I hear the same kind of story from group practice owners time and time again:
“I never seem to be able to focus on the important things in my group practice. I am constantly putting out fires or being interrupted by staff with questions that distract me from doing what I need to do. How can I get my staff to become more independent?”
While I’m an advocate for independence and for people learning from their own mistakes, a lack of independence isn’t often the problem. Rather, it's a lack of structure and support. To help, I’ve compiled a list of five things you can delegate to relieve pressure and time, help your business grow, and provide support and growth opportunities for your superstar staff.
1. Supervision/staff management
Some group practice owners don’t like to provide supervision, don’t have time to do it effectively, or it just isn’t an area of strength for them. Whatever the reason, there are several ways to get your group practice the supervision and staff management support it needs without having it come from you. The most common is to get a clinical director or supervisor.
There are some differences between clinical directors and supervisors. Clinical directors often provide staff management in addition to supervising. They also play a role in hiring new staff, communicating concerns outside of the client/clinician role (like retention and note issues), letting staff go, marketing the group practice, making bigger staff-related decisions, and supporting your growth goals. They are more of a right-hand person to the group practice owner, whereas supervisors tend to provide one specific task, which is to supervise staff on their caseloads. Depending on your support needs, you may need one or the other, or even both.
2. Onboarding new clinicians
Onboarding a new therapist is time-consuming. Most employers don’t spend enough time training new staff, which leads to under-prepared clinicians and annoyed group practice owners. Ideally, the amount of time you should spend training them is two hours for every 20 minutes of a task. However, most of us don’t do this because we are too busy to offer that amount of time and support to new clinicians. We tend to think that because the tasks seem easy to us, they are easy to new therapists.
To address this, I recommend having a dedicated onboarding coordinator. This person can be new clinicians' go-to for training and ongoing support the first few months after hiring. It’s also a great way to promote a superstar clinician who knows their stuff.
Do you dread training new therapists? Feel like there’s just too much to go over and that no one reads your operations manual? I hear you! A great piece of feedback I received and implemented in my own group practice was switching to video training over (or in addition to) operations manuals.
The benefit of this is that you can have your current administrative staff and clinicians do the training videos. So as new people are hired, they can watch from the experts. Think of every task or action and make videos for them. We have several videos made by simply recording on our cell phones, showing clinicians how to scan to email from our printer, screen videos, complete opening and closing procedures in the office (such as turning on lamps and checking coffee stations), and more. Then, save the videos to a program like Teachable or a HIPAA-compliant file system like your practice's Library in TherapyNotes™ for new hires and current staff to watch when they need to.
Marketing your group practice is often essential. Although there are a few group practices that have the luck of natural growth, most need to implement at least a minimal marketing campaign. Marketing is something you can do yourself, but many group practice owners outsource this because of time-constraints or a lack of marketing know-how. A virtual assistant, marketing company, or in-house marketing person can all provide this service for you.
Another way to delegate marketing is by having different people provide different marketing services. For example, I have someone who does Facebook ads for me and another company that does Google ads. You can also find one marketing firm that can provide several marketing methods for you through different departments in their company.
5. Human resources (HR)
This one is often ignored and unfortunately becomes a haphazard implementation of HR support by the group practice owner. Be careful not to ignore this, though, because HR is a crucial part of supporting your staff. HR includes aforementioned responsibilities like training and onboarding as well as the implementation of staff benefits, making sure staff documents are organized and up-to-date, fielding staff complaints or concerns, and making sure the staff and business are cared for and following company protocols. You can hire an HR company or bring one in-house. As an example, Gusto, a company many of us use for payroll, also has an HR package.
If you're new to delegating, some of the first things group practice owners tend to delegate are billing, reception and answering phones, marketing, social media management, and payroll. These tend to be tasks that can be delegated to a virtual assistant, another company, or someone in-house. There are dozens of helpful virtual assistants that can help group practices with these tasks. To find someone that fits your group practice needs, start asking other group practice owners for suggestions.
Delegating not only provides you with much-needed support, but it can also free up your time to do the things that your business needs while providing growth opportunities for your staff. What can you delegate?* The content of this post is intended to serve as general advice and information. It is not to be taken as legal advice and may not account for all rules and regulations in every jurisdiction. For legal advice, please contact an attorney.