The starting point of attracting great team members is indoctrinating them into the practice culture, and this begins with the job description. Every human resources professional can explain why job descriptions are so critically important. But the fundamental question is whether they really work or not.
Why have job descriptions?
Of course, every position must have a job description. However, it must be one that yields the right result. At Levin Group, we've come to believe that traditional job descriptions overemphasize the skills, educational history, and tasks of the job. While it's essential for applicants to have a broad understanding of the job, they should also be well-versed in the practice's culture, mission, and core values -- three of the most contributory factors in the success of any dental team.
Dr. Roger P. Levin is the executive founder of the Dental Business Study Clubs.
Practices should also outline and emphasize what is expected. This includes how team members should show up every day, what their attitude should be, and how they should have a teamwork mentality. For the job description to be effective, it must help candidates truly understand what it means to be a team member in a specific practice.
We now have our clients include paragraphs on culture, mission, core values, and teamwork in their job descriptions. They are going beyond the basic skills, educational history, and tasks of the job to give candidates a thorough understanding of their practice's philosophy before candidates even step through the door (or show their face online) for an interview. This job description is then used in the interviewing process to explain the details of the expectations and day-to-day tasks. In some cases, candidates may decide this isn't the right practice for them. Others will become more excited and express their desire to be offered the job.
The hard part in team building is bringing the team members together under one real mission with a set of core values that they live by. This is the difference between good teams and great teams. Great teams have a higher sense of purpose, which gives them greater satisfaction in their work. This means all team members must embrace the culture, mission, and core values of the practice. Otherwise, the team will experience friction, stress, and frustration, and turnover will inevitably happen.
Why the team is the greatest asset
There is a myth in the U.S. about entrepreneurs who do it all on their own. Did Bill Gates really build Microsoft all by himself? Did Steve Jobs create Apple alone? Did Mark Zuckerberg make Facebook a household name all on his own?
The answer to all those questions is a resounding no. Those companies required teams and teams of committed people to make them what they are today. Those people are the unsung heroes. We may never know their names, but there would be no Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, or any other highly successful company if it depended 100% on a founder.
Doctors are the driving force of dental practices, and to some degree they can generate high production and revenue even if their team is underperforming. But like the CEO of any business, they can't take it to higher levels on their own. Doctors need to be able to delegate to others to focus more on what they do best, which is dentistry and patient relations.
Simply ask yourself how productive you could be if you were able to walk into your office, attend a morning meeting, and then perform dentistry the entire day, guided from room to room by a dental assistant. That is an ideal day for any doctor. But in most practices, it's not that simple.
There are many days where there are a hundred questions for the doctor, the schedule falls apart, or team members have concerns or even conflict. Perhaps these are just a few days out of the month in some practices, but in others they are the norm. Doctors should not be completely exhausted at the end of each day from dealing with issues that could be handled by team members. If a doctor can concentrate on patient care all day, then at the end of the day there should be a wonderful feeling of satisfaction; however, this depends on the team handling everything else.
To make that happen, it is time to recognize that your team is your greatest asset. Every team member should know what it will take to successfully complete each task or project. This can only happen when step-by-step documented systems are put in place with exquisite detail on team training. Then and only then can your team function at the highest level and help the practice remain productive and financially successful.
Enjoy your team
A final note: Enjoy your team. Dentistry should be fun, and if you're not having fun, you need to figure out why. As a third-generation general dentist, I saw the enjoyment and satisfaction that my grandfather and father had each day as dentists and the pride they had in their practices. It's plain to see that we have lost some of that due to the pressures of the business side of the practice.
One way to mitigate this is to build a great team. If you can build a team that can manage itself, then you don't have to worry about managing it. If you have self-disciplined people, they will get the job done. If you have people who understand their jobs and are committed, the practice will be headed in the right direction for greater success.
Enjoying the team is a component of team building that I teach and endorse. You spend countless hours with your team, and these are your colleagues and your friends. Taking time to know them, enjoy them, and support them through different challenges in their lives will go a long way toward building a team that is truly your greatest asset.
Dr. Roger P. Levin is the executive founder of the Dental Business Study Clubs. To contact him or to join the 40,000 dental professionals who receive his Practice Production Tip of the Day, visit www.levingroup.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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