Whether you’re a solo health practitioner looking to scale or running an established health practice with an existing staff complement, hiring administrative staff is a significant moment in the life of your health practice.
However, determining when to hire in allied health can be tough. You want to know that you’ll be able to afford the new salary and that your new hire will onboard seamlessly and legitimately streamline your practice’s operations.
In the words of Marc Benioff,
“Acquiring the right talent is the most important key to growth.
Hiring was – and still is – the most important thing we do.”
Read on as we unpack everything you need to consider before hiring your new admin employee.
What is Data-Driven Decision-Making?
Data-driven decision-making involves making choices based on actual data rather than intuition or observation alone.
In the context of managing admin responsibilities or staff in allied health, this means using concrete metrics (such as appointment volume, client feedback, and workflow analyses) to determine the optimal number and type of administrative staff required.
If you make hiring decisions based on data, you can reliably avoid the risks of understaffing (such as decreased client satisfaction, burnout, and lost revenue) or overstaffing (such as unsustainable expenses and decreased morale).
The Importance of Data-Driven Decision-Making in Managing Admin Staff
Review Current Workload & Administrative Demands
To make informed decisions, start by evaluating your practice’s current workload. Look carefully at daily tasks like appointment scheduling, billing, and client communication.
Time-tracking software and task logs can help you understand how staff spend their time and the volume of administrative demands.
Assess Your Existing Workload
Assessing your health practice’s existing workload is crucial for several reasons, including:
- Resource allocation: It provides clarity on whether you’re overstaffed or understaffed.
- Task evaluation: It helps discern high-priority tasks from those that can be rescheduled or even eliminated.
- Realistic goal setting: When you understand what’s achievable within the workday, you can set realistic expectations and deadlines.
Identify Pain Points or Bottlenecks
With a data-driven approach, your health practice can pinpoint where delays or disruptions occur most frequently.
Pain points might be found in outdated software systems, manual data entry, or cumbersome communication chains. Identifying these bottlenecks is the first step to implementing effective solutions.
Identify Where Admin Tasks Are Causing Inefficiencies
Certain administrative tasks can cause inefficiencies that, if left unchecked, can drain both time and resources.
Consider the manual process of mailing out paper invoices. This task involves printing, collating, enveloping, and posting, which are time-consuming and prone to errors.
Data-driven decision-making can guide you here:
- Audit regular administrative tasks: Periodically review all routine tasks and determine if they can be automated, streamlined, or outsourced.
- Solicit staff feedback: Often, front-line staff can provide insights into repetitive or unnecessary tasks.
- Implement technology: Consider adopting tools or software to alleviate these inefficiencies, like electronic invoicing.
Monitor the Impact of Workload on Staff Efficiency & Client Experience
If you’re reading this article, you probably already know that workload doesn’t just affect the efficiency of your admin staff; it directly impacts client experience.
Overburdened staff may inadvertently cause appointment delays, billing errors, or slower response times to queries.
Conversely, a smooth and efficient admin process fosters a positive client experience, as clients receive timely, accurate, and attentive service.
Streamline Operations Before Hiring
Knowing when to hire in allied health can be difficult, and the urge to hire additional personnel is understandable when faced with mounting administrative demands.
It’s crucial to ensure that current operations are as efficient as possible before expanding the team. Adding new members to an inefficient system can lead to increased overhead expenses, not to mention workflow chaos.
Streamline your processes, then onboard new team members. A key strategy to improve operations is to leverage technology and gear your practice processes towards automation as much as possible.
Here are just a few ways Power Diary can help automate administrative processes:
Electronic forms are a game-changer for allied health practices.
Clients can complete forms online before appointments. This reduces the need for manual data entry, processing, physical storage, and errors from deciphering handwritten responses.
Templates are an excellent way to streamline repetitive administrative tasks.
Instead of crafting each message from scratch, staff can use templates to increase efficiency and ensure a consistent and professional tone across all communications.
Missed appointments and last-minute cancellations can be costly and disruptive.
Did you know that Power Diary’s SMS feature can send automated appointment reminders, bulk client messages, waitlist notifications, and payment links?
This feature ensures better client communication, supports adherence to treatment plans (directly impacting revenue growth) and reduces the time that might ordinarily be spent manually checking in with and following up on clients.
Automated Payments/Take Payments Online
Invoicing and debt collection is one of the most important administrative centers in your health practice – and it can be one of the most time-consuming.
With increasing demand for contactless operations and the convenience of online transactions, Power Diary allows practices to automate payment processes.
Clients can make secure payments online via the Client Portal, with a link sent by email or SMS and can even pay for appointments in advance.
This way, you reduce time spent on in-person transactions and follow-ups, ensuring timely revenue collection and reducing administrative overheads related to chasing payments.
Review Key Administrative Metrics to Identify Needs
Did you know that administrative expenses can account for as much as 25% of the overhead in allied health practices?
You can reduce this figure dramatically by using key administrative metrics to guide you in streamlining your admin process and, ultimately, to decide whether it’s time to hire admin staff.
You may be wondering which metrics to track first… we’ve got you covered!
Here are some of the key metrics you need to evaluate your practice’s current performance:
- Percentage of spend on admin: Assess your administrative spending against your total revenue. If the percentage is too high, your current admin team may be overloaded, leading to inefficiencies or overtime pay. Conversely, a very low percentage might mean you’re understaffed, which can lead to other issues like longer wait times.
