Recruiting and Hiring

The willing and able employee

I have found that employees who are willing AND able are the best employees to have and they will literally make you smile.

It is important to be able to identify willingness and ability in an employee and also to be able to know how to spot when someone is only one or the other.

Willingness is pretty easy to spot:

  • These employees do what you need and they only ask for direction when they need to know more detail or specifics.
  • They want to get things done. They will work to get things done.
  • They ask for more, they want to learn, they are eager.

Someone who is unwilling (in their job) will show you their unwillingness through their inaction or they share their objections to simple tasks. They don’t try very hard and often look like they don’t want to be there.  When something needs to be done they may be off hiding in another room or find a reason that they cannot get it done.  They are not contributing to the well-being or growth of the practice.

As my husband Mike says – unwilling people are ‘doing time’. They get up day after day and go to a job where they try to do the bare minimum and get paid for it. Their work ethics are horrible!

These people can make others on your team unmotivated and wear you down. You will find yourself doing tasks that are not your own due to someone like this. Someone who is ‘doing time’ at your front desk or in your billing department will cause you harm and unless you have a ton of time to supervise them – you will lose patients and money and feel like all you do is eval after eval without the gains you are expecting!

Ability is being able to do the task or tasks necessary without needing reminders or hand-holding.

  • Ability relies on 2 things: skill and aptitude

Skill comes from the employee being well trained in their position. Ensuring that your front office reps and managers understand their responsibilities and have the skills and training to carry them out is key. If we don’t set them up to succeed, they will fail. This is where PPAC can help.

Aptitude is the ability to complete tasks correctly and efficiently without requiring reminders or direction. Given directions the first time, someone with a high aptitude can carry them out easily and correctly.

Someone with a high aptitude still requires training and well laid out expectations so they know what they should be doing.

Someone with a low aptitude will make you feel like you are banging your head against the wall over and over because no matter how many times you train them they just cannot do what you need. Trust me on this – I have been there.

A low aptitude will present like this: the person has been trained, but cannot reproduce the task correctly. Given written instructions they might be able to reproduce the task but it will take them longer than expected costing you hours of lost time and production.  Someone with a low aptitude will have shoddy work and there will often be repeated errors or miscalculations.


In our clinic we only hire staff who are both willing AND able. If they are not both, we will not hire them. If they come on board and begin to show an unwillingness to do the expected tasks, we will follow a set plan to root out the unwillingness and in most cases will terminate the employee.


Having someone who is willing and able is a huge asset for you and your company!  They CAN get it done and they WILL get it done; whatever the task is. They make little to no errors in their work and are fast learners. They often will take initiative; hence these are your dream employees!

The only thing they need from you is good training so they understand what to do and how to do it effectively; then they will help you go places.

PPAC offers training programs for front office reps and managers to ensure that your private practice is not losing patient visits due to inefficiency or lack of organization at the front desk. If you’re interested in learning more about our basic-training program, email me at dee@privatepracticeadministrativeconsulting.com to schedule your free consultation.