Promises promises…


Finding the right employee for your practice is not always easy. When you do find that special candidate, it is tempting to tell them everything they want to hear to entice them to accept the position.

The promises I see many employers make include:

  • future pay rises
  • roster flexibility
  • potential job growth
  • high-level support
  • additional responsibilities
  • on-the-job and/or outside training
  • workplace culture of respect and strong values
  • employee dentists promised additional marketing and actions to build their appointment book
  • mentoring.

However, employing staff under misleading promises can cost you. Failing to fulfill your assurances made during the interview process can result in an immediate breakdown of trust. Your new employee is likely to struggle with dissatisfaction and festering resentment. The impact of this on your team can be enormously destructive.

The hiring of new staff members is an opportunity for your practice to refine and improve your workplace environment. Each new staff member brings fresh ideas on how to make your practice a place where your current employees want to stay and future candidates want to join.

Getting your hiring process right starts before the interview.

Sit down and assess the following:

  • specific responsibilities for the role
  • character traits you feel are best suited for the role and your team
  • the pay range you are happy to commit to, in accordance with what level of experience, training and aptitude the candidate presents with (for example if the role was receptionist, you may be happy to pay $24 per hour for someone with limited experience in the role who can be provided with training, up to $35 per hour for candidates who have mastered the role over many years)
  • amount of on-the-job training your team can provide
  • amount of off-site training you are happy to fund
  • the degree of flexibility you require the candidate to have in terms of hours and job responsibilities (for example, holding off lunch break until last morning patient leaves, helping other team members with their responsibilities when needed)
  • the degree of flexibility YOU are willing to extend in the above to accommodate a great candidate.

Specifics are important. A ‘great workplace culture’ can mean wildly different things to different people. Also, the promises of ‘future growth’ and ‘pay increases should the candidate prove to be a strong performer’ are likely to result in problems given their vagueness.  Detailing specific behaviours, timelines, pay scales and performance standards ensures both you and the candidate can be in agreement of what each expects moving forward.

Once a candidate is employed as a member of your team, establish weekly, then monthly, meetings for discussion and mutual feedback. This is such an important step and yet many employers fail to implement it. I urge you to continue this process well into each team member’s employment, as it is the best way to ensure both employee and employer’s expectations are being satisfied, and barriers to strong performance are being identified and overcome.

Enticing great candidates to work at your practice is easy when you are accountable for your ‘promises promises’.