clear exactly what’s expected of them each day, and lets them know which systems they’re accountable for and how their performance will be measured. With job descriptions to guide them, your team members will become more confident and productive, and will find their jobs much more rewarding.

Creating job descriptions will help improve practice efficiencies while also growing your bottom line. Team members will know what they need to do to move the practice forward, and can give you the support you need to meet your full potential. 

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