Fire problem employees before they damage your practice
The thought of firing a team member makes most dentists uneasy—which is why problem employees tend to stay on practice payrolls much longer than they should. Rather than address the situation, dentists convince themselves it will get better, and that the employee will eventually start living up to expectations. Unfortunately, that usually doesn’t happen.
While dealing with problem employees is never easy, it’s a necessary part of your role as the practice leader. Their lackluster performance or poor attitude will only serve to damage the practice, hurting team morale, practice production numbers and ultimately your bottom line.
Most of your team members want to do their part to move the practice forward, but from time to time you’ll find yourself with employees who do nothing but hold the practice back. These are the employees who come to work late every day, or who have clearly demonstrated they don’t have the skills necessary to perform their job. Disciplining employees who can’t show up on time and offering additional training to team members who aren’t meeting expectations might help, but, unfortunately, there are times when the best thing you can do is part ways.
Yes, firing an employee can be difficult, but once it’s over, you’ll be glad you did. Team conflict will subside while your office becomes more productive. The work environment will be much less stressful, and you’ll be able to hire someone who is right for the role.
But how do you truly know when it’s time to fire an employee? Here are a few common issues that may lead to a dismissal:
- The employee refuses to follow established office policies
This list is by no means all-inclusive, but you get the idea. Employees who exhibit these behaviors are hurting your practice, and that’s something you simply can’t ignore.
Put a system in place
The process should take 60 to 90 days (unless the employee’s behavior is so damaging it requires immediate action) and everything that happens should be clearly documented. This timeframe gives employees the opportunity to make the necessary changes to avoid being let go.
To start the discipline process, talk with the team member about what the problem is and what changes need to be made. Make the requested changes both verbally and in writing. Work with the employee to develop an agreement that clearly spells out those changes, and then make sure both of you sign it before you file it away.
If the employee makes the necessary changes, great. There’s no need to terminate employment and you now have a more productive team member who’s ready to shine.
You’re only as strong as your team
Interested in speaking to Sally about your practice concerns? Email firstname.lastname@example.org