For those of you who have hired a chiropractic assistant, which I assume is the majority of readers, you know it is huge monetary investment. Costs include, but are not limited to, placing and running ads, screening potential applicants, and conducting interviews and background checks.
Unfortunately, it doesn't always turn out that way. The reasons sound something like this: They didn't show up, they stole from the office, they couldn't file, they dressed unprofessionally, etc. We place the blame on the employee, rather than looking for what we could have done to circumvent these situations.
I believe some of these situations could have been prevented if we had spent more time doing our due diligence. I have observed that in many cases, this problem occurred because a vital part of the hiring process was not done: proper training. In some cases, the new hire shows up the first day and, without a solid job description or any formal training, is expected to be the perfect chiropractic assistant, only to leave at the end of the day tired and frustrated. In some cases, they don't even return to work the next day. Here are a few ways to get the highest return on your investment when hiring a CA.
Conduct a Proper Search
Before you begin the search process for a chiropractic assistant, recognize that you have two challenges: finding the proper CA and keeping them. Keep this in mind as you search for candidates to fill the CA position. In a previous issue of Dynamic Chiropractic, I discussed the application meeting process and gave instructions and suggestions for finding and hiring your sensational CA. I covered how to place the ad, the screening process, the application meeting process, testing, and the interviewing and hiring process. Rather than repeat things I've already written about, I encourage you to read "Finding a Sensational Chiropractic Assistant" online in the March 16, 2005 issue of DC.
Give Them a Proper Title
Too often, I hear CAs say that their job title is receptionist, secretary, office manager, therapist, etc. That could be part of their job description, but the people who dedicate their lives to supporting the chiropractor profession need to be aware that they are so much more than that and that they have a very special job title: chiropractic assistant. Let them know how important they are to the success of the practice and that they have a title reflecting that value. They should also know that the title carries a lot of responsibilities (that you hopefully told them about during the application meeting).
Take Responsibility for Training
Jim Rohn, America's foremost business philosopher, says, "Learning is the beginning of wealth. Learning is the beginning of health. Learning is the beginning of spirituality. Searching and learning is where the miracle process all begins." Spend time teaching your CAs the power of words and the role they have in the healing process. Teach them proper scripting to get the results you want and proper procedures for processing new and established patients. Role play with them until they feel comfortable, and address any concerns they may have before they start to work with the patients. Also, don't forget to crosstrain your CAs so they can jump in and assist one another whenever required.
Empower Them to Succeed
Enthusiastically teach your CAs the philosophy of chiropractic and ignite their passion for chiropractic. They should be comfortable telling everyone they meet about the power of chiropractic and that they are chiropractic assistants. Instill in them that they are partners in the healing process. A well-trained and empowered CA will show their commitment to live healthier and more productive lives and their confidence in the practice and the community they serve.
Your investment doesn't stop after you have hired and trained your team. In another previous article, "Strategies for Building a Strong Team," which appeared in the Jan. 15, 2006, issue of Dynamic Chiropractic, I focused on what you can do to keep your team strong, healthy and committed to the bigger picture. I addressed the importance of a mission statement, an office procedure manual and a team office policy manual, conducting structured individual evaluations at regular intervals, holding weekly team meetings, and job descriptions that clearly define the duties and responsibilities of each team member. I encourage you to read that article online as well.
In closing, I would like to quote author and motivational speaker Brian Tracy:"The future belongs to the competent. It belongs to those who are very, very good at what they do. It does not belong to the well meaning." Find a chiropractic assistant who will mesh well with your team, and then give them the proper training and motivation to excel at what they do.
Click here for previous articles by Lisa Bilodeau, CA.