A few weeks ago, we took the time to discuss the value of allowing your staff to do a review of the doctor. Let me now remind you why we did this. By you taking the initiative to allow unfettered feedback from each staff member just after returning from our pandemic vacation, we have positioned ourselves to know how our team actually sees us as leaders and owners. I hope you did this exercise because it is fundamental to what I will talk about today. Yes, it is humbling. Yes, it is a little disconcerting. Now you should have posted the doctor’s review and tried to improve the areas you came up short on. Hopefully, you took the time to discuss the questions and your scores with your staff in an open forum. Your team needs to see that you acknowledge their perception and are willing to take the steps to try and improve. Leaders need to understand their limitations and where they can do better.
Now we go to step two. It has been a couple of months since we all returned to work. Prior to the COVID restart, we spent time discussing if we really needed every staff member to come back. When we brought them back, we should only hire the next person to return based on a production level of about $20,000 of production per month per employee. This is the key to practice profit and overhead control. Not enough production? Then don’t rehire more staff. The new you, as far as staffing, will be driven by patient demand and profitability. Think of it as a profits first business structure. Sixty days have passed and it is now time to relook at whatever you did on the hiring. It goes back to the mindset of a start over mentality in your post-COVID practice. Just like hiring a new staff member with a “trial period” of 60-90 days, I want you to take the same mind set with your post-COVID staff. Here is what we need to do.
- You should have gone over your policy manual months ago and refreshed or replaced it, so that every protocol and system is the way it needs to be. It defines the game you play, the rules, and how to score. The staff should have been given the reworked policy manual and required to read it, and then sign a paper as condition of continued employment that they read it, understand it, and will abide by it.
- You have rewritten each job description for every position on your team. Because you will no longer hire without producing about $20,000 per employee per month, certain aspects of your job descriptions need to be reallocated and/or completely rewritten to reflect the new rules, regulations, and systems in your post-COVID office.
- You are working on the culture of your practice to take a more “consumer” sensitive business structure. This will include your systems, hours, and services based on the demographics your office is in.
- You have done the owner doctor and associate doctor’s reviews by your staff and have used those results to craft a better attitude and action plan for the doctors.
- It is now time to review each staff member.
As we take this next step, it is important that you have the tools to begin the process. Max is making the Performance Appraisal Form (Staff) available at no charge. Simply click here to access.
It is important that each of you realize that this is not just another box to check, but an essential tool in modifying the behavior and results of your team. It is not enough to just to fill out the forms. The forms are just the first baby step for you to sit down with each staff member and begin the task that will change the culture of communication and job performance feedback that is at the core of every successful team. This needs to be the starting point of complete disclosure, perfect job description, and essential feedback that builds up each member of your team to encourage the best performance possible from each individual.
The Review Process is also the time to delve into the culture of “commitment” to the vision you have for the practice. Without your vision and your feedback to each member of what they need to do and how well they are doing it, you are guaranteed unintended results and a mediocre practice. Remember the start-up mentality, assembling the best team possible, and removing all the roadblocks to success by embracing change in your attitude and business culture. This is how you Summit.
Michael Abernathy DDS
PS. This is not a salary review. Do not discuss pay during this one-on-one meeting with the team member(s). Keep it 100% focused on job performance.
PSS. Just in case you missed it (or perhaps because you either procrastinated or ignored it) here is a link to the Performance Appraisal Form for Doctor. If you haven’t allowed your team to complete this yet, you should do so now, before doing the Staff Reviews.