Maintaining a Caring Practice Culture
Joanie Davis of Davis Family Hearing was not a seasoned business expert when she decided to open her own practice, but what she did know was that she wanted to treat her patients the way they deserved to be treated. This meant taking her time, seeing patients of all ages, and administering specialized tests and services if necessary. Thus, Davis Family Hearing was born!
Today Joanie has learned so much about what it means to be a business owner and how to create an environment where team members and patients alike can feel comfortable and cared for. We sat down with Joanie to talk company culture, the hiring process, and what qualities are the most important in a team member.
“Care is the number one quality I look for in my employees. I want somebody who can sit in a room with a patient and not be thinking about what’s going on in their lives and be totally focused in on what that patient is experiencing.”
Joanie Davis, Audiologist and Owner
Q&A with Dr. Joanie Davis, Audiologist and Owner
1Tell us a little bit about your practice in the culture you want to create for your employees.
I want everybody to be happy all the time, but I think we all know that that is not always possible. The reality of it is we’re all at work a whole lot more than we’re at home. I want my employees to be able to enjoy being at work. I want them to know that they make a positive difference in patients’ lives and other employees’ lives. There’s no greater sense of fulfillment than knowing that you’re making a difference and that you have a purpose. That’s what I strive for in the culture at my office, but that can only be accomplished with teamwork. I have an extreme focus on teamwork right now and it’s really enjoyable to watch the employees come together to a common goal and help each other out.
2What are some of the most important qualities someone in the hearing healthcare field should have?
Care is the number one quality I look for in my employees. I want somebody who can sit in a room with a patient and not be thinking about what’s going on in their lives and be totally focused in on what that patient is experiencing. They need to have empathy for others around them.
Also, teamwork. We’re all in this together and it takes every single position in this company to create the best patient experience possible.
Lastly, critical thinking, I really enjoy employees who can think outside of the box and not just wait for me to tell them what to do, but to come up with creative ideas on their own and be proud of those.
3What are some of the biggest challenges than for today’s audiology practices when you are trying to hire somebody?
When you’re going to fill a position, you have to ask yourself important questions. Do you want to hire a new graduate? Or somebody who’s more experienced? Both come with their own challenges. Sometimes someone who has worked at another facility for years has strong opinions about the way that things should run. This may mean they are less likely to be open-minded to change.
With greener employees, you have the opportunity to mold them from the bottom up. However, newer employees often end up consumed with worry that they’re doing something wrong. This means they miss a lot of the subtle nuances of what patients say. For example, if a patient makes a comment about something emotional, they make gloss over it instead of addressing it so they can move on with effective treatment.
So the newer employees do take a lot of energy skill-wise, but the more experienced ones take more energy to encourage out-of-the-box thinking.
4What advice then would you give someone who’s looking to add to their team?
I have one phrase that I have heard from multiple CQ Partners business advisors: “Fire quickly and hire slowly.” If I lost somebody in previous year, I would want to replace them immediately. This is how I ended up being overstaffed when I first joined CQ Partners. Now, my payroll is half of what it was this time last year and we are up substantially for the year in sales. Now people are happier and busier. When you’re busy, you don’t have time to think about things that don’t matter and complain. My advice is to see what your employees can do before you add on. Then you’ll know exactly who you need to add to the team.
5How has CQ Partners helped you add to your team?
When I joined CQ Partners, I knew I had a lot of problems… I just didn’t know what they were. I felt like I was chasing my tail constantly trying to correct employee behaviors. I wasn’t understanding why they weren’t getting it. My wonderful business advisors and training from CQ Partners taught me that I had the wrong people on my team.
Before, people would drop off when change happened. I was beating my head against the wall because they didn’t care, but neither of us did anything to change it. So what motivation did they have to do what I asked them to do? We went through a process of determining our vision and hiring people with the same mindset. Now that we have a very clear vision of where we’re going in our company, it’s easier to hire people.
6How has your hiring process changed?
I used to just throw out an ad and interview a ton of people. But one of my favorite parts about CQ Partners is the recruiting department. My recruiter knows what I want. Shoutout to Jason! He does a fabulous job. He does all the pre-interviews, job postings, and resume screenings. I have just hired two people that I don’t think I ever would have found.
Now I have so much extra time on my hands because I am no longer spending a lot of time putting time and energy to employees who were not going to change. And now that I have employees who are like-minded and see the vision, I have a whole lot more time to do what my job is!