1. Define what you are seeking
Make sure you have written down the competencies for the job you are looking to fill. You want to make sure you set someone up for success as he or she joins your team. Take a moment and think about personality characteristics you need in your open position. For example, if you are looking for a treatment coordinator, you would want to make sure you have a friendly, outgoing team member with excellent communication skills. You would not want someone who is on the shy side presenting treatment options to your patients. Each team member will need to have certain strengths for each position on your team.
2. Clear role and responsibilities
Nothing is more frustrating for you or the new team member than to be ambiguous with job duties. It has been my experience that you need to be as detailed and complete with this list as possible. I help my clients to list primary and secondary functions to make sure all practice responsibilities are covered. Sometimes this step is forgotten and, when that happens, something falls through the cracks.
3. Share your mission statement with each candidate
When hiring a new team member, it is imperative that he or she shares your philosophy. Your mission statement is foundational to your success and all team members need to agree with that statement. This will bond one another for the common purpose of your practice. Problems will arise if all team members do not agree with the mission statement of your practice.
4. Explain the culture of your practice
Culture can be fuzzy for a lot of people, so I define the culture of a practice in terms of what is acceptable and unacceptable. This definition keeps things simple for you and your team. The difficulty begins with how each team member defines what is acceptable and unacceptable. My goal is to get everyone in your practice to think about this and start writing down some key aspects of your culture. This is a great team exercise for your next meeting. By writing these down as a team, it keeps everyone accountable to each other.
Here are some examples to get you started.
Making the huddle important so that it is unacceptable to be late would keep the team accountable. Another item would be turning over a room without being asked or answering a ringing phone. Yes, these items are simple. However, when everyone else is busy, help like this is greatly appreciated. Being helpful and looking for those opportunities should be added to your list. These should be expectations of being a team member at your practice.
Trust is part of the foundation of being a team. Include some verbiage about how you feel regarding this, such as patients are the priority or no one is above taking out the trash. These various things will create team cohesion and help bind you closer together.
I like to teach dentists and office managers how to be the coach of the practice. By setting these parameters of what is acceptable or not acceptable, everyone is kept accountable to each other, and it is further defined what it means to be a member of your team.
5. Give your current team an opportunity to meet your top candidates
Hiring a new team member includes making sure they can be a positive addition to your current team. Take your current team and your top two or three candidates (separately) to lunch so everyone can get to know their potential new team member. Have your team be prepared with questions they want to ask and what is important to them as your team expands. When getting together in a less formal environment, you get to observe how each team member relates to one another. This has been a highly informative part of the hiring process for my clients. Many times, this lunch gives clarity as to which candidate will be offered the job.
Mistakes I see
On numerous occasions, I find dentists are not sure about their culture or who will make a good fit. This is one of the reasons why I teach dentists how to be the head coach of their team. If you have not identified the true role of that team member, mistakes and assumptions will be made. All members of the team have a role to play for team cohesion.
If you need help when looking for a new team member, please get in touch with me.
Lynne Leggett is the founder and CEO of Victory Dental Management. She has more than 25 years of business experience in several industries, including dentistry, medical, pharmacy, sales, transportation, logistics, and project management. Learn more about her and her services, including some free offerings, on the Victory Dental Management website.
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