12.15.17 Issue #823 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Should you Hire an Office Manager in 2018?
By Sally McKenzie, CEO

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Most dentists struggle to manage the business side of running a practice. They’d much rather spend their time diagnosing and treating patients, and avoid dealing with all the business issues as much as possible. The problem is, this often results in broken systems, revenue shortfalls and even low team morale – a combination that isn’t exactly a recipe for success.

While it’s important to embrace your role as practice CEO and understand the business elements that come with practice ownership, you don’t have to do it all alone. Hiring an effective Office Manager can help reduce some of the burden, leading to a more productive, profitable practice with efficient team members who are happy to come to work each day.

What duties can an Office Manager take on? Here are a few:

Making financial arrangements with patients
Handling HR tasks, including recruitment, hiring, firing, raises, salaries, performance reviews and other personnel issues
Reading various practice reports
Managing the practice’s business measurements
Overseeing practice overhead
Creating and executing marketing campaigns
Developing and enforcing employee polices
Scheduling and running team meetings  

As you can see, this team member can be responsible for a variety of tasks, and must be good at working with numbers as well as with people. It’s important to understand the person you hire will essentially become the practice’s Chief Operating Officer, or COO, and will need a certain skillset and temperament to succeed.

Hiring the Right Person
So now that you’ve decided you’re ready to hire an Office Manager, how can you ensure you find the right one? I suggest you start by creating a detailed job description. Most dentists groan when I talk about job descriptions, but they’re essential – for every position in the practice.

Before you start the search, take some time to sit down and think about what role you’d like your new Office Manager to play in the practice. From there, create a detailed list of this team member’s responsibilities and the necessary skills for the role. Just like with any job description, be sure to include your expectations along with specific performance measurements.

Now, you might be thinking, Sally, I plan to hire an experienced Office Manager, so a job description isn’t really necessary. Sorry, but that’s not the case. As the practice CEO, it’s important for you to outline your specific expectations and your office’s specific needs. Doing so will not only help you find the right person for the job, it helps ensure that person is successful.

You must also make sure the person you hire has the right temperament. The Office Manager’s job isn’t easy, and requires someone who is personable yet efficient. If the applicant you’re considering is great with numbers but doesn’t like working with people or problem solving, that person simply isn’t right for the role.

The ideal candidates will exhibit a good balance between thinking and feeling in their temperament type. Why? Someone who scores high on the “thinking” scale is likely very task oriented and may come off as demanding to the rest of the team. Someone who scores high on the “feeling” scale, on the other hand, probably finds it difficult to hold staff members accountable and maintain practice policies. There’s the potential for damage to the practice with both personality types, which is why it’s best to hire an Office Manager who has a mix of the two.

To be effective, your Office Manager will also need to work well under pressure. The list of tasks on this team member’s to-do list is long, meaning he or she will be pulled in many different directions. If your Office Manager becomes flustered or short-tempered when things get a little hectic, the necessary tasks won’t get done. This is not only frustrating for you, but also for your other team members. Make sure the person you hire can handle the stress that comes with the job and juggle multiple tasks.

Hiring an Office Manager is a great step forward for your practice – just remember this new team member will do more harm than good if he or she isn’t the right fit. Your bottom line will suffer as will team morale, and instead of having more time to focus on dentistry, you’ll be busy handling problems your Office Manager creates. Take the time to find the right person and you’ll be rewarded with a more efficient, productive practice.

Next week: How to help your Office Manager excel

For additional 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
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