Hiring: What’s working today?

Hiring is a short-game/long-game. The short-game is doing whatever you can to get someone in the door (within reason). This can include former employees, emerging apps like Temp Stars, “borrowing” employees from another office, etc. The long-game is where the real positive impacts kick in. This is the realm of your “UEP”, culture, and reputation.

One of the most impactful things you can do to increase your hiring success is to ponder what makes your practice different from the one down the street, i.e. your “employer brand”. No doubt you’ve pondered your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and can articulate why a patient should choose your practice.

How about your Unique Employment Proposition (UEP)? Why should a high-quality candidate with a great attitude, and lots of experience, choose to work for you? And can you articulate that in your job posting and during your interviews?

In your job postings we encourage you to give more detail. Talk about the employee experience: your onboarding/training process, how welcoming the rest of your team is, how fun or how professional your atmosphere is, etc. These details will help you stand out from the crowd.

Hiring, designer or black man shaking hands with human resources manager for a successful job inter
Team of doctors meeting at hospital corridor.

Giving Feedback: Is it a behavior or a skill set?

You’re coaching employees about their performance. How much time do you give them to improve? It depends on whether it’s a Skill issue or a Behavioral issue. Skill set issues can be resolved in a reasonable timeframe based on the deficiency, such as 2 weeks of job shadowing, or re-watching a training course. Behavior issues have a very different timeline.

Most humans can control their own behavior. Sometimes even “mature” adults seem to forget this. The truth is we do have control over the words we use, our tone, whether we speak or not, whether or not we roll our eyes, how combative or accommodating we are, etc.

There are certainly different personalities with differing levels of introversion/extroversion, dominance/conforming, and so on. Nonetheless, one’s personality does not cause them to be a jerk to their coworkers.

If you are coaching an employee on their behavior, it is reasonable to expect to see improvement starting tomorrow. An adult doesn’t need 2 months to learn how to not roll their eyes at a coworker, nor do they need 5 weeks to figure out how to get up earlier and be on time. In your meeting with the employee, make it clear that you believe behavior can change right away, and that you expect to see positive changes starting immediately.

Compliance: Changing HR laws

Like OSHA & HIPAA regulations, along with informed consent, standards of care, and plenty of other requirements, employment compliance is another arena that requires attention. Avoiding HR risk and liability is just as important—in fact, today a dental professional is more likely to be sued for a labor-related issue than malpractice. Let’s do a 30,000-foot view.

First, HR compliance is based on both Federal and State regulations, along with a small number of City and County rules in certain areas. It’s not enough to know just the Federal or just the State requirements. You need to be aware of both, because you must follow the rule that is most stringent (meaning: the one that most favors the employee). For example: if federal and state minimum wages are different, you must pay the higher rate.

Second, applicability of HR rules will vary based on the number of employees you have, i.e. employee threshold. Therefore, what is applicable in one state with 7 employees may not be applicable in another state. This is particularly important for group practices and DSO’s. Depending on the management structure, the government may consider a group to be effectively 1 practice with “X” employees, or essentially all practices and employees lumped together. This can be even trickier when practices, with shared ownership, are in multiple states.

Third, HR laws are constantly changing. New rules are passed every year and existing rules are modified (most often becoming more restrictive). Court and legislative action can further modify, activate, or terminate regulations. It’s important to have a trusted HR resource looking at this and “having your back”. So you can do what you most want to do—namely, provide quality dental care.

Young doctor greeting a patient.

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