I’m always hearing people in business say they have a hard time finding good employees. Apparently, dedicated, productive, proactive team members are hard to find. I hear complaints about employees wanting to leave early, not wanting to go beyond their job description, not bringing ideas to the workplace and solely thinking about how to advance their own careers without supporting the business as a whole.
I am lucky to say that I don’t have that problem. In fact, the Madison Chamber of Commerce reintroduced the Extra Mile Award, a special award given to a Madison employee who exemplifies extraordinary service. I’m so proud to report that my office manager, Andrea Ceresa, received the award, along with two other chamber members from Tons of Toys and Downtown Salon.
The award was presented at the Chamber’s year end party at Hamilton Park and was expertly organized by Karen Meyer, Executive Director of the Chamber. As Karen read some of the nominations that were received for Andrea, I secretly smiled, because I felt that she was getting public recognition for what I have known for years. She is a team member (not just an employee), who goes out of her way to support the practice and its patients. She is the face and voice of Adams Dental who welcomes patients to the practice and then continues to serve their needs. Nominations from patients included comments like:
- “She goes the extra mile by saying your name.”
- “What makes Andrea remarkable is her always upbeat and energetic demeanor and the way she puts a patient at ease and makes them feel as though they are not just important and special, but among friends.”
- “She is patient and kind – makes you want to get to the dentist!”
- “She and her staff run one of the finest organizations. Her sense of service is unmatched and her joy is infectious. I was startled last week when I had left a message on the answering machine late Friday and received a return call on Saturday morning. The office manager is a pivotal position in any organization. He or she sets the tone and the expectations for the entire office and business. I have seen none better than Andrea Ceresa.”
- “Andrea was my first point of contact in the office. She was both friendly and especially knowledgeable regarding all aspects of my insurance. Over the years my admiration for her has increased as well as my appreciation of her humor. Her professionalism and genuine concern for the patients in Dr. Adams’ office is unparalleled.”
- “She knows every single patient’s name and remembers everything about them. When she sees patients out in public, which is quite often, she always stops and speaks with them as if they were friends and not a customer.”
- “She has a genuine heart and sincerely cares for her patients and staff”
I sometimes wonder how I’m so lucky to have such excellent staff and I think it boils down to the old adage: “Hire for attitude, train for skill“. Certainly, for every position, there are skills that are necessary, but before looking to see if someone can use Excel, why not explore what makes them tick. I like to find out about the person’s personal vision for themselves and see what their overall attitude is. I can teach anyone to answer the phone, but I can’t teach everyone to do it with warmth and passion. If you’re looking for an employee, I suggest looking beyond their education and their past work experience; instead, look for a person who can support your vision with the same energy, passion and commitment that you have. If you look for the right things, you may end up with someone like Andrea, who, as a patient remarked to me recently “makes you look good!”