How a Weak Team Hurts Your Practice
You can’t run a successful dental practice on your own. You need smart, talented team members who support you and understand their role in moving the practice forward. If you don’t have that, your practice will struggle and never truly meet its full potential.
That’s why it’s so important to take the time to bring on the right people for each role. Don’t just hire the first person with an impressive resume. Instead, develop a system that includes reading through each resume (and looking for red flags), conducting telephone interviews, asking the right questions during face-to-face interviews, and having candidates take personality tests before you extend any offers. This will help ensure you find the best people for the job, and that you don’t end up making costly hiring mistakes.
Finding the right team members and giving them the tools they need to succeed is vital to your success. Here’s how a weak team can hurt your practice, along with tips on how to make your team stronger and your practice more profitable.
Tasks won’t get done. Often, team members struggle simply because they’re not given clear direction. They’re not sure what systems they’re accountable for or what tasks they’re supposed to get done each day, which of course leads to confusion, low team morale and a host of other problems for your practice. This can be fixed if you offer team members proper guidance.
I suggest you develop detailed job descriptions for each role. I know, I know. You think job descriptions are a waste of time. Trust me. They’re not. Job descriptions offer your team members a road map to success and clear up any confusion about who’s responsible for what. Team members know exactly what’s expected of them, and how their performance will be measured.
It’s also important to provide employees with proper training. Spend time training them when they first begin their job and then every time you bring new equipment or software into the practice. They’ll be much more confident in their roles, and that will show in the way they interact with patients.
A weak team is more likely to experience conflict. When team members are unclear of their roles or simply don’t carry their weight, it leads to conflict with the rest of the staff – and that can do a lot of damage to your practice. If team members are busy gossiping about each other, making snide comments or rolling their eyes every chance they get, it means they’re not focused on contributing to practice success or providing the best patient experience possible. Morale will drop and even your most loyal team members might decide it’s time to find a new job. Not only that, your patients will notice the tension, which could prompt some to make their next appointment at the practice down the street.
Hiring people who are well-suited for the role and then giving them the direction they need will help you avoid conflict in your practice. Remember though, conflict may still come up every now and then. As much as you might want to, don’t ignore it. Sit down with the team members involved right away and work together to find a resolution. You’ll stop conflict before it gets out of control and does damage, while also making improvements to your practice.
It will cost you money. Team members who aren’t prepared or equipped to perform certain job responsibilities are usually inefficient, and that costs you money. Maybe your Collections Coordinator dreads asking past-due patients for payment, or your Scheduling Coordinator doesn’t know how to schedule you to meet production goals. Both scenarios cost the practice money, but can be avoided if you hire someone with the right temperament for the collections job, or train your Scheduling Coordinator to properly schedule your day.
Then of course you also have the employees who want to do as little as possible and still earn their paycheck. This rarely happens, but it’s a problem that dentists do have to deal with from time to time – again making it critical to focus on hiring talented, hardworking individuals from the beginning.
Running a successful dental practice truly is a team effort. A weak team will hold your practice back, but finding and hiring the right employees will help your practice flourish.
Need more guidance on how to hire the right people and then set them up for success? Feel free to contact me. I’m happy to help.
Next week: 6 tips to build a better team
For additional information on this topic and more, visit my blog: The Lighter Side
Interested in speaking to me about your practice concerns? Email email@example.com
Bad Hires Start with a Remarkable Resume
Front Office Training Case #FO567
“Julie Smith” (names have been changed) was hired by Dr. James as a Scheduling Coordinator. His previous coordinator left suddenly due to a complication with her pregnancy and was not going to return to work. He advertised online to attract a good replacement, and was immediately enamored by Julie Smith’s glowing resume. Although she had little dental front office training, she had a BA degree in Business Administration and held a certificate in Marketing from a local college. It certainly would be easy to teach her the business of dentistry, he mused.
After a short personal interview, Dr. James sighed in relief that he had found someone to be his Scheduling Coordinator. It was obvious on her first day at work that she needed help with the dental software program. Her computer skills were minimal, but Dr. James chocked it up to new hire nerves and told her to look on YouTube for software training videos. In the meantime, the dental assistants were helping with scheduling and checking patients in and out.
Dr. James decided to send Julie to McKenzie Management’s Front Office Training to give her the professional, one-on-one training necessary for the position. We went over computer reports and defining the meaning behind the numbers, yet Julie seemed to struggle with understanding the aging report. Part of the training involves a math test regarding presenting a treatment estimate based on an insurance estimate and a patient co-insurance portion. She struggled with taking a percentage and subtracting a deductible from the equation. Simple math, but she was confused.
Julie’s reported education was not helping her with this new job. After completing the training, she understood the systems, the importance of monitoring the numbers, and most importantly, patient follow-up and great customer/patient service. She was busy learning dental terminology and studying software training online. She had a pleasant personality and was willing and eager to learn, but she would need time – which Dr. James was short on.
Dr. James decided to check her references and educational credentials after the fact. Her experience in a dental office turned out to be a summer spent working as a sterilization tech for her personal dentist, and she never worked at the front desk. She never received a BA degree but had taken some courses at college level. Her marketing certificate was a fake that was found at this link -- https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0206-college-degree-scams
Most employers and educational institutions consider it lying if you claim academic credentials that you didn't earn through actual course work. If you use a so-called “degree” from a diploma mill to apply for a job or promotion, you risk not getting hired, getting fired, and possible prosecution.
Dr. James felt duped and betrayed, yet blamed himself for not carefully checking Julie’s resume, references and educational credentials.
Experts in Human Resources (from the Society of Human Resources) say:
When checking out a resume, start at the top, with the applicant's name and address. If a candidate is lying about their name or address, what else are they hiding?
Identity checks can be done by verifying a Social Security number, global passport or government-issued identification card.
A key part of a reference check is to independently verify that past employers are real, and the contact numbers are legitimate. Finding out how the applicant performed in previous positions is important.
A HireRight survey found that only about half (49%) of employers check applicants' education credentials. Candidates have inflated their grade point average, claimed to have received an academic honor that they didn't earn, or even made up a degree altogether. Employers should be aware of "diploma mills," or phony schools that will provide job applicants a certificate or degree for a price.
Consider a screening firm. The best use of a screening firm is for the methodical verification of employment, credentials and education after a hiring decision has been made. Many background firms have a great deal of automation that allows the task to be completed very efficiently and cost-effectively.
Need help finding the right fit for your practice? Contact McKenzie Management before you hire, and take the Dentist CEO Training to learn how to avoid costly and painful bad hires.
McKenzie Newsletter Information:
To unsubscribe: To discontinue receiving the Sally McKenzie management newsletter,
click on the link at the very bottom of this page for instant removal,
To report technical problems with this newsletter or to request technical help,
please send a descriptive email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
To request services, products or general inquires about The McKenzie Management Company, LLC activities
please send a descriptive email to: email@example.com
If you would like to have any of your dental practice concerns answered personally by Sally McKenzie,
please send a descriptive email to her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyrights 1980-Present The McKenzie Management Company, LLC - All Rights Reserved.