3.5.10 Issue #417 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague

Nancy Caudill
Senior Consultant
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The Bad Employee

This article is not about a particular practice, as I typically would write. You have probably either already experienced this topic and learned from your mistake, or you are experiencing it now but maybe don’t even know it. Ideally, you are reading this to avoid it from happening to you. What is it? The bad employee!

Great Employee Characteristics:
Your long-time chairside assistant moved away when her spouse was promoted to another state. It was a sad day and everyone cried on her last day. She was the best assistant you had ever worked with because:

  • She was only late for the morning meeting 5 days in 5 years
  • She was a team player, willing to help anyone in the office when she had a spare moment
  • She was trained by you and clinically skilled
  • The patients loved her because of her positive attitude
  • She always “had your back” and never whined
  • She participated in all the office functions with a smile
  • She said “please” and “thank you”
  • She was your “transportation director” and always knew where you were and where you needed to be

And now – it’s time to let the interviews begin! Because interviewing is your least favorite time-killer, when the 3rd resume arrived via email, you decided that this is the one. She has lived in the area for 6 years and has worked in 3 dental offices in town so she has a lot of experience. You call her and the answer machine says, “Hey you! This is Judy. Sorry you missed me. Leave me a message and maybe I will return your call if I like the sound of your voice.” Cute, you think to yourself. You leave a message to return your call.

Saturday afternoon you give Judy a call again.  Since you were sure that she was “the one” you have not reviewed the other 26 resumes that are on your desk.  Whew, she answers the phone. You introduce yourself, tell her that you are interested in having her come by the office on Monday at 5:15 and say good-bye. She was very excited to hear from you and is looking forward to meeting you. To make this story short – you hire her on the spot. No confirmations of previous employment, no working interview, simply, “you have the job.”

Now it’s Tuesday morning, 7:50 am, and no Judy.  The morning meeting starts without her.  At 8:05 she blows in, indicating that she didn’t realize that it would take so long to get there in the morning traffic. “I understand,” you respond.

For the next 6 months, Judy proves to be incapable of taking x-rays without cone-cutting them.  She is left-handed, making her chairside assisting awkward for you.  Hmmmmm… you forgot to ask her if she was left or right-handed.  She has arrived late for work on 8 difference occasions and has already missed 4 days of work for various “reasons.” Sharon, your now “right hand” assistant, is concerned that this new employee is not going to be a team-player and expresses to you her concern.  Actually, the remainder of your team expresses their concerns with you, as well.  It just doesn’t register with you that they may have a point.

Finally, your hygienist who has been with you for 9 years indicates that either Judy goes or she goes. She feels that Judy is a bad fit for the practice because:

  • She is often late and always has an “excuse”
  • She never has time to help others because she tends to “disappear” during the day with her cell phone
  • She solicits others to take her x-rays because hers are unacceptable
  • She is not dependable, having already missed so many days of work
  • She is sarcastic and rude to other team members

After another painful 3 months and 5 more missed days of work and 8 days of tardiness, you dismiss her. Back to square one!

Don’t let this happen to you. If you have an employee right now that reminds you of Judy, let her go. Your existing employees will be so proud of you and you will be much happier.  If you are looking for a new employee, do your homework.  Review all the applications, check with previous employers for verification of employment, look for “red flags” such as multiple employers within a short time period, conduct a working interview, give her a personality and ability test, allow your team to take her to lunch and see what their feelings are about her. And most of all – LISTEN to what they are telling you.  Your staff wants a happy, well-adjusted team player as much as you do. Don’t waste time on the bad employee. Dismiss her and start again. There are many outstanding employees in the work force right now - you will find that right person if you don’t waste time on the bad ones!

If you would like more information on how McKenzie's Practice Enrichment Programs can help you IMPLEMENT proven strategies, email info@mckenziemgmt.com.

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