In this episode, Barbara and Dr. Michael Neal discuss:
- How to hire suitable candidates for your practice
- How to Build My Team can help you in your hiring process
- Why resumes are not important in the hiring process
- How you can become 90% stress-free in your practice
“If you aren’t using some type of scientific screening process, then you are engaging in the beautiful definition of insanity. You’re doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different result.” – Dr. Michael Neal.
Connect with Dr. Michael Neal:
Connect with Barbara Hales:
Show website: www.MarketingTipsForDoctors.com
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Dr. Barbara Hales: Welcome to another episode of marketing tips for doctors. I’m your host, Dr. Barbara Hales. Today we have Dr. Michael Neal.
Dr. Neal is an optometrist, and the founder of Build My Team, a company dedicated to helping healthcare professionals find the right team members for their practice.
There can be nothing worse than spending months or even a year training people to work in your office. And after you get people that you feel is appropriate for you, they quit, whether it’s to change their profession, go to an office that pays them more, or just decided to stay home. But nowadays, when some people don’t want to work in doctors’ offices, you spent the time training here, and then you have nothing to show for your effort.
Another problem is why it is good to have someone like you because the people who work in the office at the desk are your first line. They are a reflection of you, and they are telling people about you and your services. And if they are incompetent, it’s just going to go down the line. So I think what you do is quite helpful.
Over the years of growing his practice, Dr. Neil invented a scientific and predictable way to hire superstar team members. Dr. Neil takes the guesswork out of hiring with this scientific process and saves other healthcare providers valuable time while helping to reduce turnover.
Who knew there was a scientific basis for hiring people? Tell us all about the scientific approach to hiring and how you go about it?
The Scientific Approach to Hiring
Dr. Michael Neal: We find in working in eight different health care specialties that all of the different health care specialties have something in common, and that’s that we work with administrative and clerical staff and our team members. They’re the ones that execute the vision that the doctor provides for the practice.
I did a deep dive into how the big companies like Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton, etc., are hiring. What I found out is that as doctors, we were doing it all wrong. Who knew? We didn’t learn that in school, did we? What these companies did was instead of putting out job ads and trying to get resumes in and sorting through people manually, they ran them all through a scientific screening process. And they would use that process to eliminate the people they knew could not possibly do the job.
Right off the bat, they took out thousands of applicants because they knew they couldn’t do the job. And when they do find people that they know can do the job, that’s where the process starts where they’re going to look at resumes, and they bring them in for interviews, etc. At that point, they know every single person they’re talking to has the potential to be a great long-term candidate.
Predicting the Outcome
Dr. Barbara Hales: How do you predict the outcome?
Dr. Michael Neal: Psychometrics. There is a whole field of science unknown to most people in healthcare, and that’s what this field does. We start with a mindset measurement in healthcare. You have to love people, and you have to love taking care of them, love learning, etc. It’s a tsunami of information every single day. We’re looking for people who have initiative and can be results-focused. They have to be grateful, appreciative, and are team players. All of those things are part of the mindset that we’re looking for. And that’s step one with our scientific assessment process. Once they have that healthcare mindset, we can move on to the next step.
Our entire processes are a done-for-you process for the practice. All they do is tell us that they need a secretary, a dental assistant, a medical assistant, whatever the position might be. And then our company posts the job ad to 22 different job boards. We want to get the maximum amount of applicants. As soon as those applicants apply within two to three seconds, they get a link sent to them on their cell phone. They’re not even applying via email because we know that the medical assistants of the world and the dental assistants and all those younger folks are not using email. So, they get into our process immediately. These are the people who might be applying for 30 jobs in an hour and they don’t even remember what job they used for. It’s terrible and disconcerting. That’s why the scientific process is built that way.
The next thing after we check their mindset is their speed of learning. Believe it or not, we can measure that. And it’s very straightforward. If somebody learns quickly, you’ve got somebody you can work with. If somebody learns extremely slowly, then how is that going to work for your practice?
Dr. Barbara Hales: You said to “forget about their experience and their resume.” And obviously, these are two things that ordinarily person hiring would look at the most. What do you say to that?
Dr. Michael Neal: We got a person hired in a position still there, but her resume constituted four lines of text. She was a disaster at writing resumes, but she was a superstar for a technician position in a health care practice. So what ends up happening is doctors are looking at experience because it’s what doctors are known to look for. It’s wrong. Stop doing that as fast as you possibly can, and you will get better results. You’re looking for naturally talented people at the position you’re trying to bring them into.
