Ask Your Team Before You Hire!
Even the most seasoned and successful practitioner can make blunders when hiring for a position at the front desk. A common thread I see when consulting with doctors about their hiring dilemmas is “a shortage of qualified workers” – which is even more of a reason to hire smart rather than hire on a whim. Often there are qualified workers, but not enough time has been spent in the search and the net has not been cast wide enough on hiring and job boarding sites.
“How hard can it be to answer the phone and be nice to patients?” lamented one doctor who had hired in haste. The doctor in this scenario felt that the answer to the “lack of qualified workers” was to have the Dental Assistant, Hygienist and/or Financial Coordinator “train” his newly hired Scheduling Coordinator.
The doctor hired a woman who had decades of experience working in another type of business as a customer service representative. Unknown to the doctor, this new hire had been using an antiquated phone-to-paper system in her previous position. She had little to no computer experience on a business or personal level and didn’t even know how to do a Google search.
When asked whether the team was informed of their new responsibility to teach the new hire, the answer was no. They all said they would help without really knowing how much time they would have to devote to the new person. The “Who, What and When” were not established, nor was a timeline for completion of the training period.
The new hire was supposed to answer the phone, schedule existing and new patients, and enter personal data, employer information, insurance information and health history into the practice management software system. The next step was to schedule appointments for the patients in the software appointment module. Of course she was severely challenged, and the half day she spent with the software trainer was not enough when she had to think quickly and act fast. She needed time to process what she had learned and have someone check her work for accuracy. Her “trainers” were busy with patients and on the phone with insurance companies, etc. Constantly putting patients on hold to interrupt other workers for help was becoming stressful for her, and the other team members were too busy to spend extra time with her. The office “buzz” was that the new hire just wasn’t “getting it” quickly enough.
It would have been more advisable to hire a temporary worker from a reputable dental temp service than to hire on a whim with the hope all would work out for the better.
Consider that any existing staff member who will be involved in the “training” of a new hire should:
1. Be knowledgeable of the requirements of the position. There should be a written job description to use as a guide.
2. Review the resume and job application for indicators of areas needed to train the new hire or red flags indicating lack of job skills.
3. Agree to train the new hire in the areas where applicable and have the time scheduled into their work day.
4. Be given a timeline for the information to be communicated and a goal of when the new hire should know the information, such as 30 or 90 days.
Having a dental software trainer come for a weekly, half-day training session during the new hire’s first month would be of value, but it can be costly. A cheaper alternative is to look up tutorials on YouTube, go to the software website and use the FAQs, or call support for help.
A well-planned hiring strategy has the potential to yield both a great employee and a significant improvement to the practice. Providing new hires and existing employees with the tools necessary to succeed shows the team that you care about their success; and success breeds success.
Need help with hiring and training new staff? Want to avoid the “hiring panic”? Call McKenzie Management today for professional business training customized to your practice needs.Forward this article to a friend
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