By Tim Connor, Rodeo! Performance Group, Inc.
Medical practices in Florida normally have more patients than they know what to do with, and many could expand capacity if they had the colleagues to help. But what about hiring the right person…should you hire the first physician who sends you a resume? Many practice principals focus on the pressing need they have for relief, and ignore the side effects that can arise from a poor choice in a new colleague. Hire in Haste – Repent in Leisure!
Your Values – How Important Are They to Your Practice?
Before you even begin the search and hiring processes, you really ought to think through, and write out, the values and principles that are important to you in running a practice. Why is this important? When you started your practice you had specific dreams in mind. They probably included a good income, bringing real caring to a community, reasonable time for your family, maybe even pioneering some new clinical approaches. Those desired outcomes drive the values you’ve considered important in the operation of your organization. Staff know what they are; answering the phone, friendliness in treating patients, all kinds of things. But you also live those values out: how you handle call, emergencies, and different levels of visits. It might take you an hour or two to sit down and write out those values, but the payoff in clear expectations for a new colleague is huge, not just in terms of money, but in reduced conflict and better cooperation. Ever consider how much of your time might be tied up dealing with a new partner who didn’t understand – or agree with – your principles in taking call or providing friendly service?
Credentials vs. Habits: Digging For the Answers
Nowadays are credentials are what people look for in a new hire. That translates into what knowledge and what clinical skills the applicant has. In fact, 95% of the money spent by businesses both in hiring and developing staff is in these two areas. Sound like it makes sense, doesn’t it? But consider for a moment: when a problem arises, is it in the areas of knowledge or skill? It’s not! By far, the biggest source of problems and conflict come from attitudes and habits a colleague has. And you sure don’t want to wait until that person’s on board to find a ticking time bomb. So you have to take the time in the interview process to ferret out habits and attitudes in the applicant’s work make up.
Sorting for Results – The Key Is to be Consistent!
A little time at the front end to save lots of time over the years! Write out the questions you will ask each of the applicants, make copies, and use the same questions on each applicant. What’s the benefit? It lets you do realistic comparisons. That’s important because you always have first impressions of applicants, either good or bad. Those impressions can color the questions you ask, sending you off in all sorts of directions if you don’t have planned questions ready. And those “rabbit trails” of discussion are very difficult to sort through – and compare – when it comes time to make the decision.
Don’t Assume Anything! Write Out Your Agreements
Doctors are intelligent, relational people, and there is always optimism at the beginning of a new partnership. But it’s just common sense to write out the expectations each of you have at the beginning of a practice relationship, because sure as shooting you’re not going to remember them two years down the road! In a worst case, there will be serious disagreements about what was said, and differences based on memory are VERY likely, even between friends.
So take the time to plan before you hire. You might lose a day or two, but remember, you’re hoping to spend years with this new colleague – make them happy and productive years.