Finding the right team for your practice can seem as complicated and challenging as resolving a quadratic equation.
However, it doesn’t need to be that complicated!
I have many times heard dentists say, “I went to dental school to learn how to be a dentist. A few years after dental school, I learned that I also needed to know how to run a successful business.”
Hiring and training a cohesive team takes time, energy and focus. The systems and protocols needed to build a dynamic team are simple.
Listed below are the eight steps every practice should take to recruit a quality team member.
1. Write the correct ad
In drafting the right team member for the practice, the ad must be written to attract the person you’re seeking. “Help Wanted” is not going to attract a dynamic candidate. Describe the qualities you are looking for when recruiting a new staff member for the practice.
2. Pre-screen the applicants
Have a list of questions to ask once a prospective applicant responds to the ad. These questions, once answered, should help determine whether or not the individual should complete an application. Here are some sample questions:
- What attracted you to this ad?
- How do you feel about our hours of business?
- What other information about yourself would help me decide to interview you?
- What questions can I answer for you about our office/this position?
- The hours for this position are ___________. How will that fit your scheduling needs?
- What do you like most about your current job?
- Ideally, what are you looking for in your next position?
3. Interview with a purpose in mind
Invite the applicant to come into the office to complete the application in person. This allows the employer to observe how the applicant dresses and behaves. Did they dress professionally? Are they “well groomed” (hair, make-up, and clothing)?
Prepare a list of interview questions specifically designed for the position offered.
Ask clinical questions for clinical teams and non-clinical for administrative positions.
Pay close attention to how the questions are answered and what details the applicant provides. Notice body language and how they refer to their previous employer…positive or negative.
4. Involve the team
The team is a crucial element in the process of hiring.
Invite the applicant to go to lunch with the team. The team has the opportunity to interact with the applicant interpersonally and thus provide honest feedback.
5. Design detailed job descriptions
There is a difference between “job description” and “job duties.”
Job descriptions should define the role and expectations of the team member assuming that responsibility.
Job duties should describe the itemized list of duties and responsibilities to adequately perform the function of the job. Employment compliance is crucial to establishing and maintaining a dynamic team.
I recommend utilizing a detailed and informative employee manual to ensure a complete understanding of the rules and guidelines for working in the practice.
6. Hire for attitude and train for excellence
Proper training offers the best opportunity for success in maintaining a dynamic team. However, a positive “can do” attitude will support the success of the team. You can train skill, but you cannot train attitude.
Training should be done during the first 90 days of new employee orientation. The training plan should be laid out in detail, with a plan to assess skills throughout.
For example, if the new employee will be using the software system, set up online training and “test” the new hire on level of knowledge before moving on to the next level.
7. Hold annual performance reviews separate from salary reviews
Performance reviews should be done annually and scheduled in advance.
Hold salary reviews separate from performance reviews. Salary reviews should be no longer than 15 minutes and include only information regarding the amount available for an increase in salary if any.
The employee needs to achieve all four requirements to receive an increase. Twenty-five percent of available increase is offered for each category reached; no unexcused absences, participated in all team meetings, attended recommended continuing education or dental courses and maintained a positive attitude throughout the year. For each category achieved, the employee receives 25% of the available raise.
Example: 25% increase available if they meet the following four criteria:
- 25% increase if maintained a positive attitude throughout the last 12 months
- 25% increase if there were no unexcused absences
- 25% increase if participated in morning huddles and team meetings
- 25% increase if attended recommended continuing education
8. Remember to have good professional fun
Inspect what is expected of the team. Clearly communicate desired outcomes.
Meet the Author
Lois Banta is CEO and founder of Banta Consulting, Inc., established in 2000, and specializing in all aspects of dental practice management.
Ms. Banta is also the owner and CEO of The Speaking Consulting Network and has over 43 years of dental experience.