Accounting and Human Resources are two functional areas of business that small business owners often struggle to manage, simply because an owner’s expertise is often not in one of these fields. Dr. Judith K. Schmidt, DDS, owner of The Clinic for Oral Health, understands just how the overall success of her practice is measured by the outcomes in these two areas. By outsourcing some of the work in Accounting and Human Resources to Multi Business Solutions, Dr. Schmidt is able to focus on what she does best: providing high quality dental care for her patients.
About our Client
The Clinic for Oral Health is a general dental clinic in Wahpeton, North Dakota. Dr. Schmidt opened her clinic in 2007 with the goal of offering comprehensive, high quality dental care to her patients. While Dr. Schmidt is the sole doctor in the clinic, she employs nine team members.
Shortly after opening her practice, Dr. Schmidt recognized her need for assistance with bookkeeping and accounting. For over 10 years, MBS has been helping with these aspects of the business. As a result, Dr. Schmidt can maintain a complete financial picture of her business while still focusing on her patients.
Dr. Schmidt is a small business owner with a full patient schedule. She depends on her employees to perform their work efficiently and effectively in order to keep the patients satisfied. This ensures that Dr. Schmidt can maximize the time she spends with each patient in meeting their treatment goals.
Having solid employee handbooks, performance appraisal processes, and coaching and training programs in place can help to minimize potential employee conflicts which may occur in any business. With so many demands on their time each day and a lack of expertise in this area, small business owners often let this fall to the back-burner, hoping to get to it “someday.” The Clinic’s employee handbook and job descriptions both needed to be reviewed and updated. Although performance appraisals and coaching were being done, there was no formalized and documented process in place.
When we here at MBS expanded our services to include Human Resource support, Dr. Schmidt saw an opportunity to utilize an “extra set of hands” with the employee side of her business.
Update the Employee Handbook
Using the current employee handbook as a foundation, we met with Dr. Schmidt and discussed the changes that she felt were necessary. We also suggested additional policies that she hadn’t considered but might want to include. We removed sections of the handbook that no longer applied, added sections that were missing, and reorganized it to have a better overall flow. Federal and state employment laws were reviewed to ensure that applicable laws and regulations were included.
Once the final version of the handbook was approved by Dr. Schmidt, we went on-site and presented the handbook to the employees and answered questions that they had. Each year, Dr. Schmidt has the employees review the handbook again and sign the acknowledgement forms to ensure clarity.
Update the Job Descriptions
Once again, with the current job descriptions as a foundation, we met with Dr. Schmidt and discussed the job descriptions for all employee positions. We ensured that Dr. Schmidt’s actual expectations for the positions lined up with what the job descriptions stated.
Accurate job descriptions help to find the right candidate to hire for a position. After an employee is hired, the job description may be referred to when addressing any performance concerns. In addition, job descriptions with clearly stated essential job functions can assist in defending a company against an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) claim. For more information on why well written job descriptions are important, check out this article.
Formalize a Performance Appraisal and Employee Coaching Process
It is common for many small businesses to lack a formalized and documented performance appraisal and employee coaching process. Unfortunately, not having these processes in place can result in:
- Employees not knowing where they stand with the company.
- Employees thinking they are not doing a good job when actually, you highly value them and appreciate their contribution to the team each day.
- Employees believing they are doing a fantastic job; however, their manager sees areas of opportunity for improvement.
Together with Dr. Schmidt, we created these processes for her and her team and provided suggestions on how to implement them.
When a formalized coaching process is implemented to address performance concerns, businesses are sometimes surprised at the employee’s response. Many times, issues that the business owner/manager felt were previously addressed, although informally, seem to be a surprise to the employee. Sometimes we find that an employee doesn’t really “hear” or comprehend the seriousness of a performance issue when it is said in passing during the busyness of the regular work day. Sitting down with the employee in a private setting and presenting the information formally can have a much more significant impact.
We know these conversations can be difficult and we offer some suggestions for you here.
Assist with Hiring
When there was a need to hire at The Clinic, we discussed the position with Dr. Schmidt to fully understand what her requirements were for the ideal candidate. We posted the job opening on Indeed, reviewed applications, and conducted initial interviews with applicants via Zoom. Candidates who passed the pre-screen interview were forwarded on to Dr. Schmidt for scheduling of an in-person interview.
Dr. Schmidt is now confident that she has the right people in the right jobs. With a solid hiring and on-boarding process in place, she is confident that each employee knows what is expected of them and how to perform their duties. Dr. Schmidt has the resources she needs to address common employee issues. We are here to support her if any other human resource issues arise, or new hires are needed.
Since a handbook should always be kept up to date, we continue to make updates as needed. Check out this article for more information on why businesses should update their employee handbook.
If you want to strengthen employee retention and reduce employee turnover and communication issues in your small business, you could benefit from partnering with someone who can help with your Human Resource needs. We’d love to show you how we can help, so that you can return to focusing on what you do best. Contact us today!