Tips to Help You Create Job Descriptions that Get Results
While hiring the right people is key to creating a strong, productive team, that isn’t all it takes. I don’t care how much experience or talent a new team member has, it won’t matter if you don’t offer any direction.
All too often, dentists hire new team members and expect them to hit the ground running without much in the way of training or guidance. Sure, this might save you time up front, but it’s also a good way to set your new hire up to fail – and cost you money in the process. That’s why it’s so important to create detailed job descriptions for every role in your practice. Job descriptions serve as your team members’ road map to success, outlining exactly what their tasks are as well as your expectations.
If you’re like most dentists, you probably don’t think you need job descriptions. Trust me, you do. Team members will be more productive and more satisfied when they understand their role in practice success. And that, of course, is good news for your bottom line.
I know what you’re thinking: But Sally, I don’t have time to write job descriptions. Besides, I have no idea where to start. That’s where I come in. I can help you craft job descriptions that will give your team members the guidance and confidence they need to excel in their roles. Ready to get started? Read on to learn about the four elements you should include in every job description.
1. The Job’s Definition. This is the first thing you should think about when you sit down to write a job description. Ask yourself what you need the person in that role to do each day. Don’t leave anything out. Include every responsibility and task, from offering a warm, friendly welcome to every patient who walks through the door to making a specific number of collection calls each day.
2. The Necessary Skills. It doesn’t matter how much you like “Sarah” the front office employee or how good she is with patients – if the thought of working with practice reports (or numbers in general) sends her into a cold sweat, she’s probably not the right choice for the open Office Manager position. For employees to excel in their role, they must have the right skill set. That’s why I suggest you list out each required skill in the job description, no matter how small it might seem.
3. Job Responsibilities and Duties. Remember to be specific. It’s not enough to say the Patient Coordinator is responsible for calling and scheduling past due patients. Instead, make it clear this team member is expected to reach out to at least five recall patients every day and get them on the schedule. That way there’s no doubt what you expect from your Patient Coordinator or how the employee’s performance will be measured.
4. All-Inclusive Statement. You should have a statement that makes it clear the job description isn’t all-inclusive. I’ve had many dentists tell me they’re worried employees will use their job descriptions against them. For example, if Dr. Andrews asks his assistant Lucy to perform a certain task, she might refuse to do it because it’s not listed in her job description.
Although this scenario can come up, in my experience most team members don’t have that kind of attitude. Typically they want to do whatever they can to help move the practice forward. But you do need to be prepared just in case an employee decides to play that card. That’s why I recommend adding a line at the end of every job description making it clear employees are expected to perform any other duty as directed by the doctor or their supervisor. This little line ensures employees can’t refer you to their job description every time you ask them to do something that isn’t on it.
Your team members want to excel in their roles and do their part to help the practice meet its full potential. The problem is, they can’t do that without proper guidance from you, the practice CEO. Detailed job descriptions outline exactly what their role is while also making your expectations clear. Once they have job descriptions, they’ll no longer feel lost. They’ll be happier to come to work each day, and you’ll have more efficient, productive employees who are no longer holding your practice back. Instead, they’ll start contributing to practice success and profitability.
For additional information on this topic and more, visit my blog: The Lighter Side
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