5 Important Things to Consider When Changing Your Office Manager

Does the thought of changing your Office Manager (OM) keep you up at night? We all know that change is inevitable and whether an OM retires, moves on or you decide to make a change in your team there are always the questions of who will train that person and how will it affect the rest of the team and production in the office. This week is a continuation of the last two weeks of blogs discussing decisions and support for your new OM that you may have not considered previously. 

First consideration…

There is always a learning curve with an OM whether it is an existing team member that you bring into the position or someone totally new. Even if there is someone in place to fully train a new OM then there are still many tasks that only occur every once in a while, or trends that may not be known to the new person. 

If you are promoting someone from within your team there are certain benefits, there is patient knowledge and connection, there is knowledge of team dynamics as well as a comfort level with the person’s reliability and work ethic. These can sound like perfect conditions when you know there will be a learning curve.

Second consideration…

There are also some downfalls to hiring someone from within your team. It is difficult to change from being “in the thick of it” to joining management, the new OM will have to learn that their ability to vent on a not perfect day is limited to those at home or the owner and not other team members. A new collaborative relationship must be built with the owner as you will be now be relating on a different level and discussing financial aspects of the business which were likely not addressed previously. Last but not least is the transition to a new level of confidentiality regarding human resources, financial decisions and future plans for the practice. This person may be a great team member but may not have the personality to be a leader if they aren’t sometimes able to make tough decisions and ensure that they are applied with your team. Also, you will need to consider that you will need to hire another team member to replace the position that was being filled by the new OM. 

Third consideration…

Hiring someone new and unbeknownst to you of course has some benefits and downfalls as well. The benefits may include: the new hire may know some systems that you weren’t aware of that could make your practice more efficient and bringing in another trained management eye may relieve you of some tasks that you find stressful. You may be able to find the person who completes your team in a way that you didn’t realize you needed.

Fourth consideration…

Some of the benefits I listed could be downfalls as well. If new systems are brought into the office, they may have worked well elsewhere and may not work for your situation. This could cost time, team morale and hopefully not any patients. You will want someone who will take the time to learn the patterns of team and patients in your office before they start offering up changes in the “right way” to do tasks. The other phrase that team members won’t want to hear is “in my old office I did it this way.” 

Final consideration…

You should also do a very thorough reference check to ensure that what is being presented to you is as it seems. Going on a gut connection for such an important position is not always the best business decision. My experience when I was an OM, was that the best ever interview I had ever conducted came with the easiest ever training of a new team member but turned out to the most disastrous and destructive team member I ever hired. No matter what reasoning is given to you, a thorough and proper reference search is a must.

As I have mentioned in the previous two blogs about OM there is very little support and training for this position in the dental community. If you are looking for more training and CE for your Office Manager, then I suggest you check out the Mastermind Group for Dental Office Managers that I am running starting in February. These are small groups of OM’s from geographically different areas who will receive instruction as well as an opportunity to connect with others who hold the same position. This group will benefit any size office. Learn more at:   http://ommg.yourbenchmark.ca/

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