6 Ways Not Having Job Descriptions Hurts Your Practice
For most dentists, creating job descriptions isn’t very high on their to-do list. They convince themselves they don’t really need job descriptions for their employees. After all, their talented team members know what tasks need to be completed each day – writing it all down would just be a waste of time.
I’m here to tell you it isn’t. If you don’t develop job descriptions for your team members, I can pretty much guarantee they’re not going to be nearly as effective as they could be. Sure, they probably have a vague idea of what they’re supposed to do each day, but detailed job descriptions offer the guidance they need to truly excel in their roles so they can help move the practice forward.
Bottom line: If you don’t have job descriptions, it’s hurting your practice. Here’s how:
1. Your team members feel lost. As nice as it would be, your employees aren’t mind readers. To be effective, you, the practice CEO, must provide them with the direction they crave – and job descriptions are a great way to do that. Without guidance from you, team members often feel lost and unsure of themselves, which has a negative impact on their performance.
Through detailed job descriptions, you can clearly outline the tasks they’re responsible for as well as your expectations. If you want your Patient Coordinator to call and schedule five past due patients a day, for example, you should include that in the job description. That kind of detail leaves no doubt about who’s responsible for what, and that makes for a much stronger team.
2. Morale takes a hit. When team members don’t have clear direction, it leads to frustration and stress. They’re left constantly trying to guess what they should do next, and they tend to be wrong more often than not. It might even get to the point where they dread coming to work each day, prompting them to start looking for a new job.
This can be avoided if you take the time to develop clear job descriptions. I even suggest you sit down with team members to get their input. Doing so will show them you value their opinion while also encouraging them to take more ownership of their role, and that will help boost team morale and practice profits.
3. You’re hiring the wrong people. Job descriptions are designed to keep current employees on the right track, but they also help ensure you hire talented employees who are right for the role. If you’ve taken the time to really think about the skillset necessary for each job, you’ll have a pretty good idea which candidates have the potential to excel and which will likely falter. Job descriptions guide you through the hiring process, helping you find the best match for the open position. And if you send job descriptions to candidates before you start the interviewing process, they’ll know right away if the job isn’t the right fit – giving them the opportunity to bow out early, saving you time and money.
4. Staff conflict becomes more likely. If team members aren’t clear on who’s responsible for what, it could result in big problems for your practice. Tasks might not get done properly (if at all), which leads to finger pointing, resentment, passive aggressive behavior and gossip. Morale takes an even bigger hit, and team members become more focused on the conflict than on providing patients with an exceptional experience. The entire practice suffers, and you might even find yourself with a few open positions as unhappy employees start looking for new jobs.
5. It could cost you patients. Trust me, patients notice when there’s conflict among team members or when employees just aren’t confident in their roles. It affects the way they interact with patients as well as the quality of care they provide. Patients have a lot of options when it comes to choosing a dental home, so if they start to feel uncomfortable in your office or question your team members’ skills, there’s a pretty good chance they’ll try their luck at the practice down the street when it’s time for their next appointment.
6. Employees aren’t held accountable for their systems. If team members don’t know exactly what systems they’re accountable for, it makes it difficult for them to take ownership of those systems. Job descriptions that include performance measurements make this clear, while also outlining how you expect each system to perform. With this information team members can better focus their efforts, and that in turn improves their productivity.
Detailed job descriptions guide team members so they can perform at their best. Without them, they won’t be very effective – and that costs you money, wastes your time and keeps you from meeting your full potential. Essentially, not creating job descriptions hurts your practice and your bottom line. Sit down with your team members to develop job descriptions and you’ll find you have more efficient, happier employees who are poised to help you move your practice toward success and profitability.
Need help creating job descriptions? Feel free to contact me and we’ll get started.
Next week: Elements to include in every job description.
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
Operational Excellence for Your Dental Team
Most dentists do not look at their practice(s) from the standpoint of operational success, but rather of human resources success. Always seeking out the perfect employee who can complete tasks effortlessly with a perfect smile…it almost conjures up a robotic image of someone who needs a little oil and no food, water or bathroom breaks! But turnover of both clinical staff and business staff is a reality, and even when we have the seemingly “perfect” person they may end up leaving, much to our dismay.
As a business owner/entrepreneur and practicing dentist, I have observed that one of the hardest concepts for dentists to grasp is the importance of operational systems for employees to work within, instead of falling back on the mindset of “it’s the way we’ve always done it”. In many practices, things are being done that a former employee established long ago. Even though that person is no longer there, no one questions whether there should be change in favor of a better way. On analysis of existing systems, they are fraught with misuse of people, time and materials. A top reason good people leave their position is that they are not allowed to change things that no longer work, are inefficient, time wasting, waste goods and supplies and contribute to their failure on the job.
In my search for leaner and meaner operational systems for my business and my dental practices, I have discovered a set of management systems called Toyota Production System (or “TPS”, from the book The Toyota Way by Jeffrey K. Liker) that I have found to be applicable to any business, including dental practices. Upon analysis of its operational systems, Toyota produces a high-quality product with high productivity, speed and flexibility. Toyota encourages employees within operations to identify opportunities that can be improved and then implement those improvements. Their goals to be continually improving (with their “lean” method management systems) have become a benchmark for other businesses/manufacturing to follow. The 4P Model of The Toyota Way is:
Philosophy: Develop long-term thinking
Process: Eliminate waste
People and Partners: Respect and challenge to build trust
Using Toyota’s principles as a role model to develop my own business acumen has given me so much practical sense and insight into working with my dental practices and my dental billing business. What I have learned is there is always room for improvement and the success that it brings.
Want to discuss how outsourcing dental and medical insurance will improve your revenue flow and give you more time with your patients? Contact eAssist Dental Solutions today for more information. We are here to help you.
James V. Anderson DMD is a practicing dentist in Syracuse, Utah. He has built nine dental practices in the last decade and is the CEO/Founder of eAssist Dental Solutions, the largest national dental insurance billing company (www.dentalbilling.com) in the U.S.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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