A Case for Accountability
When an employee is hired without a written job description, there is an implied job description that may or may not be what the doctor had in mind as the “perfect employee.” When interviewing, Doctors and the management team look at resumes and applications. The applicant says they have experience, but that experience may not be what you need in this particular job position. “Dr. Shouldhave” told a story about an employee in his office that was there six months before he found out that she didn’t keyboard (type).
Even though she said she had computer experience, she was never tested. She used her index fingers and had to look at the keys. His office sees well over a hundred new patients a month and her job was data input to computer charts. The office manager who hired her ended up taking over just to keep up with the work load. His manager also hired a nice lady because she spoke Spanish, only to find out that her English was poor and miscommunications happened daily.
It didn’t end there for Dr. Shouldhave. After purchasing another practice and adding on more staff, the problems continued to stack up and ended up on his desk to the point that he had to stop doing dentistry just to take care of administrative and human resource issues. With over twenty employees, two offices and several associate dentists, he was at his wits end.
Going back to the basics and creating written job descriptions with detailed areas of accountability for everyone was the first step. Personality temperament testing to assure that the management team had the right traits to manage their subordinates showed that the ability and desire was there, but the knowledge and training of how to carry out their positions was missing.
Dr. Shouldhave explained that if he asked one of the team what happened when something went wrong, he was told that “one of the girls did it but I am not sure which one.” Department managers were trained to be accountable for the success of the people in their area of responsibility, and if they failed so did the manager. Consequences for failure to complete tasks, attendance, promptness and neatness of work area were defined.
Another area of concern for the practices of Dr. Shouldhave was customer service. Dr. Shouldhave asked the front desk team to please use written scripts when answering calls and gathering information from new patients. Unfortunately, he was not at the desk a lot to hear what was being said, until the day that he called his office and heard the tone of voice of the person that answered and also heard that she was not using the assigned scripts. Upon asking the manager, she explained that she was aware and had told the staff member a few times to please use the scripts, but nothing changed because there was no consequence for this action.
A system was developed to prevent poor hiring and training practices. The Dr. began testing potential employees to ensure skill levels are better than satisfactory. Having the applicant read the job description and sign it ensured that the applicant knew exactly what the job was and could not say later that she/he didn’t know what was expected of them.
Defining any area where the employee will benefit from further training is now addressed, and team members are monitored by the manager until no errors are made. Accountability for tasks and participating in morning huddles and business meetings has been defined. Tardiness, sloppiness, and failure to complete work to the satisfaction of the management team means that the team member will be terminated for failure to perform.
Creating order will eliminate chaos. There will still be days that will challenge the team, but with proper systems in place it will be far easier to correct these problems. Want help establishing order in your chaos? Call McKenzie Management today for Consulting/Coaching and Training information.
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