The Right Staff
Edition: June 2009 - Vol 17 Number 06
Author: Judy Capko
Did you ever go into a medical office where everything just clicks and you instantly feel like a special guest? In some offices it just comes natural. The doctors and managers enjoy and value staff, they have an innate ability to treat everyone right and the practice is a shining star. For others it’s by design – they have learned what it takes to hire and keep a great staff.
It starts with the interview and knowing who will be a good fit for the practice. Obviously, integrity and dependability top the list of requirements for each, but some positions are simply harder to fill and keep filled; the receptionist and the scheduler, for example. These can be stressful and demanding positions.
Distributor reps can help with this process. Vendors with strong relationships with the practices are sometimes reliable helpmates for physicians seeking new employees. Since they call on many offices, they might know of someone that is looking to make a switch. They might also offer some tips to help physicians improve their hiring skills. The following are ways practices can have good candidates to select from and get the new hire started on the right foot.
Making the right selection
Planning is an essential component of hiring right. First, there needs to be a job description that clearly defines the essential skills and experience needed. Although these key technical components are important, the integrity and the cultural fit are critical. No matter how good the candidate looks, the interview should not over sell – give the facts and let the office sell itself. It is better to be short-staffed than to hire the wrong person. Applicants need to know the essentials about the practice opportunity, and the interview needs to determine if this person is a likely fit.
At the end of the interview, if the applicant seems like a good fit, practices should give him or her the time frame when a decision is likely to be made. Then take this bold step – ask “If another opportunity comes up, but you think you’d prefer to work with us, please call us back before making a final decision.” This is a smart strategy to keep from losing a candidate that may be the best of the lot.
Tools to succeed
Training, feedback and accountability are vital to getting started on the right foot. Practices should create a formal training tool that lists goals, tasks to be accomplished and target dates. Just as important, they should clarify the point person who will take responsibility for the training and feedback required to help the new employee succeed.
Training the new employee is a delicate process. It requires some good communication, encouragement, support and honest feedback. End-of-week briefings are encouraged to see how the employee is feeling about the job and how well he or she is mastering the tasks. Within 90 days, a decision should be made on whether this employee is right for the practice or needs to move on.