For example, in a medical secretary position, this is somebody who has to be friendly. They also have to be highly transactional. They must be completely capable of following a process, have high-stress tolerance, follow procedures and policies consistently, and be bored by extended routine. These are all things that we’re measuring. We can measure those things, and the results are unbelievably reliable.
We know what makes an outstanding person in that particular role for each of these types of positions. And that’s who we’re looking for. But the catch is that these people are intelligent. They learn far faster than you can imagine. And when they’re in the role, they love it, and they don’t understand why what they’re doing is unique because it comes so quickly to them.
Measuring Stress Tolerance
Dr. Barbara Hales: Do you have a way to measure whether someone is a people person and has people skills so that they can not only be friendly but tolerate people who might be a little bit more irritating when they get to the office?
Dr. Michael Neal: Yes, we measure if they’re cool and personal with patients or if they’re warm and friendly with patients. We measure their stress tolerance. In the old days, healthcare was pretty much a lot easier. But now, it’s a pressure cooker. On the doctor side of things, many of us don’t realize how much of a pressure cooker it is, but you are expected to perform with patients and be incredibly accurate, get everything squared away, and then move on to the next patient. And most of the people who are applying for the positions in your practice cannot do that.
They cannot do what you’re asking them to do. That’s why they don’t stay. That’s why they’re not working out. They’re fantastic in an interview, but they are not very good when they’re actually in the role itself. And our process was designed from scratch to prevent that.
Experienced in Failure
Dr. Barbara Hales: You mentioned that new hires should be experienced in failure. That seems like an interesting thought. What do you mean by that?
Dr. Michael Neal: As far as being experienced in failure, almost everybody coming into healthcare practice is looking for stability. That’s the reason they apply to healthcare practice, especially after COVID has changed people’s opinions on things. Healthcare practices for the vast majority stayed open and provided paychecks. We’ve got all of these things that make it an incredible position for applicants in the long term, and they want the stability of these types of positions.
It doesn’t matter what they’ve done in the past because none of them come to the table with a resume that looks like they’re a career technician or a career secretary. And from our experience as a company, when somebody comes to the table with a resume that makes them look absolutely perfect, it is a red flag for us. They still go through our entire assessment process. But they’re rarely recommended to the practice. It’s so counterintuitive. You’re not looking for that person. That person generally will leave for another practice for 50 cents to $1 an hour or more. They are doing it because that’s all they’ve ever done. Occasionally, we’ll have superstars in that role. But they would go through our assessments, and then they’re a slam dunk. But the vast majority of the people we bring to practices are superstars who don’t know they’re a superstar for that role, and they’re able to hop into the role and learn it very quickly.
An example is our technician hiring process. When we were hiring the traditional way, it took about six months to get a technician up and running in our practice. Using our new method with Build My team, Candidates that we hire were somewhere in the realm of 10 to 12 days to get them productive, and approximately three business weeks by the time they’re on their own. And that’s from a six-month process. This is how big of a difference it can make for your practice.
How did Build My Team Start?
Dr. Barbara Hales: You’re a successful Eye Doctor, and every doctor does go through a hiring process. How have you decided that you will take this and build a business and run with it to help other health professionals?
Dr. Michael Neal: It did not start like that. This was out of absolute necessity. We had a ton of people run through our practice. My wife was in charge of the hiring at the time. She’s an amazing clinician, and patients adore her. However, she’s super empathetic. And in that particular position, candidates would take advantage of her in an interview. They’ll tell her what she wants to hear, and they’ll do everything they possibly can to make her hire them. What ended up happening is she would hire “wounded puppies.” Nobody can ignore a wounded puppy. You got to get that puppy in. You got to nurse them back to help make them nice and comfortable. It’s all in the wrong direction.
What we needed to do instead is hire superstars who are performers for the particular positions. The scientific approach we developed and converted was not made to start a company. It was done for the sole purpose of getting me out of this misery that we were in with our practice with constant turnover, etc. This whole thing started from a cell phone where I was texting these candidates manually. We built a bunch of software for emailing candidates but ended up shutting it down because email doesn’t work with candidates. I had an assistant at the time who spent four hours explaining to the candidates what a spam box was. Believe it or not, they didn’t know. We ended up converting everything to text-based and it’s been fantastic ever since. Now, we’re currently in 34 states and eight different health care professions in the United States and Canada.
Dr. Barbara Hales: Are you a computer whiz, or did you seek out IT specialists to help you with your plan?
Dr. Michael Neal: We have an entire team behind us that does the development and psychometric experts. The beautiful part about all of this is the amount of feedback we get is tremendous. So we built internal feedback loops to get better. When we first started, we were rejecting 80% of candidates. But now, we reject approximately 97% of candidates. So if you think about that enormous stack of resumes you have on your desk, it’s death by 1000 paper cuts, or you’re terrified because you only have a couple of candidates, and you don’t like any of them.
