Core values and hiring the right fit for the right job

By Dr. James V. Anderson, DrBicuspid contributing writer

April 6, 2021 -- What are core values? If you haven't given this question much thought, now is the time. Hiring a team that shares your dedication to serving patients is more than can be found on the typical resume. It is often said that hiring people who share your core values and your vision for practice success is a good move toward creating the best possible team scenario.

Core values are a small list of guiding principles for your practice and your personal life. After all, you can't be one person at the office and another in public. The general rule is to keep the list of core values small but well thought out. The core values will define your practice culture -- and who you are as a person. Living your core values will attract like-minded people who share your conscience and code.

The applicant interview should cover the definition of your core values and the discussion of how this person will fit in. If you can't define your values, you have no way of knowing who believes in them and who doesn't.

Dr. James Anderson
Dr. James Anderson.

Vetting applicants by experience, skills, and education is only part of the process. Yes, these things are essential, but at the end of the day, are you in a hurry to get away from the office to avoid spending another minute with a person who doesn't share commonalities crucial to you?

Unfortunately, many dental practices have not defined their core values, and the lack of clarity of purpose hinders their growth and leads to resultant team dissatisfaction. Team dissatisfaction leads to dentist stress and patients who feel the weight of the hostile environment around them.

To begin developing your core values, think of up to three people who embody the characteristics and qualities you admire. Hopefully, these people are in your organization. If not, you still need to list values that you desire even if no one exemplifies them as a place to start your thought process.

Let's say you are looking to hire an insurance coordinator. You have a written job description that lays out the skill set necessary and the number of years of experience you desire. Now, what core values do you see this person having? Do the values resonate with your values?

For example, you may want a person who does the following:

  • Practices fanatical attention to consistency and detail: Filing dental claims must be done with the utmost care or the claim will be rejected or denied.
  • Has tenacity not to give up in the presence of a challenge: The world of dental insurance billing has become far more complicated and can push most people to the edge. You want a person who digs his or her heels in the sand and won't back down when appealing a dental claim that the plan should pay.
  • Is accountable and honest and has integrity: None of us are perfect people, but some of us try harder to be. You want someone responsible for the results of his or her work. When it comes to working the insurance aging, no excuses are accepted for lack of follow-up. Honesty about why some claims have not paid is necessary to know where the revenue stream is headed.
  • Is creative and often "thinks outside the box" to solve problems: Creative problem-solvers are worth their weight in gold. This core value is always in high demand. When given a challenge, they develop all kinds of ideas and solutions, always searching for the best answer.

Take a little time to write down your core values. Are these the values that you live and would like to see in your team? Please share them with your team after you are sure that the list represents your actual values. Define the meaning of the core values to your team and give examples of the behaviors that demonstrate the values.

For instance, if one of your core values is, "We do whatever it takes to serve our patients," then you want the highest level of customer service for your patients. You want every patient to have the best dental care from the best trained and focused team.

Core alignment of your team is accomplished when you realize that surrounding yourself with like-minded people will prepare your organization for growth.

Dr. James Anderson is a practicing dentist in Syracuse, UT, and is the CEO and founder of eAssist Dental Solutions. He can be reached via email.

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

Copyright © 2021

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