That's not my Job
This is a story about four people named: Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.
There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.
Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it.
It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.
Does this sound familiar?
This story often hits home in many of our dental practices. There are numerous roles and tasks that must be done each and every day. Sometimes the important tasks are ignored because we often think it is Somebody’s responsibility. Is it intentional? Usually, not. In general, this happens when a dental practice doesn’t have clearly defined job descriptions and assigned tasks in the practice.
Two of the most valuable tools we can use in our practices are job descriptions and assigning tasks. You might think these two tools are the same but they are not. A job description is a document that clearly states essential job requirements, job duties, job responsibilities, and skills required to perform a specific role. A task is all the activities or work that makes up a complete job description. To have a unified team who works together efficiently, you need both.
Part of the job description of a dental assistant would be to prepare and receive lab cases. One daily task of a dental assistant that is confirming all lab cases have been received for the patients for the next day. If you have more than one assistant, they may think the other person, Somebody, checked the cases but when they get to the office the next morning they realize Nobody checked the cases.
For the front office team members they are often responsible for checking voicemails and emails. If one thinks Somebody is going to perform the task but not know for sure then it can end up that Nobody completes the important task.
When we think about the different jobs in the dental practice many of the job descriptions overlap in some way. When we think about our front office team in our practices there might be several team members in this role and have the same job description but each individual might be responsible for different tasks or positions in the front office. Breaking down the roles within the front office may include: Check in, Check out, Insurance Coordinator, Treatment Coordinator, and Office Manager. Within each of these roles Everybody, at some point, will be responsible for overlapping tasks such as: answering phones, checking in and out patients, collecting patient payments, opening or closing the office, etc.
Since everybody on the front office team is responsible for these overlapping tasks, our team members will often think Somebody will do it but ultimately Nobody did it. Or we create inefficiencies by Everybody confirming that a certain task is complete and Nobody has time for that!
How can we use job descriptions and tasks to help our teams work efficiently together and in harmony?
Make sure each team member has a clearly defined job description. Then break down the job description tasks into an ideal schedule of when each item should be complete. When we think about the dental assistant and front office examples, we could create a checklist for the morning and afternoon. This will help our teams not miss an important step. Let’s take it a few steps further by assigning certain tasks to specific team members and then having the assigned team member initial that the task is complete. This will help communicate to the other team members what is done and not done and prevents inefficiencies in Everybody confirming each task is done by not having a checklist. It also helps our teams get out of the office faster and home with their families.
I have included a brief example of a front office checklist below to help you get started on your checklists today! If you need help reviewing your daily protocols and checklists, contact us!
Amie Spurlock, Consultant
Amie Spurlock began her career in the field of dentistry in 2002 and has successfully held every position in the office, excluding the dentist and hygienist. She has also worked with many offices as a Certified Dentrix Trainer to help each office improve their workflows to better care for their patients and the overall practice. Amie is passionate about training and coaching teams to become key players in helping run a successful dental practice. With her experience she is able to identify and diagnose areas of opportunity and give workable and practical solutions.
Amie can be reached at: email@example.com