Tips on What to do Before You Hire [Part2]

by Lori Garland Parker
puzzleYou can read Part 1 of Lori's post Tips on What to do Before You Hire here.

What are Your Core Values?

Employers naturally value employees who are dependable and responsible; those who arrive on time, ready for work, and who take responsibility for their actions and behavior. If dependability and responsibility are core values for you, do you hold your current team members responsible for being on time? Do you hold them responsible for their actions and behavior?

Let’s say that you highly value employees who are willing to work hard and work smart with a positive attitude. Do you coach your team members to be efficient and effective in their work and immediately investigate if a change in attitude occurs?

Professional behavior includes learning every aspect of a job and doing it to the best of one’s ability. In addition, professionals look, speak, and dress accordingly to maintain an image of someone who takes pride in their behavior and appearance. If professionalism is a core value, do you coach employees to do their very best, hold the entire team to your appearance guidelines, and require that they treat each other with respect?

Employees want to feel a sense of satisfaction in their jobs and will typically do a good job when they feel that the employer is fair and truly wants to see them do well. If loyalty is a core value, how do you demonstrate loyalty to your team? Do you provide feedback, offer constructive ways to handle conflict and promote open communication on the workings of the office? Creating a culture that values loyalty can use the same techniques and strategies to establish loyalty with patients, and loyalty from patients supports a healthy, satisfying and profitable practice.

Aligning an employee’s values with the goals of the practice will foster loyalty and a bond between the orthodontist, the individual employee and the entire team.

Job Descriptions

The cornerstone to any employment decision begins with job analysis to prepare a written job description. This document clearly describes:

  • employee's duties.
  • responsibilities.
  • performance expectations.

It is also important to clarify expectations for the employee's relations with other office employees, as well as patients and parents. Job descriptions are also used to assist with developing performance reviews. Be sure to keep job descriptions current as the employee takes on more responsibility.

Performance Measures and Standards

Once job descriptions are in place, establish the performance standards that describe what constitutes below-average, average, and above-average performance. Next, determine how you're going to measure the expectations outlined in the job description. This requires both objective and subjective methods of assessment. In some situations it's easy to gauge performance by looking at the numbers: for example, what percentage of exam patients went into treatment, the percentage and dollar amount of delinquent accounts, or an individual assistant’s percentage of emergency and extra visit appointments.

Quantifying an employee's coping skills, customer service skills, or attitude is much more difficult. Establish clear guidelines and measures that eliminate potential bias and prevent evaluators from subjectively determining what constitutes excellent and unacceptable behavior.

About the Author

Lori Garland ParkerLori Garland Parker is a Orthodontic Clinical Consultant, working with teams to maximize their talents to achieve clinical efficiency and effectiveness, develop systems for continuity of care, and enhance communication skills with patients and parents.  She has developed several tools to promote highly skilled teams including a customizable clinical training and procedures manual, a performance review system and clinical coordinator and  train the trainer programs.  Lori can be reached at: (805) 552-9512 or

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Tips on What to do Before You Hire [Part 1]