10.2.15 Issue #708 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

4 Ways to Improve Your Job Descriptions and Hire the Best People
By Sally McKenzie, CEO

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Your new Patient Coordinator, Matt, has been a huge disappointment. You thought he had everything you were looking for in an employee, from experience to enthusiasm, and you were confident he’d contribute right away. You took your time during the hiring process and made sure he was a good fit for the position before extending an offer, yet somehow he’s falling way short of your expectations.

You’re frustrated, and wondering if it’s time to start the hiring process all over. But before you do, think about what you’ve done to help Matt adjust to his new role. Have you given him the guidance he needs to succeed, or have you expected him to hit the ground running on his own? The truth is, it doesn’t matter how much experience he has or how successful he’s been in the past. If you don’t offer guidance, you’re setting him up to fail.

One of the best ways to offer this guidance is through job descriptions. And I’m not talking about short blurbs that just list off a few responsibilities, I’m talking about detailed job descriptions that outline your expectations and clearly set performance measurements. Job descriptions should serve as a roadmap to success, and make it clear to every employee how they can contribute to the practice.

Now I know most dentists don’t want to talk about job descriptions, and would rather skip them entirely. But trust me, if you take the time to create detailed job descriptions now, they’ll save you a lot of time and money down the road. They’ll help you hire the right people from the beginning, and lead to a more efficient team working toward one common goal: the success of your practice.

So what should you put in your job descriptions to ensure you not only hire the right team members, but that you guide them to success? Here are four elements every job description should have:

1. A definition of the job. As you craft a job description, really think about what you need the person in that role to do. Make sure you include every task and responsibility. These tasks could include greeting patients with a warm smile and a welcoming hello when they walk in the door, or calling and scheduling a specific number of past due patients every day.

2. Specific responsibilities and duties. Every job description should outline which systems team members are accountable for, and how their performance will be measured. For example, don’t just say your Patient Coordinator is responsible for tracking and calling patients on the broken appointment list. That’s too vague. Instead, say the Patient Coordinator is responsible for scheduling at least five patients on the broken appointment list each day. This gives your Patient Coordinator a clear goal, and outlines exactly how performance will be measured.

This level of detail leaves no questions about who’s responsible for what, giving both new hires and loyal team members the guidance they need to excel in their roles.

3. A list of the necessary skills. Not everyone has the skill set to excel in every role. That’s why it’s important to include a list of required skills in every job description, whether the job requires someone with the ability to work with a certain practice management system, or someone who has superb telephone skills. Include every skill in the job description, no matter how small it might seem.

4. A statement that lets employees know the job description isn’t all-inclusive. Many doctors are afraid employees will use their job descriptions to get out of performing tasks. They fear if they ask team members to perform tasks that aren’t spelled out in their job descriptions, they’ll say no and use the job description as their justification.

I certainly hope your team members don’t have this attitude, but to avoid this happening in your practice, I suggest adding a line at the end of every job description. This line should make it clear that team members are expected to perform any other duty as directed by the doctor or their supervisor, and they can’t refer to the job description every time you ask them to do something that isn’t on it.

Remember, you can adjust job descriptions over time. Just make sure you let team members know when you do. It’s also a good idea to get your team members involved in the process. Their input can help you create even stronger job descriptions, and if they know how much you value their opinion and their contributions, they’ll be even more vested in the practice’s success.

Another tip? Make sure there isn’t any crossover of roles and responsibilities in your job descriptions. Tasking more than one team member with specific duties will only lead to frustration and confusion. It’s important for team members to take ownership of their systems and have accountability. Sure, you want team members to be able to take on tasks when their co-workers are out – but there should be no question about who is ultimately responsible for specific duties.

As the CEO of your practice, you have to provide employees with the guidance they need to excel. Use job descriptions to hire the best people possible, and then have your team members look to them as their roadmap to success.

Still not comfortable creating job descriptions? Consider downloading my templates for guidance, or contact me directly. I’m here to help.

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
Interested in having McKenzie Management Seminars speak to your dental society or study club? Click here.
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Jean Gallienne RDH BS
McKenzie Management
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Educating Patients about Their Needs
By Jean Gallienne, RDH BS

Many dental professionals do not consider themselves to be “selling dentistry”, but if you are educating your patients about their needs, you are selling dentistry. And if you are not educating your patients about their needs, you are not doing your patients or your practice a service!

Whether you own a practice or work in a practice, it is your practice. It is important for every member of the team to realize that everything they say and do, as well as the way they feel towards the practice, dentist or other members of the team, makes a difference in the quality of services being provided. Believing in your product is key when presenting treatment to your patients, and it effects acceptance rates as well.

It is important for the team to agree with the doctor’s style of treatment planning and diagnosing. Team members should understand how, what and why the doctor diagnoses and treatment plans both hard and soft tissue of the oral cavity. If there is a new dentist/owner in the practice, it is important for the new doctor to educate team members on his/her style of diagnosing, treatment planning and verbiage when explaining information to patients.