- Appointment volume: As your appointment numbers increase, the workload for your admin team does as well. They’ll be fielding more calls and dealing with more clients. If you notice a surge in appointments, consider whether your current staff can manage this increase or if you need additional hands on deck.
- Scheduling patterns: Understanding the peak times and patterns in scheduling can guide you on how to distribute or increase your administrative staff. You may need more staff during certain hours of the day or certain days of the week.
- Average wait times and appointment duration: If clients are waiting longer than the industry standard or if appointments are running much longer than scheduled, it’s a sign that administrative processes might need reevaluation.
- Review client experience metrics: Client feedback can provide insights into areas that need improvement. If clients frequently mention administrative issues like scheduling difficulties or long wait times, it’s a cue to reassess your administrative procedures and staff.
- Number of tasks per admin team member: This metric is straightforward – if each team member is consistently overloaded, it’s time to consider hiring. On the flip side, if some team members frequently have idle time, it might be an opportunity to reassess workload distribution.
Schedule time to review these metrics regularly, whether monthly, quarterly or at another interval that works for you to keep tabs on your practice’s performance.
Establish Performance Indicators for Your Practice
Once you’re tracking your practice’s performance metrics, you can establish performance milestones. In allied health practice, especially administratively, setting clear and measurable performance indicators can help you streamline operations and ensure quality service.
These indicators, often known as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), can provide a roadmap for improving your health practice’s functionality.
Understand the Importance of Clear, Measurable Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
KPIs ensure that there’s a benchmark for quality.
If your staff knows what to aim for, it’s easier for them to deliver on these milestones consistently.
Systems like Power Diary provide invaluable data that can be translated into KPIs. Once your data is collected, it’s crucial to set achievable targets for your staff members and review these regularly.
Establish Workload Capacity Thresholds
Every staff member has a limit to their workload capacity. Understanding this threshold ensures that staff aren’t overburdened, which can lead to burnout or mistakes.
Set clear limits
For example, if an admin staff member can handle a maximum of 50 client calls daily, that becomes the KPI threshold.
Setting a KPI that exceeds this threshold may affect the morale of that staff member and the quality of service they can deliver.
Identify Triggers That Indicate a Need for More Staff
When you’ve set and are tracking KPIs, you’ll start to identify patterns that may indicate a need for new staff.
Here are a few examples:
- Frequent overflows: If there are consistent instances where the workload exceeds the capacity threshold, it’s a clear trigger indicating the need for more hands on deck.
- Client feedback: Negative feedback relating to wait times, scheduling conflicts, or administrative errors – despite streamlining these processes with automated practice management software – can indicate that your current staff is overloaded.
- Decreased staff morale: This is an often-overlooked indicator. If your current staff frequently appear stressed, overworked, or demotivated, it might be a signal to consider hiring additional team members.
Other Considerations Before Hiring New Admin Staff
We’ve seen the importance of streamlining your existing processes and tracking performance metrics and indicators – so what are the other factors worth considering before making your new hire?
Here’s a breakdown:
You may have noticed our emphasis on anticipating needs rather than reacting to them.
By the time you see the need for additional staff, you could already be in a situation where the current workload is overwhelming. This makes the training period for new hires challenging as there’s pressure to onboard them swiftly amidst rising work demands.
Regularly monitor growth rates. This can help predict when the need for new hires might arise, allowing you to make hiring decisions before the workload gets out of hand.
Financial Feasibility of Adding Staff
Before bringing in new staff, ensure that practice finances can accommodate the additional payroll and associated expenses.
Return on Investment (ROI)
Remember – while hiring can be an added cost, it’s also an investment.
The best reason to hire a new administrative employee is because it’ll improve practice performance and efficiency, thereby enhancing revenue generation or even reducing overhead costs in other areas.
The Impact of New Staff on Operations
Consider how new hires might impact the current workflow.
Will there be enough workspace? How will tasks be redistributed? Who will be responsible for training and onboarding the new staff member, and how will this affect that person’s workload?
Beyond skills, ensure that your new hire aligns with your health practice’s culture and values. Few things are more disruptive to the morale and productivity of a business than introducing an uncooperative individual into an otherwise cohesive staff body.
Balancing Cost Considerations with Benefits | Immediate vs. Long-term Impact
While there might be immediate costs associated with hiring, weigh this against the envisioned long-term benefits.
Benefits might include improved client experience, increased efficiency, and reduced wait times, leading to increased revenue in the long run.
Before making hiring decisions, solicit feedback from your current team.
Although they won’t be the ultimate decision-makers, your team can provide insights into workload challenges, areas that need support, and the kinds of skills or personalities that would best complement the existing business structure.
Have a clear plan for integrating your new admin hire.
The plan could include training protocols, mentorship programs, and a defined probationary period to assess fit.
Ensure that necessary resources like workstations, software access, and training materials are in place before the new hires start.
Knowing when to hire in allied health isn’t just about acknowledging the need; it’s about streamlining operations, leveraging technology, and using data-driven insights to ensure that the decision benefits both your practice and your clients.
With careful planning, continuous monitoring, and leveraging tools like Power Diary, you can transform this decision into an investment that fuels growth, improves service, and solidifies your practice’s reputation in the healthcare community.
Ready to supercharge your practice’s administrative efficiency?
Try Power Diary for free today and experience the transformative benefits of a comprehensive practice management system.