6 Tips for Managing Your Pediatric Practice Staff

Does it ever seem like the only thing standing between you and your dream practice is your staff? Managing your staff is where the whole array of emotions and problems come into play. 

Well, there really is hope. I can assure you that if you motivate and manage your staff properly, they will bring themselves more into line with your dream. And your life will become easier. 

Let’s look at the key ways you can improve the staff situation in your practice.

      1. Look for the Right Motivation. Oftentimes, private practices try to over-compete with hospitals and conglomerates to top salaries that they can’t afford. The owner winds up with clinicians who receive top dollar even though they’re producing less than the practice needs to reach its bottomline. This throws the staff salary total out of control which is understandable but dangerous territory.

A person who’s looking for top wages will be the first to go when they get a better offer. You want staff who are motivated by a deep desire and passion to help kids, who have a strong work ethic, who will become part of your practice family and contribute to your culture.

The best thing you can do is hire people whose primary motivation is to help others, not making a lot of money. Create a ladder system for them to grow with the practice, both professionally and financially. 

      2. Train Them! Does this sound too obvious? You’d be surprised at how many people don’t properly train their staff. Just because they have some experience in other practices doesn’t mean they know how to align their actions to your operation.

Whether they are therapists or administrative staff, they’ll come to you with some job skills and experience. But they may need better communication skills to get the best result with your patients. They may be strong clinically but a mess administratively. Put the work in to bring them up to speed across the boards. Your investment will pay off in less stress for everyone, especially you.

      3. Define Your Expectations in Writing. By writing down your expectations clearly and explicitly, you can save yourself hundreds of headaches. How?

  • Say it once. Your philosophy, intentions, goals and expectations can be stated once instead of dozens of times. 
  • Clarity. No one will have any doubt about the correct way to operate in your practice.
  • Training material. You have material ready for any new hire or to correct any erring employee.
  • Relay your experience quickly. Your hard-won experience, conveyed to your staff in your written policies and instructions, will increase competence among your staff. 
  • Certainty. When your expectations are written, everyone has the same information. That agreement cultivates a certainty and confidence among the staff. 

So what should you write down? 

  1. Detailed job descriptions for each position that cover the attitude, philosophy, skills and techniques to be used to carry out that job.
  2. Administrative policies, the “how-to” of getting things done. 

This will be a considerable amount of work up front, but can enable you to hold onto good staff and streamline your operations. 

      4. Delegate and Empower. If you’ve trained your staff and they were truly worth hiring, they will begin to develop good judgment. Let them use their judgment to make decisions about their own areas. It actually makes them stronger.

Many owners find it difficult to give up this measure of control. But it’s worth it in the long run because your staff will become more independent and love becoming worthy of trust.

Nobody likes to be micromanaged every minute. Everyone loves a chance to show off their own hard-earned competence. Let your staff shine.

      5. Establish a Probationary Period. During the interview phase, it’s inevitable that your prospect will tell you what they think you want to hear. You’ll never get the full measure of an employee until they’ve been on the job for a while.

That’s why it’s important to establish a probationary period for every new hire. Make this clear when they are hired. Give them a month or two. Assign them specific projects to do and assess their productivity, competence and attitude. Then give them another project requiring more responsibility. Then praise them and make them permanent or pull out the next promising resumé in your folder and replace them.

     6. Recruit in Advance. Here are a few simple basics on this point: 

Don’t wait until you’re shorthanded to look for someone to hire! Always search for new candidates.

Yes, you can compete with big salaries and benefits. It starts by creating a culture where people love to work. Then get that culture known in places that are likely referral sources for new staff.

Always be open to receiving resumés. You never know when the perfect candidate will turn up. Or when one of your staff will give notice! 

You’re Not Alone! 

We know—managing staff is challenging. You can feel all alone and like you’re re-inventing the wheel. Plenty of other pediatric private practice owners are going through the same thing you are. It’s something every practice owner has to learn. 

For other HR tips and tools, browse our library of free, recorded webinars for pediatric private practice owners.