Hiring anyone can be challenging, but when you’re hiring someone to do clinical or caregiving work, the stakes can be very high. The helping professions often are very challenging and can be risky. It can be life and death sometimes.
So, you really need to be able to trust someone you’re hiring. Especially if they’re going to represent your company while doing this type of work (and potentially even work under you license).
What should you consider when you’re ready to hire helping pros?
Here are some questions to ask yourself before jumping in.
Do you have sufficient work to pay for this person’s services?
Often, helping professionals become successful and then get overbooked. They realize that they can either turn people away or grow, so they hire another professional to take on their overflow. That’s great, but it isn’t usually sufficient. It’s important to make sure that you’ll be able to generate enough business to provide enough work (and enough income) for your new team member.
I’ve seen too many professionals hire on new team members and then quickly lose them because they weren’t able to do this.
- Failing to sufficiently increase marketing efforts to generate more clients. You’ll be eating for two, so to speak.
- Keeping and adding clients to their own overbooked schedule before giving clients to the new team member.
- Not being clear with the new team member about any responsibility for generating their own business.
Make sure you’re clear on all of this, so you can give new hires reasonable expectations. Clean up your side of the street – get ready to shift your caseload and budget for marketing campaigns. Also, make sure that you include this piece as a part of the discussion during the hiring process. No one should have any surprises.
Are you ready to transition into management?
When you bring on another helping pro into your business, you’ll need to make the transition to being a boss (or at least a supervisor). Management and oversight take time and skill. This can mean shedding your own client work and spending extra time in supervision, as well as being available for communication and accountability. It also means putting systems and processes in place (if you haven’t already). At this point, you’re going to be asking someone else to do what you’ve been doing.
When your systems or tasks have been mostly in your head, it’s often difficult to communicate those instructions to someone else. Clarify for yourself what you would want this new team member to do and create written guidelines (a handbook would be awesome) on how to do it.
Do you want an experienced helping professional or someone who is new to the field?
You may be thinking – I’d obviously want ___________. I couldn’t even try to predict what you’d say, because it’s really not that obvious. There are pros and cons to each and it makes sense to consider all the angles.
New or Pre-Licensed Professionals:
These helpers often have a lot of energy and are ready to learn. They also require a lot of training and oversight. Further, if you’re in a licensed profession (like therapy), you may have to bring them on as employees (rather than contractors – see below) and complete paperwork and supervision for them to work legally with your clients. These workers are newer to the field, so they command a lower hourly rate, but will probably incur additional costs and liability that an experienced professional may not.
Experiences or Licensed Professionals:
These helping professionals require little supervision and know what they’re doing. They may be hard to train, however. They might want to continue doing things the way they always have. So, you may have to navigate through some difficult conversations, rather than training them how to do the work in the first place. In addition, you’ll need to pay them more as they have more experience and can command a higher rate. They will be representing your company, so you’ll need make sure they’re representing you well. But, they will be working under their own license, so you’ll be taking on less of the clinical liability.
Are you hiring contractors or employees (and do you know what to pay them)?
These questions are pretty complex, so I’m going to give you just the most basic overview. Please consult with an attorney or your professional organization to make sure you’re clear on the distinctions here.
When you hire someone as an employee, you’re required to follow all of the relevant employment laws. That often includes a minimum wage requirement, laws around sick time, and many others. Further, you will pay them for their work and you’ll pay taxes. You might consider paying benefits as well to make this set up appealing, which should go into your calculations. In some professions (psychotherapy is one), you have to hire pre-licensed professionals as employees. You don’t have a choice.
Hiring someone as a contractor limits some of the requirements related to employment law, but it also limits the control you have over the team member’s work and schedule. That means you can pay them differently, but they are also free to work for others or for themselves. A contractor doesn’t require benefits or sick time, so you’ll need to think about how you’d like to make the pay for a job like this appealing. This is pretty complicated, so I will again remind you to check in with your local laws and seek professional guidance on which type of hire you want to make and how to do it correctly.
Are you qualified?
When you take on a helping professional as an employee (or even as a contractor), you need to make sure that you’re following any licensing or certification guidelines. For example, Master’s Level Therapists in California require someone to have been licensed for 2 years and then to take a course to be able to supervise pre-licensed clinicians. And the laws often change. Caregivers, treatment facilities, etc. all have their own licensing and staffing requirements. Make sure you know what your requirements are, and that you’ve met them, before you sign a contract with someone to work for you. The liability can be huge if you’ve not crossed all T’s and dotted all I’s.
Make sure you’re ready or you’ll have folks come in and fail. New team members will struggle to succeed unless you give them sufficient work (and income) as well as the tools and oversight to do it well.
To learn more about Katie’s tips for hiring join her in a free webinar on Friday, June 30th, 2017 at 10am. Click here to register.
Want to talk this decision through? I’m here if you need it. Please don’t hesitate to reach out: firstname.lastname@example.org or 424.241.3205
** Please note that I’m not an attorney and these thoughts should not take the place of legal advice. So, make sure to evaluate your own options and requirements within your state, county, and city before you decide what to do. **