When you have the right people in the right seats, it makes your practice something truly special. However, when the right people don’t have clarity around their positions, it’s incredibly difficult to achieve great results. Neglecting to do so is costly because, without clarity, you’re setting your team up to fail and putting them in an uncomfortable position. Helping practices succeed on every level is extremely important to me, which is why I love helping them clearly define the expectations, roles, and duties so team members know how to hit those marks.
Plan for Clarity
You need clarity if you’re going to get incredible results out of your team, but unfortunately, this is often not the case with many practices. I’ve been working with ACT for almost seven years, and in that time, I’ve seen that maybe five percent of teams had even a rough outline of clear job duties and descriptions. Moreso, none had a plan for onboarding new team members, so what typically happens is a new team member is bombarded by new information and immediately becomes overwhelmed. Like Kirk says, “When you do find the right people, you want to onboard them, not waterboard them.”
In the United States, it takes the average team member about 12 weeks to fully step into their role, but think about the last person you hired—how long was it before you pushed them into the deep end and made them swim? Furthermore, did you follow up with them later to see how they were doing and if there was anything you missed? In my experience, most practices don’t have the right countermeasures in place to help new team members succeed. The system we use at ACT to help practices onboard new team members successfully and smoothly is called the 3-3-3 Rule:
- What do they need to know in three days?
- What do they need to know in three weeks?
- What do they need to know in three months?
It’s about more than just doling out little bits of information; show new team members how to do the tasks so they can practice and be proficient at them within those timeframes. Team members, especially new ones, need clarity around their roles and responsibilities, and that starts with creating clearly defined job descriptions.
Get it in Writing
To start your new team members off with clarity, it’s crucial to bring that same clarity to your job descriptions so there’s no confusion about what they must do in the future. My favorite way of doing so is using your existing team members because they already have a good grasp of the positions. Begin by having everyone write down exactly what it is they do, which is a great way to see what your team members consider the most important parts of their roles. That’s the backbone of a great description. From there, take the next eight to nine weeks to upgrade and improve those descriptions with more clarification.
To take it a step further and make things absolutely crystal clear, add a video component to your job descriptions. I love using Loom to create step-by-step walkthroughs of processes, but using a phone will also work. The team member can simply record themselves describing the process, which gives new team members something to augment the written description. Some people learn better with the written word, while others like audio or video, so by including written job descriptions with links to a video explanation, you’re covering your bases, catering to a wider audience, and creating a practice that stands with great clarity year after year.
Keep it Simple, Keep it Specific
When creating job descriptions, you want to err on the side of brevity and avoid creating lengthy descriptions that will only confuse the reader. Keep it to a page and really think about the language you’re using, because you want to say more with fewer words. Kirk tells us all the time that “Specific is terrific, but vague is the plague,” so cut out everything that’s not necessary.
Your team is the biggest component in your practice that allows you to create the magic, so give them the care they deserve. A lot of times dentists get upset because a team member may not be doing their job, but truthfully, team members are often not given a clear line of sight on how to succeed. Create job descriptions and tutorials that are easy to follow and establish clear expectations, and you’ll set your entire practice up for success. Schedule a call with the ACT coaches and learn how you can bring clarity into everything you do, because it’s a critical aspect of creating a Better Practice, and a Better Life!
Adriana Booth is a Lead Practice Coach at ACT Dental