There is a right and wrong way to successfully staff a private practice. When done haphazardly, it can be virtually impossible. However, with some simple instructions and thoughtfulness, you can develop a strong team that helps your practice grow.
In this article, you'll learn the top three mistakes made by most PTs when staffing a private practice. Physical therapist James Ko, private practitioner and founder of IndeFree, a national practice management consultation firm, gives advice on how to avoid these mistakes.
Mistake #1: Not understanding that "there is no right person for a position until that position is made right."
Too often, employers hire people without fully preparing and defining the position. Taking time to thoughtfully construct each position is critical in avoiding misunderstandings, frustration, disagreements, poor performance levels and disappointment. To make a position "right" you must do the following three things:
Define the position. Clearly describe the daily, weekly and periodic duties to the employee. Each duty should be prioritized and most importantly describe how you want them completed. Anyone can merely complete tasks, but it's HOW the task is completed that is of importance. Tip: Avoid assigning inappropriate tasks to a position; for example, requiring a PT to clean a facility. Do not assign a $40 per hour person to do a $10 per hour task. By allocating the appropriate resources to the proper tasks, the employer will cut costs and increase productivity.
"Incentivise" the position. Install a mechanism that inspires your employees to achieve better results. Examples of these incentives are: recognition/ praise, a sense of ownership, validation, increased authority and responsibility.
"Consequence" the position. Failing to install negative consequences in response to poor attitude or poor performance can devalue your rewards and make that system ineffective. Help employees understand that positive performance will bring about positive rewards, whereas negative performance will bring about negative consequences. Make sure to do what you say. Tip: Do not reprimand your employees for making mistakes. Rather, judge the way they respond when discussing the mistake. Do they accept constructive criticism, or do they attempt to defend or excuse away the mistake? Almost everyone makes mistakes sometimes, but an employee that consistently avoids accountability may need to be let go.
Mistake #2: Not knowing how to find that "right" person.
Every position requires a unique set of skills and a compatible personality that fits the culture of the company. Unfortunately, many employers do not know how to identify their "right" person for the job. Ko offers some helpful guidelines to assist employers during the recruiting and hiring process.
Where to Start. Ko first recommends looking to ADVANCE magazine when recruiting professionals such as PTs, OTs or SLPs. "Some of my best employees have come from ADVANCE," he said. Another method is to obtain a list (from a broker) of available PTs in a small radius around your facility and send out invitations for them to apply. Online job postings are becoming more and more popular as well.
Screening the Applicants. The most effective way to save time and money during the recruiting process is to screen your applicants. Ko suggests using a phone interview to narrow down your potentials. Sample questions may be:
- Are you looking for part or full time?
- Are there any days or times you are UNAVAILABLE to work?
- What did you like and dislike about your last job?
- What type of patients do you LEAST enjoy working with?
- What pay level are you expecting for this position?