We are all guilty of it, some more than others. Actually, it’s a very common struggle many business owners face. But as you know, the first step is admitting you have a problem. So, let me be the first to admit, “Hi. My name is Cory and I am guilty of keeping underperforming team members WAY longer than I should have.” But the consequences can have a major impact on our company culture and consequently, our company vision. Instead, we can do something about it by following this 5-step model for firing & hiring employees.
The basic premise of this 5-step practice is that you can build a team with no weak links, where everyone is pulling their weight and moving the company vision forward. You can do this by establishing the expectations, company culture, and systems needed to achieve the vision.
That is to say, you have to learn how to fire employees that don’t fit into that vision and learn how to hire team members that do!
It’s time to evaluate why you opened your practice. What experience are you trying to create for your patients? What is the purpose behind everything that happens in the practice?
If you're like me, I like to think I see the best in people. In my opinion, I'm a pretty good judge of character. Of course, 18 years of hiring hundreds and hundreds of employees has definitely given me plenty of practice. And the older I get, and the better I understand my own values, the more I recognize the qualities that I value in others.
Ranking at the top of my list is honesty, integrity, and loyalty. Followed by energetic, courteous, kind, thrifty, and conservation-minded. The problem is this: what if some of these traits are also paired with inconsistent, makes lots of mistakes, or misses details? What if some of the attractive qualities you held onto a team member for are also paired with inefficient, is not a team player, or is very, very slow?
You have to ask yourself: How is this team member impacting the company vision? Did I hire the right person for the company's success? Is this employee contributing to the company culture?
We spend A LOT of time with our team. For some, more time than with our own biological family. Of course, with that time comes genuine friendships. And naturally, we want to reciprocate their loyalty back to them; especially, if that’s a quality you value. But sometimes we do this, even though it's costing the team as a whole. Sometimes, we turn a blind eye to an employee's many mistakes or slowness and inefficiency.
But take a second to realize the impact the negatives are having on the whole of your team?
Whatever the excuses are, nothing compensates for a team member negatively affecting the very essence of your company's greatness: it’s company culture. Nothing is worth turning a blind eye to lack of accountability or moving the production needle.
Over the last holiday season, I had an amazing experience with my family in Disneyland. Keep in mind, it was the last week of the year and the 3 days leading up to New Year’s Eve. Imagine it, I can honestly say that I have not been inside of a more confined space with sooo many people jammed into it. There were literally moments where I felt claustrophobic because I was shoulder to shoulder with other park guests.
Yet, during those 3 days, even with the hoards of Disney fanatics, we found ourselves having some serious magical moments. From the parades to water shows, fireworks to watching my daughter take pictures with her favorite princesses. At the end of the trip, my wife and I looked at each other and said, “Wow, what a great trip.”
Disney really did their job for my family. Their team created an unforgettable experience! Think about what it takes to put on that production. The training they put their “cast members” through. Not to mention, the focus day in and day out to create the magic.
Thinking back, I realize I didn’t pay all that money for the rides. No, I paid for the experience.
And your patients will do the same!
So, take the time to hire the right candidates for the success of your practice. Choose someone who fits the company culture. Here are several tests that I like, which you can use to help you understand your potential hire better:
It’s incredibly important that a potential new hire understand that you’re not inviting them onto your team to trade time for a paycheck. Instead, they’re joining the team to help move the company vision forward.
The candidate needs to know what their piece of the vision will be and how much they're expected to produce within a defined time frame. If these expectations aren't being communicated from the get-go, you're not fostering the culture of accountability needed to realize your company's vision.
Team members who understand how they contribute and what they're contributing to, have more power and motivation to drive the vision forward. The more a team member contributes to the vision, the more valuable they become. And yes, they should be rewarded for that!
Once the culture of contributing to the vision in exchange for a piece of the pie is established, it’s vital that each team member has a way to set goals and monitor performance. Every team member needs a way to track their contributions.
This is the very essence of BlueIQ. With our technology, a team member can identify exactly what they’re working towards. Then fall into a daily, weekly and monthly rhythm to make it happen.
As the owner or office lead, you are responsible for communicating and reviewing production & progress on a daily, weekly, and monthly bases. However, it’s in the 90-day reviews that you get to sit knee to knee with the team member, pull up their assigned team KPI and individual metrics, and review their performance with them.
In the performance review, the team member gets to see their performance trends, contribution to the vision, and share their thoughts on how they're doing.
Underperforming team members aren't going to love this meeting. Not if the team member is staring at consecutive goal periods in red (the lowest performance level in BlueIQ). Granted, this is taking into consideration that your leadership team has done everything in their power to train and help this team member perform. When the employee can look at their metrics, see how their performance is affecting the team, they'll terminate themselves (or ask for a new seat on your bus (Jim Collins reference)).
No more struggling with underperformers who don’t move the vision forward. Instead, establish a culture of accountability, celebrate the team's successes, do your 90-day reviews and let the underperformers exit on their own.
When you find yourself doing performance reviews and each team member is consistently hitting their acceptable range of performance, the energy and excitement are palpable in your office culture. This is the culture with no weak links; where everyone is pulling their weight and visions become reality. And it all starts with learning how to fire the employees that don't fit into your vision and hire the team members that do!
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