Nowhere is the similarity between sport and business (your healthcare practice) as closely aligned as it is when it comes to building great teams. So what’s the best way to recruit the best clinicians, practice managers and reception staff for your practice? And what’s the best way to get rid of them if they don’t work out?

Generally, I say to take your time hiring, then when required get rid of staff fast, which means you want to spend 80 per cent of your time upfront in terms of recruiting new team members for your practice, which can save you major time and money down the road. This may mean some extra time conducting group interviews or reviewing personality profiles, but in my experience the extra time up front is worth it in making sure you’re bringing on the right fit for you practice and its culture.

While the approach of taking your time hiring and firing rapidly isn’t fool proof, you’ll have a better ‘hit’ rate of recruiting and retaining quality team members. Here are some tips to make your extra time up front more worthwhile:

1. Communicate common goals and your practice’s vision, mission and culture upfront. This sounds obvious, but you’d be amazed how many practices will go out and hire new team members without giving them an idea of the practice history (where it’s been) or vision for the future (where it’s going). This simple ‘add on’ to your process is sometimes enough to weed out applicants upfront, meaning those who right away know your practice values don’t match their own.

2. Profile applicant with DISC (or similar) profiles. Many practices don’t profile applicants, and then wonder why the front desk person doesn’t like to network. I’m a big advocate of the DISC profile (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, Conscientiousness), which gives you a simple yet clear understanding of personalities and what individuals’ strengths and weaknesses are in terms of relationship and task-oriented behaviours.

3. Hold group interviews to leverage your time and effectiveness. Group interviews are a great way to leverage times and effectiveness, especially when you have a number of applicants for a position. Group interviews allow you to set one interview at a set time during the week, rather than five or 10 interviews over several week. The group interview environment also allows you to see how people act and interact in a group setting, which can give you clues as to how they may act and interact in your practice setting. I recommend holding group interviews as an initial interview before going to one-on-ones as it’s the best way to leverage yours and the applicant’s time.

Fit the player to the system, rather than the system to the player. We’ve all seen sports teams who take a chance on a problem player, figuring once he/she is in their system their behaviour and performance will change for the better. Avoid this in your own practice and resist the temptation to go against your own systems for a stellar resume form a heavy hitter that comes with some kind of behaviour or attitudinal baggage.

Now what about the other half of the equation – the “get rid of your staff fast”? Just do it. The cost of having a bad, negative or poor performing member on your team is high and has a negative impact on your other team members. Remember, the cost of keeping a bad person always outstrips the value of replacing them with someone who is motivated and who has not only the skills and ability to do the job, but the heard and passion to always go the extra mile. Not only will your practice improve once the ‘bad apple’ has moved on, but your working environment will as well and your team will be extra motivated to make things work by seeing you committed to ‘walking the talk’ of your own practice mission and culture.