Do You Utilize Job Descriptions To Manage Your Employees?

Without a doubt, running your own practice has its challenges. Yet for the majority of practice owners, they are offset by the benefits of independent practice ownership.

Most NP owned practices start small and grow from there; others begin on a bigger scale. And that’s ok because everyone has a different idea of how their ideal practice looks.

Some NPs prefer to run a small practice; they have no intentions of adding employees, ever. Others, however, work toward growing their practice and want to add employees in the future.

Hiring Employees

And typically, that’s when another set of challenges appears… when your practice has grown to the point where you’ll hire employees.

While hiring employees benefits your practice, managing people can have its problems. For example, it’s not uncommon for employers and employees to have diverging agendas.

On the one hand, the practice owner needs an employee to do a specific job. On the other hand, someone applies to fill the position but may have a different interpretation of what the job entails.

And that’s where the job description comes to the rescue!

The Benefits

Before we talk about job descriptions and their benefits, let spell out what a job description is.

The job description is part of the policies and procedures for your practice. It is a written document outlining all responsibilities and duties associated with a position. It includes the title of the position, the appropriate reporting and supervisory relationship, and the standards used to measure performance.

No matter how small or big the practice, when someone is hired to fill a position, there should an existing job description.

While the job description makes the hiring process easier, it also allows the employer to evaluate performance, based on established criteria.

For the employee, reading over the existing job description is valuable too. By spelling out the duties and responsibilities of the position, it becomes easier to perform the job duties as outlined.

The Problem

Where employers and employees run into trouble, is when there’s only a vague or no job description at all.

That’s when you might have a situation where the employer has expectations of how the job should be performed, but the employee has another idea of how to do the job.

In this scenario, job functions are nebulous and tend to shift over time. It is difficult for employees to perform as expected since they don’t know what’s expected of them.

Naturally, it’s hard for employees to perform their best and develop under these circumstances. They get frustrated and start looking for another job, leading to job turnover.

And that’s why a job description must be clear and detailed. If it isn’t, it only adds minimal value to the practice.

Think about it…

It’s tough to hire for a position when you don’t know the skills and qualifications you need. And it’s equally difficult, if you’re not clear what’s expected of you once you’re hired for the job.

At the same token, how do you evaluate someone’s performance, if the job duties are not clearly spelled out, or keep shifting? It’s unfair to the employee and of no value to the practice.

But when you’re working with a clear job description, it allows you to evaluate employee performance properly. Because job duties either were fulfilled, or they weren’t! 

What To Include

Here is a list of items to include in your job descriptions.

  • Job Title
  • Job Summary: outline high-level, essential functions for the position.
  • Job Duties/Responsibilities: include a list of tasks to be performed as part of the position; list duties in order of importance.
  • Required qualifications:: outline educational requirements and the specific experience needed.
  • Outline how the job fits within your organization.
  • Include the required dress code, if appropriate.
  • Outline the standards used to evaluate job performance, and how often the employee will be evaluated.
  • Include who acts as direct supervisor for the position and how to communicate with that individual.
  • Include other items unique to your specific situation or you feel are important.

As your practice grows, jobs and corresponding duties mostly likely will change too. Be sure to update your job descriptions, so they stay in step with your practice.

In summary…

Job descriptions are a valuable tool to attract qualified employees. Use them to help find, hire, and keep employees that are a good fit for your office.

Also, utilize your job descriptions to help you manage, evaluate, and develop your employees, so they feel appreciated as a valuable member of your team.

We want to hear from you… tell us what you think by leaving your comment below!


By Johanna Hofmann, MBA, LAc; regular contributor to the NPBusiness blog and author of “Smart Business Planning for Clinicians.

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