3.9.12 Issue #522 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Hiring? Consider it a Crucial Investment
By Sally McKenzie, CEO

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When hiring a new employee, prepare to invest in your efforts by taking necessary time and consideration with each position. In addition, invest in the success of the new hire by ensuring that s/he understands your expectations clearly and is trained to deliver.

First, don't rush the interviews. Allow at least one hour for each applicant, preferably 90 minutes. Schedule the interviews when you will be able to give applicants your undivided attention. Try to be flexible to accommodate the applicants' schedules as well. Eliminate barriers that will cause the applicant to be more guarded, distracted, or otherwise uncomfortable. For example, will staff be interrupting you? Will the phone be ringing? Will you be distracted by your computer, your smart phone, etc? All of these can negatively influence the interview and create a situation in which the applicant has neither the inclination nor the opportunity to provide the information you seek to gather.

Use a written set of standard questions for each applicant to compare responses to the same questions. Ask additional follow-up questions based on the applicant's responses. Gather facts about previous experience that can be verified. Take thorough notes during the interview to help you keep track of who's who. Jot down personal details such as what the candidate wore and distinguishing features. Remember, the applicant is likely to be on their best behavior in the interview, but things aren't always as they seem. Before making a decision, gather as much information as possible.

Once you’ve narrowed your list to two or three applicants, test them for skill set and determine if they are a good match for your team. Employee Testing available through McKenzie Management provides 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. Within minutes, 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. It’s straightforward, accurate, and fully compliant with legal requirements associated with employee testing.

The interview is one-step in a multi-step hiring process. Only through thorough preparation and a well-laid plan will you achieve the best results. Next - prepare the employee to succeed. Implement a few common sense human resources strategies to ensure that new employees quickly become key contributors to the success of your practice.

  1. Provide clear job descriptions to employees, so they know exactly what is expected of them.
  2. Train new employees but don't overwhelm them. The new hire will be far more likely to succeed if the training program allows them to assimilate information and tasks at a steady rate rather than a rapid-fire pace.
  3. Give the employee some form of personnel policy manual. This document spells out the office code of conduct, dress code, policies regarding tardiness, overtime, sick leave, office policies and procedures. All employees deserve to know the rules of the game and what they need to do to continue playing.
  4. Give ongoing direction and constructive feedback. Too many practices wait until there's a problem or crisis before they give staff any feedback. Be specific. Don't candy-coat the feedback and don't beat around the bush. Tell employees what they're doing well and what needs to be corrected. 
  5. Know when to cut your losses.

Certainly, there are times when an employee - new or long-term - simply must be dismissed. Whatever the reason, problem employees need to be dealt with directly and clearly using a system of progressive discipline. Unless the employee's behavior is so egregious that you are forced to take immediate action, the team member should be given the opportunity to improve her/his performance over a 60-90 day period.

Explain to the employee verbally and in writing the specific issues that are not satisfactory and document exactly what needs to change in his/her performance. With the employee, develop an agreement that spells out what s/he needs to do to improve performance. It should be in writing, signed by both doctor and employee and placed in the employee's file. Monitor the staff member's progress, give regular feedback, and document every step and every conversation in the process.

Ideally, at the end of this 60-90 day progressive discipline plan the employee has made the necessary improvements, and everyone lives and works happily ever after.

Want more of me? Click here to visit my blog, The Lighter Side, for more Dental Practice Management info.

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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