Don’t Have Job Descriptions? Here’s Why You Should
Most dentists shut down when I start talking about job descriptions. They think they’re a waste of time, and would rather focus on other practice-building strategies.
While there are many changes you can make to improve practice production and increase revenues, creating detailed job descriptions is one of the best places to start. Think about it. Your team can’t be very effective if they don’t have clear goals or know what tasks they’re expected to complete each day. Job descriptions give them the guidance they need to excel in their roles, and that translates into enhanced efficiencies and increased productivity.
Like it or not, job descriptions play a role in your success. Without them, your team members, and ultimately your practice, will struggle. Still don’t believe me? Here are four ways detailed job descriptions can benefit your practice.
1. You’ll hire the right people. Not only do job descriptions help keep current employees on the right track, they also help you find qualified candidates with the necessary skill set when it’s time to hire. Job descriptions truly make the hiring process easier for everyone involved. Candidates will know exactly what you’re looking for, and can bow out early in the process if they don’t like what the role entails – saving you from wasting time and money on applicants who aren’t right for the job. Job descriptions also help guide you through the hiring process so you can easily spot candidates who are the best fit for the open position.
2. Job descriptions boost team morale. Team members crave guidance from you, the practice CEO. Without it they’ll feel lost, which leads to stress and frustration. To be successful, team members need a clear picture of their role as well as your expectations. This direction will make them more confident. They’ll come to work with a purpose, ready to meet both individual and practice goals. Team members will also feel more connected to the practice, and less likely to spend time job hunting during their off hours.
Another benefit? Job descriptions make your team members more efficient and more productive, which of course translates into a more robust bottom line.
3. They make team members accountable. It’s important for team members to take ownership of their systems, but they can’t do that if they’re not sure which systems they’re accountable for or how you expect those systems to perform. Remember, they’re not mind readers, as nice as that would be. Include specific performance measurements in every job description to ensure team members understand who’s responsible for what. Trust me, this will go a long way in improving practice efficiencies.
4. You won’t have to worry as much about staff conflict. Most dentists hate the thought of dealing with staff conflict. It makes them uncomfortable, so they choose to ignore it as long as possible. The problem is, conflict can be pretty damaging, and as much as you’d like to tell yourself issues between staff members will go away on their own, they won’t.
What does this have to do with job descriptions? Clear, detailed job descriptions can help to significantly reduce conflict in your office. Many issues pop up because team members just aren’t clear who’s responsible for what. When there’s no clear direction, tasks often don’t get done properly, if they’re done at all, and that can cause resentment and tension among team members.
Creating job descriptions will help save you from the headaches and thousands of dollars in lost revenue that often comes with staff conflict. Remember, when team members are gossiping about each other, they’re not as productive as they should be and they’re certainly not focusing on your patients – and that could cost you money. If patients don’t feel like a priority in your practice, or if all that tension makes them uncomfortable, they won’t hesitate to find another dental home.
Have I convinced you yet? The truth is, job descriptions will help make your team members more focused and more productive, which will ultimately grow your bottom line. If you don’t already have detailed job descriptions, I suggest you set aside time to sit down with your team members and create them together.
If you’re overwhelmed by the thought of creating job descriptions, don’t worry. I can help with that. Click here for examples of common job descriptions or feel free to contact me for more guidance.
Next week: Tips to help you create job descriptions that get results
For additional information on this topic and more, visit my blog: The Lighter Side
Interested in speaking to me about your practice concerns? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Stop the Revolving Door of Staff Turnover
CEO Business Training Case #CEO213
Did you know that dental professionals have some of the best jobs in the nation, according to U.S. News and World Report, which ranks dentists first and orthodontists fifth on its 100 Best Jobs List/Best Health Care Jobs for 2017? Dental hygienists came in at #32 on the list of 100 best jobs. This data was drawn from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine jobs with the greatest hiring demand, salary, growth potential, work/life balance and stress level.
So why do so many dentists complain of chaos and disharmony in their practice? Is this not stressing? Does this sound like an example of work/life balance? “Dr. Jess” (names have been changed) didn’t think so and reached out to McKenzie Management for guidance.
Dr. Jess decided to attend McKenzie Management’s Dentist CEO Business Course to improve her skills in dealing with staffing issues. Her practice was a “revolving door” of turnover, mostly at the front desk, though she had also recently experienced the loss of her lead dental assistant to maternity leave that extended into full time motherhood.
Dr. Jess lamented: “I love dentistry and my patients but I am disappointed in my staff. They are lazy. They have good salaries and benefits yet they want more without doing more. It just makes me furious.”
During the CEO training, the discussion came to job descriptions and accountability. Dr. Jess admitted she didn’t have anything in writing for her Office Manager nor for anyone else. “I assume she knows what she’s doing. She doesn’t hear from me unless there is a problem. The schedule is always falling apart and I have been complaining to her a lot about that.”
The doctor’s interaction with the Office Manager was not getting the results she wanted, so we discussed that perhaps she should try another approach.
The position of office manager is a big responsibility, requiring the juggling of a lot of tasks to keep the practice productive and prosperous. The full comprehension of the position came to light for Dr. Jess during the training. The suggestion was made to have a meeting with the manager every two weeks to discuss the practice, ask questions, give compliments and show interest in the position and what the job entails. This would assure the manager that Dr. Jess trusts her with the job responsibilities, while knowing she can perform to greater satisfaction.
Your office manager should be your ally and always have your back. Trust from the doctor feeds this loyalty. The more engaged your office manager is in your practice, the more you will gain in terms of staff loyalty and retention of a great employee. Reward your office manager for working with you to achieve practice goals. It’s important to reward a job well done with a show of appreciation – even a small token will do.
Years ago, a dentist I worked for was so appreciative of my work that he made coffee for me every morning, even putting in the cream. I never forgot that. A thank you card, a gift card for a favorite restaurant, or even a onetime bonus check are all great tokens of appreciation. People don’t just work for paychecks as in the past – they often want a feeling of job satisfaction and appreciation for the challenging work they do. It is a measure of what you think of her work, personality, interaction with patients and most importantly, what you think of the job she is doing.
Document your meetings and use this time to share with your office manager things that are being done well and things that can be built for the future of the practice. A strong manager is critical to building a successful dental practice. Most importantly, this value needs to be communicated by the dentist.
Dr. Jess completed the CEO training with a more clear understanding of the dental business systems that create a profitable and happy dental practice. She could no longer blame the office manager for failings in the schedule and realized they needed to work together as a team, sharing the responsibility and perfecting the process. She now uses the same approach when communicating with the remainder of her team as well.
Want to be a better CEO? Sign up for McKenzie Management’s Dentist CEO Business Training Course today.
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