Supporting a new associate
Each year, thousands of practices add associates. An associate can be a valuable asset when the practice is growing or the doctor is approaching retirement. If you've decided to hire an associate doctor, it's in your best interest to smooth his or her transition into the practice. Adding an associate can alleviate scheduling stress while facilitating an increase in productivity, but only if the practice is properly prepared.
Prepare team members. Ensure that staff members view the new doctor as an essential part of the team. Demonstrate from the beginning that they should treat the associate with respect. Spend several days with the associate in the office before his or her official start date, and host social events to foster rapport.
Don't set the associate up for failure with failing systems. Finding someone who has the qualifications and personality to fit into the team only goes so far -- you also need to have the right management systems. Associates can be young, inexperienced, and untrained in business. Like any new team member, an associate will need to learn how to use the practice's systems. Well-organized, documented systems will quickly put a new associate on the path to success.
Roger P. Levin, DDS, is the chairman and CEO of practice management consulting firm Levin Group. You can connect with Levin Group on Facebook and Twitter (@Levin_Group) to learn more strategies and share ideas. Also, check out Dr. Levin's free practice management videos at www.levingroup.com/gp.
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