If one doesn’t know where the goals posts are in a soccer game, and one doesn’t know that it’s their job to kick the ball in there to win the game, one probably won’t remain long on that team. A play book, a coach and lots of training will often straighten that team member out and turn them into a spectacular player.
Similarly, practices need to have a play book [policy manual and job descriptions], a coach [the owner and/or office manager], and lots of training. The result will be a spectacular team delivering the highest quality service and care to the patients or clients of the practice.
A policy manual must contain:
- the goals to be achieved by the practice,
- the rules of the game [such as how and when you can take holidays, what to do if you wake up too sick to come to work in the morning, what to do if you notice some supplies are low, etc.],
- the protocols and systems for the office,
- job descriptions for each position in the practice,
- and so on.
When a new employee joins the practice, they must be required to read the entire policy manual to learn the specifics of how their new team operates.
A job description is defined as a detailed written account, agreed between management and staff member, of all the duties and responsibilities which together make up a particular job. These lay out the specifics of a position within the practice, the job title, who the post holder reports to, what the purpose of that position is, how it relates to the other jobs within the practice, and lists out the exact duties, responsibilities or functions that must be carried out by the post holder.
As part of the policy of the practice, any staff member is expected to take responsibility for the overall success of the practice. Team work is very important and SERVICE is the number one concern overriding any “rules” or “policy” to the contrary. For instance, a patient or client walks in the front door and the receptionist is not present. Another team member notices this happening and steps up to the plate to take care of the client. This policy prevents the “it’s not my job” syndrome.
A team that is fully trained, running on agreed upon policy, and has service as their overriding purpose will help generate a full and busy practice.
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