One way to do this is to have the hygienist stay in the operatory while the doctor is doing the exam and have the hygienist listen to what is being said to the patient. Once the doctor has left, the hygienist will want to look at the patient’s mouth and see exactly why the doctor recommended a crown on #18 and a buildup on #19 and a crown. This will help the hygienist to become more comfortable with the new doctor’s treatment planning style, and eventually the doctor will be able to come in at any time to do the exam, make recommendations, briefly go over what is needed, and leave the room as soon as possible to get back to his or her own patient.

It will become the hygienist’s responsibility to answer any clinical questions the patient may have before escorting him/her to the Financial Coordinator. The last thing the hygienist should ask patients before they leave is, “What questions, comments, or concerns do you have?” The most important thing is to make sure it is an open-ended question. If the hygienist or any member of the team is wishy-washy with their verbiage, it may effect trust levels or create questions in the patient’s mind regarding the treatment recommended.

Another important aspect of learning and knowing the doctor’s diagnosing style is being able to inform patients of treatment that may need to be done before the doctor even enters the room. This gives the patient a head’s up, and allows for a much smoother turnover from hygienist to doctor.  

The easiest way for front office staff to learn the doctor’s style is to have them come in during an examination, or towards the end of an appointment when the patient is sitting up and the doctor is presenting their needs to them. This will help enable your Financial Coordinator to present information to patients more confidently. It will also enable the recall person when they are working on clearing treatment pending and getting patients scheduled.

No matter what you teach your team, the treatment may not be accepted at the highest rate possible if they do not have complete faith in what, why and how the doctor diagnoses. It is important to have an entire team that believes not only in the doctor, but in the entire vision of the practice.

Interested in improving your hygiene department? Email hygiene@mckenziemgmt.com and ask us about our 1-Day Hygiene Training Program or call 877-777-6151

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Jonathan Gale, Ph.D.
Leadership Coach
McKenzie Management
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Leadership Comes from Within
By Jonathan Gale, Ph.D.

When you think about what makes a good leader, or how you can improve your leadership skills, you can take solace in knowing that you really need look no further than yourself! Let’s explore some areas on which to focus to enhance your leadership effectiveness.

1. Be Yourself, But Be Willing to Grow
Learning how to be a successful leader involves knowing yourself well first. Some researchers suggest that you should focus 70% of your time on strengths, 25% on new things like growth and change, and only 5% on your areas of weakness.

Once you have identified your strengths, emphasizing those (i.e., being more yourself) lets those around you know that you are a genuine person and comfortable in your leadership role. Consistency in your actions helps build trust. Being yourself is not the goal, though, as 25% of your efforts should be on stretching yourself. If you’re not growing, you run the risk of looking more like a relic than someone people want to follow. Your team as well as your competitors can be a great source of information on the areas in which you need to grow.

2. Establish Goals and Commit to Your Vision
As the leader of your practice, you must decide exactly how you want your group to accomplish your “vision.” You must hone the ability to take your vision and mold it into something the entire group wants to work toward. Rest assured, you don’t need to devise the vision alone. Your team will have valuable input into the overall mission, and incorporating their ideas will make them more likely to stay involved and inspired to achieve the desired results.

Once your vision is set, an important next step is to tell people outside of the group, demonstrating your commitment to the vision. When we make our plans public, we are much more likely to follow through on them.
3. Know Your Team and Create Camaraderie
In addition to providing goals and vision, you will also be in charge of motivation, and you must know how to get what you need from each individual member of your team. In conjunction with this, you must remain available for advice and support. Being there for your people in this way communicates very effectively that you are invested in them.

As a leader you are responsible for creating an exciting, energetic and rewarding environment for your group, inspiring them to work toward common goals. You must be able to identify and recognize the various talents, interests, strengths and weaknesses of your team members and use them all to the group’s advantage. An effective leader understands that he or she is very much part of the team and never loses the concept of working together to achieve common objectives.

4. Communicate: Talk and Listen
It sounds simple and perhaps obvious, but in order to be an effective leader, you must communicate your ideas effectively and also listen to the opinions of your group. Successful leaders are great askers, but you must take into consideration what your group has to say. Feeling brushed aside does not bode well for good followership.

Simply asking your team members what they think from time to time, or during scheduled 1:1 meetings, can make them feel like an integral part in achieving the group’s goals and keep them motivated to continue.

5. Evaluate Performances and Appreciate Others’ Work
Look at what you and your group have accomplished daily, weekly, monthly or in whatever timeframe makes sense for the activity involved. Are you meeting goals? Are there particular problem areas that arise repeatedly? Are all members doing what is required of them? Are you handling problems swiftly and effectively? Are you staying firm in your decisions?

Be sure to ask your group to assess how you’re doing as well; evaluating yourself helps ensure that you are treating everyone equally, fairly and consistently. Of course where there are problems, you need to address them, but equally important is offering praise when someone is doing a good job. Sometimes these words of encouragement are just enough to push someone to continue when they may have been bored or discouraged. Business consultant Ken Blanchard wrote: “Good thoughts in your head that are not communicated mean ‘squat.’”

Remember, learning how to be a leader is just like any other skill – the more practice you get, the more successful you will be.

Dr. Gale provides coaching and training to enhance leadership skills, interpersonal communications and team building. If you would like to learn more, contact him at jgalephd@mckenziemgmt.com

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