Hiring a new team member is a big decision. You want to ensure you’re ready for the commitment before taking the plunge. But how do you know when you’re ready? Here are five questions to ask yourself BEFORE you start looking for an additional speech pathologist to join your team.
How many clients will they see each week?
As a speech pathologist, you are always looking for ways to improve the quality of care you provide to your clients. One way to do this is to recruit new team members who can help you help more people. But how do you know how many clients your new team member should see each week?
There are a few factors to consider when making this decision. First, you need to think about the Speech Pathologist’s clinical experience. If they are new to the field, they may not be able to handle as many clients as an experienced Speech Pathologist. Second, you need to consider the Speech Pathologist’s key performance indicators (KPIs). These KPIs can be influenced by factors like the costs of hiring a new team member (see break-even question below) and the amount of administration support that is in place. New team members typically like to know their expected KPI (aka number of clients or % of billable time). This way they know what they are aiming for. It is important that you balance their KPI with clinical supervision and support to help give them the best opportunity to succeed clinically.
Taking all of these factors into consideration, it is unlikely that your new team member will be able to see as many clients as you. It is important to allow them time to settle into your team, learn your systems and familiarise themselves with your way of practising. However, if you carefully consider all of these factors when making your decision, you can be confident that you are making the best decision for your business.
How many clients on my waiting list are ready to see the new team member?
If you’re thinking of hiring a speech pathologist, one of the things you’ll want to know is that they will have enough appointment bookings to cover their wages and other associated costs. New team members can take weeks and sometimes months to build their caseload. Waiting lists can be a good indicator of demand, and can therefore give you some idea of how likely you are able to build a caseload for your newest team member.
Whether you’re just starting out, or you’ve been a business owner for a while, you know that building a client base is essential when you hire a new team member. On way to do that is to maintain a waiting list of potential clients. But it’s important to keep in mind that not everyone on your waiting list will be ready to book an appointment with your service. Your conversion rate (the percentage of people on your waiting list who book an appointment with you) will give you an idea of how many people on your waiting list are actually ready to start working with your new hire. For example, if you have 18 people on your waiting list but your conversion rate is 10%, that means only two of those people are actually ready to book an appointment with you. So when you’re recruiting new team members, you want to make sure you have enough people on your waiting list to guarantee that the new team member will be able to earn their wage as they build up their clinical caseload.
Am I getting enough client enquiries each week to hire a new team member?
As a speech pathologist, one of the most important things you can do to ensure the success of your business is to maintain a consistent flow of genuine enquiries each week. This will help you to gauge whether or not your business is ready to hire and will also allow you to plan your marketing efforts accordingly. Sometimes, if a waitlist is too long, people may stop referring to you and this can affect your ability to build up your new team member’s caseload.
This is why it is good to maintain a digital and traditional marketing presence. Digital marketing includes activities like sharing tips for your clients on social media. Traditional media marketing includes visiting local family doctors, and other professionals who typically refer to your services. Consistent digital and traditional marketing can help avoid this and ensure that you have a consistent number of enquiries each week.
Do I know my break-even?
Running a small business is no easy feat. In addition to managing day-to-day operations, you also have to keep a close eye on your finances. As a speech pathologist, it’s important to be financially literate. One key metric is your “breakeven.” This is the number of clients you need to see in order to make enough money to cover your expenses. Your break-even informs you if you can afford to pay a person’s wage while they are building up their caseload. For example, your breakeven may be 10 clients. Therefore, when your new team member is seeing 10 clients you know you are meeting your breakeven. But if they continue to only see 9 clients for a long time, the hire might not be feasible. Breakeven is an important number to know because it can help you make smart decisions about your business.
Can I afford to not see clients while I induct the new team member?
As a speech pathologist, you know that onboarding a new team member is essential for their success in the role. But can you afford to step back from your clients to give your new team member a memorable induction? This can be especially challenging if you’re short-staffed or running a tight ship financially. However, it’s important to remember that induction is an essential part of the onboarding process.
Take the time to induct your new team member properly and you’ll set them up for success in their role. Take time away from your clients to introduce your new team member to their clients. You are actually helping them become a more confident part of your team. They be more comfortable with the clients, and they’ll also have a better understanding of your clinic’s procedures and protocols. This will lead to better client outcomes, which will in turn lead to more referrals and repeat business. In the end, stepping back from your clients during induction is an investment that will pay off in the long run.
So if you can afford to step back from your clients for a little while, it’s definitely worth doing. Your new team member (and your business) will thank you for it!
These are only a few of the questions you should ask yourself before considering hiring another team member. It can be daunting to think about everything required to take on somebody new. However, if you do your research and plan accordingly, it can be a very smooth process! If you have any other questions or would like more business advice, feel free to join our Speechie Business Talk FB group. In the group, we discuss all things related to running a successful speech therapy private practice!
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