11.14.14 Issue #662 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

How to Craft the Perfect Job Description
By Sally McKenzie, CEO

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Finally, it’s over…or at least that’s what you thought when you welcomed Superstar Steve to your team. He had everything you were looking for in an employee – the skills, the charm, the experience. But so far he just isn’t cutting it, and the thought of letting him go and starting the hiring process over has put you in panic mode.

When this happens, take a step back and really look at the situation. Maybe, just maybe, Superstar Steve isn’t the problem. No matter how much experience he has or how good he is at his job, he can’t read your mind (as convenient as that would be). New hires, and any employee for that matter, look to you, the CEO, for clear direction. If you’re not providing it, you’re setting your employees up to fail, and that means they can’t help your practice succeed.

Fight it all you want, but if your goal is to be the proud owner of a successful, profitable dental practice (and I bet it is) you have to develop detailed job descriptions that outline each position’s responsibilities, as well as your expectations. Think of job descriptions as success plans for every position, not just something else to check off your to-do list.

I know this can be a daunting task, but if you break it down you’ll find it’s pretty manageable. Start by defining the job. What exactly do you expect the person filling the position to do? Greet patients? Go over treatment benefits and financial obligations with patients? Meet a specific daily production goal? Include every responsibility and task, no matter how small it seems, in every job description.

From there, think about the skills necessary to excel in the role. Does the job require someone who is well-organized, and who knows how to navigate your practice management software? Do you need a good listener who can also handle rejection? Base the skill set you’re looking for on what you know from previous experience, or on what your consulting coach recommends.

Before you’re done, you must outline specific job responsibilities and duties. Believe me, the more specific you are the better. Don’t just say the Patient Coordinator tracks and calls patients on the broken appointment list. Instead, say the Patient Coordinator tracks and calls patients on the broken appointment list to schedule five appointments a day, and reports progress to doctor during weekly meeting. See the difference? Bottom line, make sure it’s clear which systems the position is accountable for, and how performance will be measured.

Now you might be thinking, OK Sally, this is all great, but what if my employees use the job description against me? I ask Missy to perform a task, and she politely smiles and reminds me that isn’t in her job description.

Sadly this demonstrates that Missy isn’t much of a team player, but you can protect yourself from this kind of retort. In every job description, add a line that makes it clear employees are expected to perform any other duty as directed by the doctor or supervisor. This ensures employees can’t throw the job description in your face when you need them to take on new tasks. And don’t forget you can amend any job description as needed, just be sure to share the changes with your team. 

This seems to be difficult for many dentists to understand, but just because you talked about specific job responsibilities during the interview, or your new hire worked at another dental practice for five years, doesn’t mean the employee innately knows your expectations, or even the job’s basic responsibilities for that matter. Job descriptions provide the clear, detailed direction employees need to succeed in their roles and ultimately enhance the practice. Without them, your employees are just floating along, wondering what to do next, totally disconnected from the practice and likely hoping they can find a job with the dentist down the street.

That’s right, lack of direction also effects employee satisfaction and team morale. Employees crave the direction and leadership that will not only help them excel in their positon, but also make them feel like they’re a valuable part of the team, providing contributions that are vital to the practice’s success.

If the thought of creating job descriptions still leaves you in a cold sweat, fear not doctor, I can help. In my more than 30 years of experience, I’ve seen a lot of job descriptions, and know what works and what doesn’t. If you visit my website HERE you’ll find general job descriptions for every practice position. You’ll likely need to alter them to fit your practice needs, but these documents offer a jump start, and will help you create detailed job descriptions that lead to happier employees, a more efficient dental practice and a growing bottom line.

For more information on this topic and more, visit my blog: The Lighter Side

Interested in speaking to me about your practice concerns? Email sallymck@mckenziemgmt.com
Interested in having McKenzie Management Seminars speak to your dental society or study club? Click here.
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