The First 90 Days
Doctors, this article is written to assist you with dismissing a new hire. Please note that this is not being written from a legal standpoint, as I am not an employment attorney. Michael Moore, Director of McKenzie’s HR Solutions, will be happy to answer your legal questions.
The most difficult task in owning your own business is “hiring and firing.” Many of you wait until the last minute to run the ad, even though your Schedule Coordinator told you 3 months ago that she was getting married and moving to Dallas. Now it is the day before her last day and you haven’t hired anyone yet! I am going to skip over all the steps involved in the hiring process, as we have addressed this issue more than once and Sally has written How To Hire The Best Dental Employee. Let’s go right to the part where you are going to offer the position to an applicant.
Prior to Hiring, a simple bullet-point checklist should be implemented to review the benefits, salary, etc. It keeps you on track so you don’t offer benefits that you don’t mean to. Offer them a copy and keep a copy for yourself. Spend a few dollars and run a background check, especially if they are going to be handling money. I would recommend you run a credit report as well. They have already given you permission to do so, hopefully, when they completed their application for employment. If they don’t give you the okay, what does that tell you? And don’t forget to call their previous employers.
So, here you are with the potential new hire sitting across from you for the final interview and invitation to join your team. You have an employment manual ready for them to review over the next few days, along with an acknowledgement that they have read and understood it. If you have to re-negotiate the original information on the checklist, do so and edit it with their signature and a copy for their employment file.
I understand that most states are a “right to fire” or “at will” state. However, this doesn’t make it any easier for you to fire an employee - the state doesn’t send someone in to do the dirty work for you! Let’s talk about how to set the ground rules to make it easier for you to do this.
Now you may be saying that this is like having a “prenuptial” agreement. You are already assuming that you are going to fire this new employee. I am sure that you have made your decision based on the completion of your due diligence, but there is still no guarantee that this new employee is going to work out. There is also no guarantee that they are going to want to stay, either. So let’s make it easy for both parties to “pull the plug” if either of you are not happy with one another. Explain to the new employee how the 90-day Probationary Period works. I will preempt this by saying that this will probably not remove you from paying unemployment should they file after you dismiss them.
Typically, new employees are not eligible for most benefits during their Probationary Period, but this is up to you. If you have a retirement plan, there are usually guidelines that will determine when they are eligible to participate. I would also suggest that you not invest in uniforms for the new employee at this point, especially if they are embroidered with their name on them.
Here is the important part and an example of the script: “Susie, your first 90 days here are considered a Probationary Period. This means that if for any reason you feel our office is not a good fit for you, the hours are too long, the drive is too far, or my breath smells, you are not required to give a notice. Simply tell me that it is not going to work out and we will part as friends. This is also true for me. Should I feel that we are not going to be a good fit for whatever reason, I will indicate so, have your final paycheck ready and we will part as friends. Does this sound fair?”
Now why would I suggest that you have this conversation? Because IF you discover after a couple of weeks that your new hire is not going to work out, it makes the dismissal much easier for you. Here is the script: “Susie, as you recall when I hired you, we both agreed to the guidelines of the Probationary Period. Unfortunately, it appears that this isn’t going to work out. Thank you for your time with us and I wish you well. I have prepared your final paycheck. Do you have any personal belongings that you need to get?”
Don’t wait forever to do this. The longer you wait, the more the employee wonders why you waited so long. It is much easier to do it early on rather than later - trust me!Forward this article to a friend
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