One of the most fundamental jobs a leader will ever do is to develop the right culture within their practice or organisation. It will be the correct culture with the right values that will inevitably drive the business forward to realise their Vision.
Edgar Henry Schein, a former professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, said “Leadership is the Management of Culture”. If you get this critical role right by helping people to realise their own potential, then your practice will be able to excel in whichever direction you lead it. The key is to see potential and talent in people and put them to good use.
However, this isn’t always apparent on CV’s or initial interviews. What is missing are the intangibles; things like communication style, culture fit, feelings, attitudes and their level of fit. These aspects require a certain level of emotional intelligence to assess.
Hiring the right people in the right way will prevent much future frustration, all-round stress and wastage of costly resources. The right people on the team in the right roles can make a huge difference in elevating a business!
Here are 10 ways on how the Practice Principal can help to maintain or strengthen team dynamics:
- Value-Based Hiring. Don’t hire people on their capabilities or experience hire people based upon their values. These values will determine the way in which that team member will contribute to your practice. Skills and capabilities can be taught. Experience can be gained. But the correct attitudes which arise from innate values are difficult to teach. However, before you can do this the principal dentist needs to determine what values do you want your team to live by in your practice.
- Develop a hiring process. This is your protocol before you hire. A successful business is about systemising all key growth areas. This makes it easier for the entire team to learn, action and implement. You need to develop a consistent value-based hiring process. This will enable you to decipher exactly which candidates will best suit your Team Culture. One tip I can suggest is to invite the new potential candidate for a session to watch you work; like a job audition. This will allow you to observe and assess them in a working situation. You will be looking for cues on their attitude.
- Great Communication. It is imperative that you employ active listening communication skills to really analyse and assess what the new candidate is actually looking for. What did they feel they need not achieve or gain from their last job? Why do they feel that it’s time for a fresh start? What are their aspirations and dreams? What career pathway do they anticipate for themselves? This is about using your Emotional Intelligence to really understand the new applicant. Only after a team member feels understood will they be prepared to participate in your team. We want to encourage team members to have the drive to be engaged in the Practice Vision. This only occurs if there is mutual benefits.
- Establish an Induction Protocol. This allows the new team member to better “fit in” with the rest of the team and the way your practice likes to do things. One tip could be to assign a “Support Buddy” to the new team member. A person they can always turn to should they have any questions or concerns. This person can also be responsible for training up the new employee in their role. Also, you can include an assessment protocol into the Induction System so that you can decide if this person is correct for your practice. Often people may say one thing in an interview but interact entirely differently once hired.
- For which Role? Work out the exact role and responsibilities you need from the new team member beforehand. Clarity of conversation can be very critical at this initial stage of the professional relationship. This prevents anxiety and manages expectations.
- Hire for Compatibility. Do not hire anyone you feel that will not be able to fit into your team dynamics. You want to develop a culture of honesty, care, integrity and respect for one another. If you feel that a person will not be able to accommodate these values then it may save you much heartache further down the line to recognise these dissociative behaviours earlier. The best way to do this is to observe team dynamics by inviting the new team member for a session with you at the practice.
- Be part of the Hiring Process. Hiring the right person for the job should have a collaborative approach. The culture you establish in your practice is so fundamental to the success or regression of your practice that the practice principal should partake in the hiring process. Your manager can whittle down the candidates to a second interview, but the leader should not leave this responsibility entirely to the Practice Manager. Any deficiencies you may have in your hiring or assessment process can be amplified if the sole responsibility for this extremely important role were to fall on one person’s shoulders.
- Check Social Status. It might be an idea to see check the personality of a potential candidate by researching their social media presence. You may be surprised by what you can find out!
- Hire from within. If possible, it is better to promote your team from within your practice into more senior positions. This allows you to maintain stability as newer team members come in at the ground level and work their way up. When you hire new senior positions it often disrupts the culture and creates imbalance until the new candidate has proven themselves to be an integral part of the team. This can take time and effort from everyone.
- Dream Practice. Develop a practice with internal systems/structures, that attracts the right type of people. Your team should feel that there are certain benefits they are able to enjoy as a result of accepting the job. Candidates should feel that their practice is a safe and happy environment to work in where other team members appear satisfied. This itself will make your recruitment much easier as you start to increase the demand for a job at your practice. Recruitment is a two-way benefit, and your intention is for the team member to stay with you long term. So, you need certain perks of the job to keep your team interested.
In today’s post-Brexit environment, the entire industry is feeling its effects in terms of recruitment. Hiring the right people continues to remain important precedence for all practice owners. However, recruiting the right people in the right way should be the way forward.