8.19.11 Issue #493 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Nancy Caudill
Senior Consultant
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Performance-Based Reviews
By Nancy Caudill, Senior Consultant McKenzie Management

When consultants work with dentists, one question is almost always asked…"How do I conduct a fair annual review when I don't know what she/he does?"

What a great question! What we usually find is that there have been no reviews….ever. You as the dentist know that it would be appropriate. It is necessary to give feedback to your employees, and more importantly, they want feedback. One of the most common complaints, if you will, from team members is that the doctor seldom tells me when they do a good job or "I have never had a review and I have been here six years!"

There are two types of personnel reviews. The salary review and the performance review. This article addresses the performance review.

Performance Review
It is important to know that performance reviews have nothing to do with salaries. If you choose, you can combine them if you plan to increase salaries. The purpose of performance reviews is just that - to review the performance of an employee. So, the big question is this: How do you do it?

  • First - you must have specific job descriptions for each of your team members that lists the tasks that are expected of them.
  • Second - each team member must have a full understanding of their job description.
  • Third - they must know that their job performance reviews will be based on their performance relative to their job descriptions.

How do you write a job description? The easiest way is to ask each team member to write her own job description and then you review it. You may add tasks, clarify tasks or reallocate tasks to another team member whom you feel is more qualified.

A clinical assistant's job description would be much different from a schedule coordinator's. A hygienist's would be different from a patient coordinator's job description. Even two assistants that perform basically the same tasks could have a few tasks that vary. For instance, one is responsible for cleaning the traps and the other is responsible for making sure that the trash is removed from the premises at the end of each day.

Keep in mind that when you have overlapping tasks, someone must be ultimately responsible for seeing that the task is completed. The accountability is crucial as the job description is reviewed and the performance evaluation is discussed. Does Suzie make sure that the trash is removed every day? If she is on vacation, does she delegate the task to someone else to make sure that it is performed?

Positions in the business area of your practice have many overlapping tasks throughout the day, but again, ultimately only one person is responsible. They are the one who is held accountable if the task is not performed. Saying "Gosh doctor, I don't know, I didn't do it" is not an excuse when there are job descriptions and everyone knows who IS responsible.

Statistical Information is vital when reviewing the performance of hygienists and the business team. They perform tasks that can be monitored. For example, the hygienist's periodontal procedure percentage can be monitored on a monthly basis compared to a predetermined goal dependent on the type of practice you have. Her total production can be monitored monthly for improvement or no improvement.

For the business team, almost every task that they do can be evaluated based on statistics, such as accounts receivables, accounts over 90 days, outstanding insurance claim $, your daily production, unscheduled time units/day, etc.

In order to be able to conduct a Performance Review, these statistics must be monitored on a monthly basis. The employees must know how well they are doing. They are responsible for their performance when given the tools to perform their tasks. Once these statistics are readily available to the employees as well as you, it allows for a very decisive and fair performance review. Areas of concern can be discussed, additional assistance can be provided so the employee can improve, or maybe you determine that the employee is not the right "fit" for that position. This doesn't mean that they are not a good person, but just that they are not right for the position they are in.

Conduct your Performance Reviews more often for newer employees to help them learn about what you are expecting from them, encourage them and establish another time to review their areas of weakness for improvement. Other employees should be reviewed AT LEAST one time a year! They want to know how well they are doing, and even though it is hard to be critical when they look at you with tears in their eyes, they still want to know how they can be a better employee… really!

If you would like more information on how McKenzie's Consulting Coaching Programs can help you IMPLEMENT proven strategies, email info@mckenziemgmt.com.

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