A recent survey conducted with practice owners across the US revealed that the number-one management problem they have is personnel issues. Among the problems mentioned by hundreds of owners surveyed were:
- Procuring qualified personnel,
- Getting employees to perform competently once hired,
- An inability to hold staff members accountable for their work,
- Turnover and handling disputes among employees.
Correctly isolating and debugging non-optimum practice situations is a skill that every doctor finds he needs. Oftentimes, a manager who is seeking solutions overlooks some administrative fundamentals which, left undetected, cause a problem to appear larger or more complex than it really is. Moreover, failing to discover the real source of a problem leads to poor decision-making. In the case of managing employees, this type of failure is not only frustrating, it’s expensive.
The real work begins after the hiring process ends, for each employee must be well trained for his/her position in the practice. Lacking thorough training, an employee will not perform to the expected standard. That will inevitably lead to either the employee quitting or the doctor firing him/her.
There is an exact technology for finding and hiring good staff members. Assuming the hiring techniques are sound, the most devastating managerial mistakes are made during the training period. During that time, an unskilled manager might make assumptions that lead to incorrect reasons for poor performance, and those conclusions, in turn, lead to bad decisions regarding personnel. All too often, a suitable person who is both willing and trainable fails to receive the information needed to do the job. As a result, turnover occurs and doctors and office managers spend their time dealing with personnel problems rather than treating or servicing patients.
Written job descriptions are a must for each position in a practice. More importantly, those descriptions need to include fundamental data that are often omitted because the manager assumes that the employee already knows what is needed from him. Common sense, or common knowledge, to one person may not be so to another. Verbal instructions are much less effective than thoroughly written job manuals.
Every job description in an office should include the seven following sections:
- The responsibilities that the person holding the job position has to the patients,
- A general description of the position, which includes its purpose,
- A statistic that quantifies, and thus objectively measures, the production of the position,
- A list of specific duties that one in the position is expected to perform,
What are the final three sections that a job description should contain and the four things to examine when employee problems arise? Read the final half of this article by filling out this form.