8.6.10 Issue #439 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague

Is “Quality Employee” an Oxymoron in Your Practice?
by Sally McKenzie CEO
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I’d like you to take a moment and think about each person on your team. How would you rate them in terms of being a “quality employee?” First, let’s consider what makes a “quality employee.” While your criteria may vary from the list below, consider the following: 

  • Performance evaluations - Are these a positive part of the employer/employee relationship or a dreaded, avoid-at-all costs chore?
  • Ability to respond positively to training opportunities - Does the employee effectively implement what they learn from formal and informal training opportunities?
  • Ability to follow instructions
  • Willingness to help others and cooperate with the team - Does this person bring a positive attitude or are they difficult?
  • Initiative and commitment to their job and the practice - Are they looking for ways to make the practice better or is it status quo all the way?
  • Work ethic and consistency in following established policies and procedures

You might consider assigning a certain number of points to each, and see how your team stacks up. Is your hiring process effective? Your ranks are probably lined with good employees and the result of quality hires.

However, if you look at the suggested criteria above and shudder at how your crew stacks up, it’s likely a reflection of the hiring process. I would be willing to bet that when the time comes to fill a position, your focus is on doing so expeditiously rather than effectively. In addition to having a specific hiring procedure in place, which I discussed last week, I suggest you consider a few other points.

Mission Minded
Recruiting quality employees is a process that goes well beyond the two-line classified ad written in secret code. Look at your mission statement and remind yourself where you want to take your practice. Remember you’re building a team, a practice, and a vision - not just filling a position. Consider the strengths and weaknesses of your practice as well as your own and those of your employees. Are there voids in employee skills and/or duplication of strengths or weaknesses among the team?

Skills, Personality, and More
While no applicant is perfect, it’s important to understand each job and what particular attributes a prospective employee needs to have. If your goal is a 98% collection rate, you don’t want a candidate who has trouble asking for money - even if she does have a perfect smile and charming personality.  Most importantly: gut instincts are NO match for good data. As the school of hard knocks has taught virtually every dentist I know, a seemingly rock-solid resume and practical skills offer no assurance that the person you hire will prove to be the excellent candidate you interview. The candidates may appear to have the right skill set, but if one has trouble making decisions or the other is overly controlling, today’s seemingly ideal hire can metamorphous into tomorrow’s employment nightmare. Don’t gamble and don’t guess, instead test the candidates.

Testing tools available in the dental marketplace provide a statistically valid and scientifically based hiring assessment tool for dentists. The computerized assessment measures job applicants against a profile of the “ideal” dental practice employee for each position. The procedure is simple: applicants answer a list of questions online. Just minutes later, the dentist receives a statistically reliable report enabling him/her to clearly determine if the candidate under consideration would be a good match for the position being filled. It’s straightforward and accurate. What’s more, this carefully tested and thoroughly researched hiring tool is fully compliant with legal requirements associated with employee testing.

Beyond “You’re Hired”
Once the new hire is in the practice, help them succeed. Supply the necessary equipment, tools, and training they need to perform the job well. Explain clearly what is expected of the employee and how their performance will be measured. Provide an office policy manual that explains policies and procedures, such as sick time, holidays, vacation, disciplinary procedures, etc.

In addition, provide routine, ongoing and direct feedback. This is constructive direction that helps the employee learn the ropes. Finally, schedule performance reviews to assess the new hire’s performance at least twice and preferably three times during the first 90 days.

If you take specific steps before, during, and after the hiring process, you are far more likely to ensure that “quality hires” make up your quality team.

Interested in speaking to Sally about your practice concerns? Email her at sallymck@mckenziemgmt.com. Interested in having Sally speak to your dental society or study club? Click here.

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