I’ve seen it happen too many times when a new hire, such as a receptionist, gets put on the job the first day with little to no training and then is left by themselves. A week later the office manager wonders why phone calls are being mismanaged and concludes that the new receptionist isn’t going to work out or it’s easier to just do it themselves. The new employee was really never set up appropriately to succeed.
I’ve also seen it the other way, where the new employee stays on board for months or years but is always making the same mistakes, and the other employees just believe that’s the way he or she is when in reality he or she was really never instructed or apprenticed properly.
You probably have at least one or more employees who really know what they are doing and who you can trust. Someone who seems to know what to do before you say it. Whether it is your office manager, assistant, or a front desk staff member, it’s someone that you wish you could clone so that they could fill all the positions in the office. As you expand, you want to recreate that type of employee, but how can you achieve this?
You should “apprentice” new hires under your best, most experienced personnel.
Obviously, any compulsory training for appropriate technical employment should be done before that, according to the rules and regulations of your state. Also, additional training is recommended for professions such as office manager, treatment/financial coordinator, and PR director. But beyond that initial instruction, the employee should apprentice under someone skilled in that job.
If the office manager has been scheduling efficiently for years and you employ a new scheduler, the scheduler should mimic the office manager while he or she schedules for a day or a few days, and outside of production time they can speak through and answer any questions the new scheduler has. Then the office manager should offer the new scheduler a few patients to schedule under his or her supervision until they are able to schedule proficiently themselves and the office manager no longer has to have his or her attention on whether or not the work will be done correctly. It may take a while to apprentice them on all elements of the job and have them confidence in handling each of the tiny problems and concerns that can emerge. It should not take an unlimited amount of months.
Now, you are not necessarily looking for someone who does things exactly the same way as the office manager. You’re looking for someone who can get done what they are expected to get done on the job. The new scheduler doesn’t have to be every bit as prolific as the office manager, but they do have to have patients booked appropriately according to the way you wish your schedule to be run. They should be able execute the functions of the job independently so that you or your office manager don’t have to continually worry about it or need to intervene.
It is crucial early on in the training process, before you put them on the job entirely, to give them a few minor things to accomplish themselves. These should be easy jobs that don’t require huge know-how or experience, with the aim of ensuring that they can get things done and complete items of work entrusted to them. This can be an early clue if the new hire will be able to perform on the job the way you need them to, independent of training or apprenticeship period.
As I indicated previously, many roles do significantly better with further training. An office manager should undoubtedly be trained as an executive, because that is what they are. You need someone who is able to handle all facets of managing a practice. Treatment coordinators and financial coordinators should be taught on the themes of communication and sales. A PR director should be skilled in the fields of PR and marketing.