Job descriptions! A little-known secret of management. As we tell you about this deceptively simple tool, you might think we’re exaggerating. But don’t doubt what we’re saying until you’ve tried it.

  • If you want a practice that runs more smoothly …
  • If you want better job performance at every level of the organization …
  • If you want fewer disagreements between staff and managers (and between your staff) …
  • Then you want detailed job descriptions for each position in your practice. 

Let’s dig deeper into this topic. 

What? Why? And Who?

First of all, what is a job description? 

A job description is a detailed summary of all the functions expected from a particular position in the organization. This writeup provides a clear and complete description of that person’s job (or hat) in the organization.

From therapists to front desk staff, every person should have a complete writeup as a stable reference for doing their job. 

What should a job description include?

  • All tasks and functions required by this job
  • Any other zones of responsibility, such as areas to be kept clean, security, handling of money, etc. 
  • Successful actions developed by earlier staff in this position
  • Who the employee reports to
  • Who reports to this employee 
  • The performance this person is expected to achieve 

Why? You know that feeling when you expect an employee to do something because it’s common sense and they don’t do it? It’s because you didn’t define that expectation. Detailed job descriptions, if correctly compiled, make it crystal clear exactly what you expect from each employee.

And Who? In the beginning, it’s going to be the practice owner writing up these job descriptions. As there are more staff, management staff in each area might write the descriptions for new jobs that are added below them. 

It would still be wise for the owner to review job descriptions written by others until staff show expertise compiling complete descriptions. 

Writing Initial Job Descriptions for Each Job

If you’re writing the first descriptions for each job, it would be smart to devote a little time to this task. Jot down all the obvious job functions. But then think through this employee’s day and all the smaller duties it would be natural for them to carry out. Include schedule, successful attitude for doing that job, responsibility for getting financial approvals for supplies or repairs, and so on. 

Make it so complete that a new person coming in can almost think like an experienced person as soon as they’ve studied it. The more complete this writeup, the fewer questions this person will have to ask you later. As they add just a little experience, they’ll probably be able to develop their own solutions to problems in their area.

Once these descriptions are written and complete, the next step is to get them into the hands of each employee and ensure they are understood! 

The goal is to take as many hats off you as the CEO so you can be the CEO while having a work-life balance. You’ll have less stress and a better quality of life, something that is often a missing piece of being an entrepreneur. 

Updating Job Descriptions

Each time you have a successful person on a job, they should be asked to update their job description. Over time, this writeup will grow into a very helpful resource. 

An update is vital before a successful employee turns over their job to a new person. 

Whenever unanticipated problems are resolved, request that the employee whose job was affected add this solution to their job description. 

Using Job Descriptions in Management

Job descriptions can smooth out relations between management and staff. Here’s how that works:

  • Resolving staff disagreements. Suppose two staff are arguing because one of them is making messes during therapy sessions and not cleaning them up. If the job description for the therapist is complete, it will specify that the staff member who makes a mess puts it right before going on to their next task. Just pull out the therapist’s job description and go over it with both staff. That should resolve the disagreement. Of course, if that point is missing, it’s time to update that description!
  • Ensuring no functions are missed. If there’s a function important to the success of the practice, it must be spelled out in someone’s job description! For example, because insurance coverage is so vital to a private pediatric practice, it must be very specifically noted in someone’s job description what insurance policies must be monitored, deadlines for renewals, the insurance carrier with their phone number, suggestions for dealing with them and so on. 
  • Clarifying what’s expected from an employee. When there’s a staff member who’s not fulfilling all their functions, pull out this document and go over it with them in detail. This review will completely handle some people but, of course, others could need more training or some other kind of support. Or it might help you realize they are not the best fit for that job. 

Using Job Descriptions in Recruitment

Utilize job descriptions during recruitment interviews to ensure that you and the applicant are on the same page. In this situation, you might tack on a company description, specific job qualifications and skills needed, and the salary range related to this position. 

With this information prepared before the interview, you can quickly inform the prospect of the requirements for any job. 

Ready to Learn More? 

There are a lot more tips and tools on our website for managing your private pediatric practice. Visit our free webinar library to build your skills for hiring, marketing and much, much more!