Your ‘CA’ and office staff can be working for you, with you or against you.
The choice is up to you, not them. Your job is quite simple:
- Pick and hire the right people.
- Motivate them by remembering the magic WIIFM.
The right, motivated employees can help grow your practice.
The wrong or poorly motivated employees can help to dismantle what you already have.
Yes, the future size and profitability of your practice is largely dependent upon your people and chiropractic medical skills. But please do not for one moment minimize the impact your support team can have on your success or failure.
If your ‘supporting cast’ is obnoxious, rude, inattentive, non-caring, unresponsive, nasty or just plain mean-spirited, your practice is going nowhere except maybe backwards.
How often do you eat in a restaurant where the food is good but the service is poor and the staff rude and inattentive?
How often do you revisit an establishment where the product or services is fine but you just will not deal with ‘those kind of people’.
Are your employees ‘those kind of people’?
Lets start at the beginning.
How many prospective patients never even get the opportunity to meet you or to be taken care of by you simply because your ‘non-friendly gate keeper’ has scared them away.
It all starts with the hiring process. Skills are learnable. Changing one’s basic personality is just not going to happen.
You can teach any bright person the mechanics of running the office. An anti-people person will always be that regardless of what you say, do or even pay them.
Sure it would be great to hire a person with the right personality and the right office skills. That would be a home run. But if you have to choose between people skills and office skills, go with people skills … you will win out every time.
Attitude over aptitude. Never forget it. The person you hire or already have working for you either has a positive attitude and genuinely enjoys working with people or doesn’t.
If you are not sure during the interview process, you’ll know within two weeks.
And people don’t change. So if you made a mistake, you’ll know it within weeks.
Make the change. Move it. The right person may be the next one you interview.
If the truth be told, we hire for the job skills first, unfortunately.
Why? Because we are basically lazy. We want to get the position filled with the least effort on our part.
Be honest with yourself. Which of these two candidates would you hire?
One candidate has worked in other chiropractic offices and despite her ‘wish it was Friday already’ or ‘does the phone have to ring’ attitude, knows how the office operates and could be up and running in less than 24 hours.
Candidate number two, though bright, has never set foot in a chiropractic office but just oozes with genuine people skills. Loves people, loves life, loves to help people. But will need tons of training and your time.
Which one would you hire?
If you are truly honest – 95% of the time it would be the quick-fix first candidate. It would be the worst decision you have ever made or are about to make.
Look around your office. You know if you are being supported by the right ‘people’ people or not.
Making a change in the short run will be time consuming and maybe even expensive. But in the long run it will be the best investment you could ever make.
Okay, you now have the right people. Now for part two or WIFFM – What’s In It For Me?
Even nice, friendly, caring employees need and want to feel appreciated and not taken for granted. There are hundreds of ways (not to mention thousands of books you can purchase on the topic) to thank and acknowledge your employees and not all include money.
You can start with a simple thank you. When was the last time you said thank you with no strings attached to it?
- Write thank you notes. Be sincere.
- Have an open door policy. Make the time to meet and listen to your employees. Ask the simple question “If you had a magic wand and could make any three changes, what would they be?” Then listen very carefully.
- Give specific feedback about their performance on a regular basis. The good as well as the areas that need improvement.
- Create a work environment that is open, fun and trusting. Do your employees trust you? Are they loyal to you? Have you earned their trust and loyalty or just demanded it?
- Make them ‘partners’. Not just in how the office is run but financially as well. Give them financial incentives to help grow the practice. Let them help to reactivate dormant patients … or get first visit patients to come back … or help sell products you may offer. Have a contest or a ‘pot of gold’ that you generously share with them. Give them realistic opportunities to earn 25% over their base pay with incentives that you and they will profit from.
- Give them opportunities to grow and learn new skills with seminars, workshops and training tapes just to name a few.
- Time off. Money is important. Recognition is critical but time off is not far behind. Again, maybe after an exceptionally busy day or week they leave a few hours early on a summer Friday afternoon. Or, maybe a day off for their birthday or 5th anniversary working for you.
The list of ideas is endless.
We’ll assume for the moment that you have the necessary people personality and chiropractic skills to be successful.
Then, simply hire people-oriented happy employees who will ask you what they can do to help. Never take them for granted. Never. Treat them (in the decision making process and with financial incentives) as partners and watch the growth of your practice explode.
Close your eyes and ask yourself one simple question.
Right now, do I have the right people working for me or not?
If the answer is yes, never take them for granted.
If the answer is no, it’s time to place a help wanted ad in your local newspaper.