Sally McKenzie, CEO
McKenzie Management
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4 Ways Job Descriptions Benefit Your Practice
By Sally McKenzie, CEO

Team members can make or break your practice. A strong team will help move your practice toward success and profitability, while a weak team will do nothing but hold your practice back. That’s why it’s so important to not only hire the right people, but also give them the direction they need to excel.

One of the best ways to do that is to create detailed job descriptions. I know what you’re thinking. Sally, I don’t have time to create job descriptions for every employee. Besides, they’re all experienced hires – they know what to do. Unfortunately, they don’t. It doesn’t matter how much experience they have working at other dental practices. Without guidance from you, they’ll feel lost. They won’t be nearly as efficient, or effective, as they should be – costing you money and leading to extra stress.

Trust me, creating job descriptions is worth any time and effort you put in. Still not convinced? Here are four ways job descriptions benefit your practice.

1. Job descriptions reduce staff conflict. When there’s conflict among team members, it leads to stress and misery for everyone in the practice – and that includes your patients. The gossiping and eye rolling creates a negative environment that makes employees dread coming to work each day. You sense the tension but choose to ignore it, convincing yourself they’ll work it out on their own. They don’t, and your practice is damaged in the process.

Creating job descriptions will help make conflict less common in your practice. How? Issues often come up because team members aren’t clear who is responsible for which tasks. Job descriptions eliminate that confusion. Everyone knows exactly what’s expected of them. Tasks are completed properly and team members are much more efficient.

2. Job descriptions are good for team morale. Yes, job descriptions help reduce conflict, but they also help make team members more confident. They don’t have to play the guessing game – they know exactly what’s expected of them. This makes them much more confident and efficient, which can lead to improved practice productivity and a boost in revenues. Happy team members also have more positive interactions with patients, helping improve your retention numbers.

3. Job descriptions make team members accountable. When team members take ownership of their systems, they’re much more effective. The problem is, it’s difficult for them to do that if they’re not sure exactly what systems they’re accountable for or how they’re expected to perform. That’s where job descriptions come in. If you include specific performance measurements in every job description, team members can focus on making improvements to their systems. They know how they can help move the practice forward, making it much easier for them to contribute to practice success.

4. Job descriptions help ensure you hire the right people. Creating job descriptions before you start the hiring process can save you and potential candidates a lot of time and heartache. I know you’d much rather avoid the hiring process all together, but job descriptions help make it a lot less stressful. Job descriptions outline exactly what skillset the role requires as well as your expectations. That means candidates can bow out early if it’s clear they’re just not the right fit.

You can also use job descriptions to guide you through the hiring process. Taking the time to craft a job description makes you think about exactly what you’re looking for in a new hire. If resumes don’t include those particular skills, you can quickly move on to find ones that do.

Creating Job Descriptions
Now that you’re ready to put together job descriptions, you’re probably wondering how to go about it. Job descriptions should include a detailed definition of the job. Ask yourself what you need the person in that role to do each day. Include every responsibility and task. It’s also critical to include the necessary skillset. List every skill required, no matter how small it might seem. Remember, if the person you hire doesn’t have the right skillset, he or she won’t be effective, leading to problems among team members and ultimately damaging your practice.

You also should list job responsibilities and duties. Be specific. Don’t just say the Patient Coordinator is responsible for calling and scheduling past due patients. Make it clear you expect this team member to contact and schedule at least five recall patients a day. This leaves no doubt about what your expectations are and how performance will be measured.

Another tip? Be sure to get your team members involved in the process. Their input will help ensure job descriptions are complete, and including them shows you value their input.

Developing detailed job descriptions will help strengthen your team. They’ll be much more productive and confident in their roles, doing their part to move the practice forward. Sit down with team members to craft job descriptions and your practice will reap the benefits. Need help to get started? Feel free to contact me.

Sally McKenzie is CEO of McKenzie Management, a nationwide dental management, practice development and educational consulting firm providing knowledge, guidance and personalized solutions that have propelled thousands of general and specialty practices to realize their potential.

Interested in speaking to Sally about your practice concerns? Email her at or call 1.877.777.6151.

Interested in having McKenzie Management Seminars speak to your dental society or study club? Click here

Hear Sally’s FREE podcasts at The Dentist’s Network - HERE

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