Office managers play a role that can be the key to your practice’s success. Finding the right one is not only important, but can also pose a unique challenge. For independently owned practices, an office manager is key to running the day-to-day business while you’re busy seeing patients. Without an effective business, you’re likely to struggle. Finding the right office manager is a key part of your business’ success.
The benefits of having a great office manager not only include your practice running more efficiently and increasing profitability, but will also allow you to focus on growing your practice. Good office managers will end up paying for themselves, whereas having the wrong person can be costly and destructive to the practice.
1. Avoid hiring in-house
That’s not to say that hiring someone that already works for the practice won’t be a successful transition, however there are some challenges that come with doing so. One such challenge is how other employees handle the change – whether they are able to recognize the authority shift and whether the newly promoted manager is able to properly manage their former coworkers. Bringing in outside talent brings to the practice a new perspective and fresh ideas.
2. Identify your weaknesses and find someone to fill those gaps
The office manager role is a great way to round out the skill set needed to run an efficient practice. If you are not too great at organization, find someone that is able to keep things in line. If the area you struggle with is marketing, an office manager with some experience can be a valuable asset to growing your business. An office manager that is able to fill in those areas of opportunity would prove valuable in the long run.
3. Work ethic trumps all
An office manager sets the tone for other employees in how they treat and conduct the business. The trust invested in the responsibilities of office managers mean that we need to hold them to higher standards. Oftentimes they are the first to arrive and the last to leave, so do your research on the individual by contacting their references and asking leading questions.
4. Give autonomy
View the office manager as an extension of you and once they have been trained, trust that they will be able to manage the office without needing too much oversight. Too much oversight is not only exhausting for you, but will also hinder the office manager from doing their job. Delegating responsibilities and checking in from time to time will help streamline the process.
5. Allow for mistakes
As with any new role, mistakes can happen. For small opportunities, offer guidance when you spot an upcoming problem and avoid the temptation of fixing it yourself. By doing this, you allow the new office manager to experience firsthand the situation and learn to handle it should it arise again in the future.
6. Look past the need for medical experience
If it comes down to it, the ability to lead and help manage a practice is more important than experience working in the industry. The unique aspects of the industry can be taught and learned, whereas the foundational skills of a great office manager can be translated across sectors.
7. Seek servant leadership qualities
A servant leader is someone who is focused on the growth and well being of the people and groups they belong. For optical practices, the may different needs can call upon the office manager to play multiple roles throughout the day – from managing inventory to tidying up the patient waiting area.
8. Have clear communication and provide feedback for growth
The best office managers develop their experience over the years, learning and refining their skills based on the feedback they received. Growth in this role is hinged on the office manager being open (and seeking) constructive feedback to becoming a better manager.
It can take time to find the right office manager to fit the needs and culture of your practice. Make sure to follow these tips and give the office manager time to grow into the role. However if it’s not working out, the best thing to do is to move quickly to make the necessary changes.
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