In my recent blog post I tasked you with writing down the attributes, qualities, and behaviors that define your expectations of an ideal team member.
Have you done it yet? If so, you get a high five!
If not, that’s OK, do it now. And here’s why you need to do it today…
How we lower our expectations:
We make the big mistake of hiring staff who don’t fit our expectations of our ideal team member’s qualifications because:
- We don’t have a written list of attributes, qualities, and behaviors that define our ideal team member, and
- We lower our expectations when it takes a long time to fill that position or when we rush to hire someone.
Wait. What? We alter our expectations?
Yes, that’s correct. And many times, we don’t even consciously realize that we’re lowering our expectations!
Here’s how it goes:
An employee decides to leave, and their notice is so short you’re in a rush to hire someone.
You post a quick ad, make a few calls, and maybe have a few applicants come in for an in-office interview. You check off a few of their qualities you like, ignore that nagging feeling that there’s no job fit because you’re ‘in a bind,’ and then hire them. A few months later, you’re frustrated because they aren’t meeting your expectations or they didn’t work out, and you’re trying to fill that position again.
You need to fill a position, and you post an ad….crickets…then someone applies, but they don’t respond to your follow-up email. So, you wait some more, have a few phone interviews with some duds, and then something happens – you decide to lower your expectations a little bit to see if you can get some additional applicants – as I said, you aren’t necessarily conscious of doing this, but either way, you do it
Then, you get a few more applicants, but they aren’t quite the right fit…so you lower your expectations a little more and a little more the longer the process goes. In the end, you ignore red flags as “I’m being too picky,” and you hire someone that partially fits your needs, and you tell yourself they’re a GREAT FIT and you’re excited about that new hire!
A few months goes by and you’re wondering why you hired them in the first place!
Do either of these situations sound remotely familiar?
What happened? You lowered your expectations.
If so, you’re not alone and most have us have done it once or twice. In fact, since unemployment was so low in the last several years, you may have been doing it more and more and not realized it.
Lowering your expectations applies to ALL positions in a practice, not just the front office staff or billing department. In fact, this is very common with clinical staff since it takes so long to find them.
After you’ve written down your list of attributes, qualities, and behaviors for your ideal team member, it’s time to create policies that pertain to your hiring process.
Are you ready?
First, this policy is for YOU, the owner or manager, AND your hiring team. Yes, even we owners should have a policy written down and followed.
Now, write and enforce the following policy:
“When we need to fill any position, we will pull out our description of the Ideal Team Member for [insert your company name here]. We will use this list to evaluate the potential hire throughout the entire hiring process (from emails to phone calls, to in-office interviews, to questions they ask or don’t ask, to the offer-for-hire meeting).
If the potential hire does NOT meet our Ideal Team Member criteria, no matter how much we might think we love them, we will NOT consider them for hire with [insert your company name here]. At no point in the hiring process or during employment will we lower our expectations or justify any behavior that is not in accordance with our Ideal Team Member criteria.”
Don’t EVER lower your expectations when hiring or employing someone. Not EVER. Every time you lower your expectations, you’re dropping the practice’s standard, affecting the entire team and your patients. This also reduces the growth potential of your practice.
Plus, when you let this person go (which will happen sooner or later), you’ll have to go through the entire hiring process all over again.
Ever heard the quote: “A chain is only as strong as your weakest link”?
This quote applies to your practice’s ability to grow, expand, and reach new heights. And, our practice can’t help people if we don’t have a strong team that’s focused on providing patients with the care they need and deserve.
Okay, you’ve now been tasked with two critical actions to help build the ideal team that meets your expectations and enables you to expand even through tough times.
- If you haven’t started writing your list of ideal team member attributes, qualities, and behaviors, do it now. Keep adding to that list, strengthen it, and you’ll see a change overall in your practice.
- And then put this written policy in place right away.
You should be hiring right now because with our current rate of unemployment, there are a LOT of GREAT people without jobs and they’re looking for a great place to work.
Don’t settle or lower your expectations; in fact, this is a great time to be selective about who you hire. It’s also a great time to put these new actions and policies in place! You need to build your IDEAL team while there are great people in need of a great position.
So, take the time RIGHT NOW and start hiring to fill your empty positions. There are great people out there who can meet your expectations. And as you raise your standards, you’ll find that you are hiring better team members instead of seat fillers.
Also, start looking at your current team and evaluate each employee against your list of ideal team member attributes, qualities, and behaviors. Take a really good look at each one and ask yourself:
- Does each of your current team members meet those qualities?
- Are they on board with helping people get the care they need, as well as your ideals and purpose?
- If not, consider your options, and work now to build a better team.
In 2013, I replaced 75% of my employees because they weren’t willing to go to a new level with our company. Their service to our patients was fair at best, and they were there for a paycheck, not for a purpose.
My new team was smaller and did more than the previous team without being asked, pushed, or forced. I didn’t have offer bonuses to the new team for doing their job, but I was able to provide a bonus because they went above and beyond our expectations.
When we’ve held this in place throughout the years, we didn’t have to fire under-producers, because they ended up being weeded out early on.
And when this wasn’t followed?
Yeah, you guessed it, our team fell apart and we had to put our policies back in place and replace a good portion of our staff so we could have a team that met our expectations.
This happens to all of us from time to time.
But, right now and for the foreseeable future, if you don’t build a better team who’s focused on ensuring people get the care they need, everyone will suffer. It will also be so much harder to come back from the last three months of instability we’ve been living in.
Here’s another tip, if you’ve read this far.
When you bring a new hire on board, don’t stop evaluating them against your criteria.
If, in the first few weeks, you see that they don’t fit your expectations or aren’t willing/able to learn and produce, end your relationship with them, so you don’t suffer and they don’t bring the team down with them.
It may seem like a hassle to start your hiring process over, but if you keep it going year-round and hold everyone (potential hires and those already on your team) to the same standards, you can have potential hires waiting in the wings to start with you when the need arises.
Then, you’re never behind, never stressed, and you won’t have to worry about lowering your expectations to find someone to ‘fill a spot’.
I hope this helps you in the coming weeks and months! Please take this time to build your ideal team that meets your expectations so you come sprinting out of the gate!
Want to learn more? Then schedule a FREE Discovery Call to learn more about my programs and how I can help.
Wishing you the best, today and always!