I speak with dentists during breaks at my practice management seminars, and many of them complain about their teams – that they don’t do what they’re told, there’s too much conflict and turnover, they have bad attitudes, and more. If I have a chance to speak with staff members, they tell a very different story – about doctors who micromanage everything, expect them to be mind readers, or seem clueless about who’s doing what around the office.
1. Start with a blank sheet of paper – Even if you already have written job descriptions that you believe are sufficient, set them aside initially and see what you come up with. Think about the position as it relates to all the others and to achieving practice goals. You’ll probably come up with a different (and better) perspective of what the job should entail.
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2. Make it a collaborative process – In addition to your own thoughts, get input from the office manager, a department head, an experienced staff member who will depend on the person holding the job described, and, if the person is already on board, the jobholder. The range of perspectives will result in a more accurate job description.
3. Include specific, measurable performance targets – Generalizations about what a staff member should accomplish have little real value. For example, don’t just state that the front desk coordinator will take new patient calls. Indicate that 90% of those calls should be converted into appointments.
4. Use the job descriptions to frame performance reviews – It’s simply unfair (and unwise) to define proper performance with a job description and then judge that performance without reference to the written definition.
5. Update job descriptions whenever conditions change – New technologies, new priorities, new targets, new regulations, new services – anything that necessitates alterations in how staff members do their jobs should also dictate job description revisions.
Follow these guidelines and your practice will see immediate improvements in team performance. Everyone will work better together when you’re all on the same page.