How To Hire The Right People For Your Practice

Kevin McDonald, DPM

The owner/manager of a podiatry practice is tasked with three important functions. These functions are as follows: performing and promoting a medical service for which there is a sufficient demand; hiring the right people and putting them in the right positions to help provide this service in a competitive marketplace; and providing the leadership and guidance for those people who will help the practice prosper over time.

   Accordingly, I would like to discuss ways to find and hire employees who mesh with your practice culture and help you ultimately succeed on your own terms.

   One of the best small business books that I have ever read is The E-Myth by Michael Gerber.1 The basic premise of this book is that small business owners, such as podiatrists in private practice, tend to spend too much time working in the business and not enough time working on the business.

   In other words, most podiatrists in private practice should spend more time improving the processes and systems of the practice so the business could be sold for a tidy profit but the owner is having so much fun that he or she doesn’t want to sell it. Ideally, the practice would be designed so it could run efficiently without your actual physical presence.

The Benefit Of Establishing Core Values In Your Practice

If you decide that you want to work more on your business, there are some key principles you should try to put in place for your practice. In Mastering the Rockefeller Habits by Verne Harnish, these guiding principles are called “core values.”2 The five to seven core values of your practice should provide the foundation of all the actions of your business, including the hiring and firing of your employees.

   In our practice, we came up with the following six core values.

   Patients first. We seek to place the patient’s health and welfare above our own convenience and business interests at all times.

   Efficient with time and money. My personality has a conflict with the wasting of these two resources.

   Teamwork. The phrase “It’s not my job” is rarely to be uttered around the office.

   Affable. We are cordially polite to everyone who interacts with our practice and strive to maintain a cheerful and positive atmosphere at work.

   Trustworthy. We need honesty and integrity in our business and personal affairs.

   Show initiative. If we are not getting better, we must be getting worse.

   Throughout our practice, we emphasize the aforementioned core values, which form the basis for our hiring decisions as well as our employee reviews. You can graphically analyze your people according to how well they embody your core values. One can find more information on this technique in Gino Wickman’s fine book Traction.3

How To Sell Your Practice To Potential Employees

The second habit of Stephen Covey’s seven habits of high effectiveness is: “Begin with the End in Mind.”4 Covey was referring to designing your life according to this principle but the same idea also applies to any endeavor, including the hiring of a new person in your office. One way to apply this principle would be to write out a list of attributes and qualifications that the ideal person would need to have in order to do this job. (Note: A detailed job description to help the new person learn what is important in fulfilling his or her role at the practice would be another way for you and your employees to work on your business.)

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