How to Build the Perfect Team at Your Practice
The top three skills that determine the success of any business are sales and marketing, personnel, and money management. We’ve discussed, in depth, how to avoid common pitfalls with marketing, and now it’s time to learn how to hire amazing personnel to support the influx of patients you’ve created!
First off, let’s discuss why it’s so important to have outstanding personnel on your team.
Most of you decided to open your own practice to gain both freedom in your schedules and financial security. In order to achieve this, it’s critical to have a competent, trustworthy staff who are able to help keep the ship afloat while you’re away.
Do you want to be able to automate your practice so you can have more time for your family or interests?
Do you want to be able to take a vacation and not worry about losing money while you’re gone?
Do you want to be able to step away from your practice and not have to worry that it will run smoothly in your absence?
Building a team of amazing personnel is the key to all of this. Keep reading to learn how to recognize the differences between good and bad staff members right away.
What Good Staff Can Do
Having good staff really adds to the culture of your clinic. They work hard, know their responsibilities, are efficient, and create an environment that other good staff members want to be part of. Oddly enough, this type of culture also repels bad staff members who won’t be able to get away with not pulling their weight on a tightly run ship. WIN, WIN!
Good staff members are solution oriented. They will seek out solutions to problems instead of waiting for directions to do so.
For example, one of our team members, Ashley, is in charge of working old patient accounts to ensure we’ve received payments for treatment. Ashley took it upon herself to test which day of the month was best to mail out bills in order to receive maximum payment in return. She was able to determine that mailing out on the 14th of the month resulted in the highest return payment, making sure our company was properly compensated for the hard work we put in!
This was not something she was prompted to do, but something she recognized would benefit the company and took initiative to implement on her own. Now, that is amazing personnel.
Take stuff off your plate
One reason many PT practices don’t grow like they should is that they are clogged at the top. Since the top is most likely you, this means you’re trying to handle far too many tasks that might be better delegated to other staff members. This prevents you from focusing your energy where you can be most productive.
Good staff members naturally pick up some of these tasks like answering phones, doing laundry, cleaning the clinic, or even progressing and supervising exercises with patients. This frees up your time to focus on areas that require your specific set of skills (marketing, research, hiring, etc.) allowing your company to keep moving forward.
You don’t take them home with you
Have you ever gone home for the day, but left your mind in the clinic?
“I wonder if Jim finished those patient callbacks.”
“Did Sally collect those overdue payments like I asked her to?”
Having great personnel can really help reduce your worry when you leave for the day and let you actually enjoy being home. You won’t constantly second guess that patients were seen appropriately or billing was processed on time. You can trust that your staff understand their responsibilities and will finish what needs to be done before clocking out.
The Impact of Bad Staff
Bad staff members will constantly present problems to you. They often think they’re helping by pointing out areas of weakness, but rarely (if ever) offer up a solution to make things better.
It’s totally okay for staff to come to you or other employees with an issue. However, they should always have a suggestion for a solution to the problem they’re presenting.
In our clinic, we use a written report where the employee lists the situation that was observed, along with a probable solution to remedy said situation. This removes some of the burden from you and reinforces initiative and accountability amongst your staff to create a better functioning workplace for everyone.
Most personnel will learn to start taking the initiative to solve problems on their own. However, there will always be a few who refuse to be part of the solution. These are the people you don’t need as part of your team and should consider letting go immediately.
Not producing… and encouraging others to do the same
These people always seem to look busy, but when you ask them to do something specific, it never seems to get done.
I’ll never understand why people come to work to do as little work as possible, but I assure you, it does happen.
With this group of people, I like to give them a realistic list of about 10 things to get done by Friday before they leave. More often than not, I’ve found that if this person is truly a bad staff member, they will typically quit when a request like this is made.
If they are a good staff member who has just developed bad habits, this helps to refocus them with the idea that your company is about being productive and they will rise to the challenge.
They weigh on you when you’re with your family
In direct contrast to your good staff members, your bad staff members will ALWAYS come home with you. You can’t seem to get them off your mind because you’re never sure that they will do the right thing.
This makes it incredibly difficult to be present with your family, or participate in activities you typically enjoy because you have to micromanage everything these people do to ensure success.
My general rule of thumb is that if I wake up three mornings in a row thinking about a particular employee, they need to go. That is far more personal time than I want to commit to anyone outside my family or friends.
They repel patients and good staff
Patients know when they are receiving good treatment. They know when they’re being made a priority or when they are being put through the paces just to have enough time to bill for.
Bad staff members will create an environment that patients don’t respond to and that good staff members don’t want to be a part of.
If you’ve noticed you don’t have a lot of returning direct access patients, bad staff members could very well be part of the problem.
They undermine you
If you have an idea you’re trying to enforce, and a staff member completely goes against it and tries to persuade others to do the same, you need to remove them from your team.
A unified mindset is important to the success of your business, and if part of your personnel refuses to adopt that mindset, they are only going to hinder the growth of your company.
They talk bad about you behind your back
The same staff members who try to undermine you will often talk bad about you behind your back to other personnel. They try to create drama, likely because they are upset about something, instead of discussing it with you directly.
We had one therapist who did this because she was upset about bonuses that other therapists had received, even though she was already our most highly compensated therapist on the payroll.
This is not someone who was helping our company grow, and as a result, we cut her from the team.
They directly cause you to lose money!
This could be in the form of blocking business or disrupting the services you already have in place.
If staff members don’t have good interactions with patients or are unwilling to produce while they are at work, they are costing you money!
Knowing how to spot the differences in good and bad personnel is the first step in building an amazing team to help run your business.
We’ve discussed how disruptive bad staff can be, and in the next several parts of this series, we’ll show you how to hire your ideal team.
Just remember, personnel is only a part of the equation needed for a successful business. Most practice owners find hiring to be a secondary problem of marketing. Think of it this way, you don’t want to find the perfect PT, only for them to not have any patients to treat!