10.9.15 Issue #709 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter
 


Nancy Caudill
Senior Consultant
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You Are Letting Me Go?
By Nancy Caudill, Senior Consultant

As an employer, it is never easy to dismiss an employee. Many of you would prefer the employee simply quit and save you the pain and suffering involved from this act, while at the same time, the employee is often of the mindset that they will simply wait it out until you finally “pull the plug”. 

I have always been of the opinion that employers don’t fire employees; employees fire themselves if the employer/employee relationship is adequate. I would like to review a couple of areas that I feel make this relationship adequate. Please keep in mind that I am not an employment law attorney, so I am bringing this to you strictly from a practice management point of view.

Expectations
Many dentists do not have sufficient job descriptions to outline what is expected of employees. During the hiring process, it is vital to have clear guidelines of what is expected of the new employee. Your ad says “Business Manager”. What exactly does that mean? The job description should be in writing and the applicant should review the list with you. But this means that you must actually have a job description, opposed to something generic saying, “I would like for you to run the front office.” The job description should be a part of the new employee’s personnel file.

Professional Training
No matter how many years of experience your new team member has in the dental field, every office is different. Your new hire may be used to a variety of protocols and systems. Provide professional training based on the employee’s written job description so new hires can perform at their maximum potential. This training (date, time and objective) should be documented in the new employee’s personnel file.

Frequent Performance Reviews
Take the time to sit down for a performance review with your new hire after the first week or two and see how things are going. Ask if they are clearly grasping their responsibilities and if the training is sufficient for their best performance. Keep an “open door policy” and invite your new employee to come to you with any concerns or needs. Note any conversations that are conducted regarding the employee’s improvement or lack of improvement along the way.

Should there be roadblocks with the employee’s ability to learn the tasks related to the position, it should be made clear what the expectations are. A related timetable should be presented, as well as the consequences should the new employee not be able to perform to your expectations. The dialogue might go something like this:

“Susan, I have enjoyed having you on the team. You always come to work with a smile on your face and you have a great attitude. My notes indicate that quite a bit of time has been spent by Kathy reviewing with you how to post insurance checks in our practice management software and you are still struggling with this. Since this task is part of your job description, it is vital that you are able to learn these steps. I will review your progress in two weeks and if your ability to perform this task is not adequate, I am sorry to say that this position is not a good fit for you in our office. Is there any additional assistance or training that I can provide for you?”

The expectation has now been established and Susan understands that she has two weeks to learn how to post insurance checks or she may face dismissal. A written warning should be signed by the doctor and the employee stating the concern, the offer to extend additional training and assistance, and the consequence.

The Dismissal Day
No dentist enjoys this day. You and your team have spent time and energy interviewing and training Susan. She is a ray of sunshine at the front desk but she simply has not learned her tasks within a reasonable amount of time. This is not a surprise to Susan either. She knows that you have provided adequate training and have been very supportive of her. It is unfortunate that her strengths are not as a business manager, and you have no other positions available in the office for her to apply for.

Your discussion with her reveals her lack of progress and she is aware of it. There are no surprises. This doesn’t make it any easier, but you can now sever the working relationship opposed to dragging it out and causing dissention between Susan and the team members training her. Wish her well and have her final paycheck available. Remember to ask for the key to the office and other specifics that are in your employee manual relating to employee dismissal protocols. She leaves knowing that she gave it her best and you feel good knowing that you have given her every opportunity to learn the job.

If you would like more information on how McKenzie's Consulting Coaching Programs can help you implement proven strategies, email info@mckenziemgmt.com

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