Our process is built to prevent both of those situations from getting any traction. Our automated process runs the candidates through the screening, and you remove almost all of them. On the other hand, if you only have a couple of candidates while you’re not using enough job boards, your job ad might be flawed. So what our team does is we cast the widest possible net to get as many applicants as we can and then remove the ones that we know would not be able to do a great job.
Dr. Barbara Hales: What marketing did you do to get your name out there?
Dr. Michael Neal: For Build My Team, the bulk of our growth has come organically with referrals. When the company went from being a solution for my practice to doing it for some friends and then growing it into a company to help other doctors and decided to essentially solve this problem so thoroughly for a practice that they couldn’t possibly imagine going back to doing it themselves, and that’s what we’ve been able to do.
Our goal now is to start working with a new practice. We provide a free consultation call where our team will discuss how a practice operates and what they’re looking for. Often, we want a person to do a certain task, and it turns out to be two or three roles. So we helped the practice refine that to get a person who can knock this out of the park.
In our practice, we used to have 14 staff members. Now we have 10. We stayed open 100% of the time through COVID, and we had our best year ever. And we’re following with again our best year ever. So even with approximately 40% less staff, we’re still doing better because we have superstars. We replaced about 80% of our team with new members from the Build My Team process to generate those results. So this isn’t theoretical. It’s not academic. This is happening in our practice and other practices around the country.
Dr. Barbara Hales: For established practices where one or two employees are less than stellar, and the health professional doesn’t want to go through a whole vetting process all over again, do you have a recommendation on how to get rid of that ineffective person? And do you bring on other people to take over the role as you phase out the ineffective person?
Dr. Michael Neal: This happens all the time. For the mediocre person or a legacy employee that’s been there forever, you have to have an honest discussion with yourself. Are you happy with their performance or not? If you’re not satisfied with them, then it’s time for a planned replacement. Our team will have discussions with the practice to make sure that it’s a very smooth process. But it has to happen.
Every practice has almost one or more terrific players, which are the A players. They will tolerate a B player, but they will leave the practice if you try to make them work with a C player. Think about how many C players you have on your team. If the answer is zero, terrific. We don’t need to work together. If the answer is one or more, then we start with the C players. And then, over time, we’ll replace all the C players and then the B players. When it gets to an A or a B, you’re doing great. Your practice is running like a Swiss watch. But up until that point, it’s time to bite the bullet.
I cannot begin to tell you how much more pleasant it is to walk into our practice. I enjoy it. I like coming to work now because almost all of us love the patient care side. But it’s the team. You’ve got these people who complain and not doing their job. You’re constantly on them because you’re not a babysitter. You can’t do that. Practices don’t work when that happens. Replace the team members that are causing those problems with superstars. And you’ll notice that instead of being 90% stressed, your role in the practice is now 90% stress-free.
Dr. Michael’s Tip to Health Professionals
Dr. Barbara Hales: What’s the one tip you can give to help health professionals out there now?
Dr. Michael Neal: If you aren’t using a scientific screening process of some type, you are engaging in the beautiful definition of insanity. You’re doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result. You’re going to sit in front of the person in an interview, and they’re going to tell you whatever they need to tell you to get the job. They’ll hand you their resume that documents all of their failures, and you’re going to decide on that.
So flip it around. Imagine, as a clinician, a patient comes to you. They walk into your exam room, lie about why they’re there and about all their medications, their entire health history. It’s made up. It’s just fiction. And then they want you to solve their problem. And you are figuring out where to start. This is what happens in an interview in the hiring process all the time. With Build My Team, we’ve created a better mousetrap. It’s working spectacularly, and it’s affordable. You don’t have to do that anymore.
Dr. Barbara Hales: That is wonderful. So Mike, tell us where our health professionals can get in touch with you.
Dr. Michael Neal: Go to www.buildmyteam.com. You can schedule a free consultation with one of our team members at your convenience because we all know we’re super scheduled people. If you have a moment and you’re looking to talk to somebody live, it’s 800-434-TEAM.
Dr. Barbara Hales: Fantastic. It has been a real treat having you today, and we’ve all learned something, and it was a lot of fun. So thank you for being here.
Dr. Michael Neal: All right. Thank you so much, Barbara.
Dr. Barbara Hales: This has been another episode of “Marketing Tips for Doctors”. I’m your host, Dr. Barbara Hales. ‘Til next time!