Positioning your team for success begins even before you onboard your staff. Fully understanding the role of each member on your team will ensure your expectations align with their performance. Like most processes, your efforts will be ongoing throughout the entire lifecycle of your staff’s employment.
- Onboarding and Setting Expectations
- Job descriptions: Identifying the full extent of duties expected of the role you are filling will ensure your job posting reflects these expectations. This will enhance the pool of applicants that apply. The job description will also be a helpful reference should a questionable performance related termination occur.
Takeaway: Setting proper expectations will improve your pool of qualified applicants, improve the efficacy of in person interviews, pinpoint degrees of training, and attest corrective action/termination for poor performance.
- Offer letter: Having a comprehensive offer letter outlines start dates, wages, benefits, an at-will agreement, and contingencies of next steps, such as background/reference checks, drug tests, I9 verification, etc. so that your employees have specific details of their employment upon commencement.
Takeaway: The offer letter is a great opportunity to set the tone of employment as professional and detailed. Additionally, this documentation will serve as your protection should you have to rescind an offer for failed background/reference checks, failed drug tests, etc., or should there be a future dispute regarding start dates, wages/benefits, or at-will agreement.
- Employee Handbook: There are a number of benefits to your employee handbook. Regarding the success of your team, your handbook will set expectations and be the foundation of your Practice’s culture. This includes your policies on attendance, social media and personal cell phones, dress code, etc. However, it is important you view these policies as guideline and not as opportunities to condemn your staff. On that note, you should always stress and clarify your Open Door policy. This policy creates a safe space and sets processes for your staff when they are conflicted or need assistance with anything related to their job duties, work environment, and/or personal situations.
Takeaway: Not only does an Open Door policy allow open communication of your staff so you can quickly address issues, it creates an office culture where your staff will feel compassion and value as a team member.
- Consistency, Growth and Cohesion
- Performance Reviews: Consistent performance reviews realign expectations and performance for your employees. They are a time to give positive feedback in areas your staff excel, and also constructive feedback of areas for improvement.
Takeaway: Performance reviews realign an employee’s performance as it relates to your expectations. Additionally, this feedback, both positive and constructive, creates an open conversation for you to encourage and assist your staff with areas of improvement or obstacles they may face with their job duties. All performance reviews should be extensively documented.
- Training and Coaching: Training is always required for new tasks or performance requirements not initially required at the time of onboarding—again, this is why the offer letter is important. Coaching should always be made in good faith to improve your staff member(s) performance.
Takeaway: Similar to performance reviews, training and coaching should be done in good faith working towards empowering your staff to acquire a new skill or improve a current one. If you cannot prove that you attempted to help the employee improve, you may not be able to support yourself in a potential wrongful termination claim.
- Team Building and Kudos: Having events outside of the typical workday allows your staff to get to know one another better and build their relationships further. These intimate events allow your staff to feel more comfortable communicating together. Similarly, kudos are a great way to empower your staff and have them empower each other on things that they are doing well. This will create an environment of mutual appreciation and cohesion.
Takeaway: Team buildings and kudos’ are great opportunities to create cohesion among your staff and encourage great performance.
Ali Oromchian is one of the nation’s leading legal authorities on topics relevant to dentists. Since its creation, the Dental and Medical Counsel PC law firm has been regarded as one of the pre-eminent health care law firms devoted exclusively to healthcare professionals. His clients seek his advice on dental and medical practice transitions creation of corporations and partnerships, associate contracts, estate planning, employment law matters, office leasing, and state board defense.