It seems like we either have one of two extremes when it comes to staffing chiropractic offices. An office will either go through new CA’s every year, or they will have the same person up front for 20 years. There doesn’t seem to be a happy medium anywhere. I had the later problem the first few years of my practice but not since then. Let me share with you how I have managed to find and keep great staff.
1. Hire for attitude and work ethic.
I personally never hire somebody that has worked for another chiropractor. Especially in this town where most chiropractors are one and done people who care more about treating insurances than treating patients. They come with too much baggage and I like a clean slate to work with. My worst hire ever was for a billing position. On paper, she was much more qualified than my departing biller. She had experience in an orthopedic clinic and her resume stated that she caught a mistake somebody else made that netted the clinic $10,000.
There were a couple of red flags that should have clued me into the fact that she was going to be trouble. She blamed a co-worker for the mistake that she supposedly discovered at her former job. Guess what she did in our clinic? She blamed our previous biller for all of her current problems.
She said on her resume that she left her last employer because he was unethical. Guess what she did in our clinic? She constantly told us how we were doing things wrong and even filed a complaint with Medicaid about our supposedly unethical billing practices. We eventually were proven innocent, but what a nightmare.
My best staff people have been caring, compassionate, and hard working. Above all, they love me, my patients and chiropractic.
2. Have systems and train and then train some more.
Every business that succeeds has systems. Systems for acquiring new customers, systems for customer retention. Take McDonalds for example. McDonalds operates in over 118 countries, runs almost 37,000 restaurants, and employs more than 420,000 people. That is a massive organization. Yet no matter where you go in the world if you order a cheeseburger and fries, it will taste the same in Milwaukee as it does in Beijing. That is because of systems.
You need to have a system for everything. Systems make sure the patient experience is the same no matter when they come or who is manning the front desk. Systems actually make life easier for you and your staff. Freedom comes from discipline (systems) as the ex-Navy Seal Jocko Willink says. So train your staff in the systems so they have the tools they need to succeed. Without training and systems, you are setting up good people to fail.
3. Don’t micromanage
I am a very type-A kind of person. I remember taking a test as an eight-year-old at a science museum and being told this, so the type A traits run very deep in me. As a result, I have a tendency to micromanage people. I have gotten a lot better but this was a huge deal for the first few years of my practice. Proverbs 27:15 says, “A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike.” Insert boss for wife and you get my drift. Nobody likes to have somebody constantly looking over their shoulder.
4. Praise them more than you criticize.
Nobody likes to be told what they are doing wrong all the time. It gets depressing and it’s demotivating. According to a PsychPros website article, “In a 2010 study published by Harvard Business Review, researchers found that by increasing employee engagement by just 0.1 percent, Best Buy realized an increase of $100,000 in operation income per store, per year. The most important employee engagement factor in this study was simple recognition for jobs well done.”
That’s a pretty phenomenal change just from treating our team members the way we would like to be treated. I will let you check out the article I linked to above for more details about how to praise team members if this doesn’t come naturally to you.
5. Hire Slow, Fire Fast
We have all made this mistake, hiring too fast because we “need” to fill a spot, and waiting too long to let somebody go.
This is our hiring sequence: collect and review resumes, do an unscheduled phone interview, schedule for a group interview, conduct group interview, hired the best fit for our practice.
This may seem like a lot of steps but trust me, hiring the wrong person will do more damage than being understaffed for a period of time ever will.
If you feel like you need to fire someone, there is a 90% chance you need to. Especially if you have trained them properly, and set clear expectations for job performance, and have tried to come along side them to help them succeed. If somebody isn’t a good fit, let them go gently. You owe it yourself, your business, them, and your patients.
So there you have it. Follow these steps and you will be amazed at the difference you will see.