Don’t Let One Bad Apple Spoil the Practice
A member of your staff is doing non-work related tasks during business hours. It might be surfing the internet, making personal phone calls, or running errands during assigned work time. Doesn’t really matter what the distraction is - he/she isn’t doing what you’re paying them to do!
In the U.S., an estimated 750 billion dollars a year is ‘wasted’ by employees at work. And studies have shown that there is a direct correlation with the amount of time people “waste” at work and their commitment to your practice.
Research has found that when the level of engagement increases just 1%, the likelihood that an employee will waste time at work decreases 5%. This equates to nearly 2 extra weeks of work per year. In contrast, when the level of engagement decreases 1%, the likelihood that an employee will waste time at work increases 4%.
No great surprise. Workers who are fully engaged are much more likely to behave in ways that benefit your practice.
The single best measure you can take to insure good staff is to hire conscientious people. Employees who are carefully screened for positive work attitudes are significantly more likely to be fully engaged. This leads to more positive relationships with your patients, more harmonious interactions between staff, and greater practice profitability.
As the dental leader, your job is to set clear objectives and hold people accountable. This is as important as "soft" leadership skills, such as empowerment, coaching and mentoring. Give employees the authority they need to do the job they're paid for. If you bombard them with petty rules, you'll prevent them from doing their job and increase your costs at the same time. Empowerment is a simple idea anyone can understand. You don’t need a slew of techniques or theories to do it. Here’s how a good leader presents a winning choice to a bad apple.
Once you have had this discussion, document it and put your notes in the employee’s personnel file. If it’s necessary to have a second conversation about poor performance, be sure to have the employee sign the written warning. Then empower the employee to create his/her own destiny. Their actions will signal their "choice". Show support. Reward them for progress, or release them from a situation that neither party is happy with.
It’s never easy to let someone go, but it is the right thing to do if that's the employee’s "choice". By following the above guidelines, your team will respect you for fair and decisive leadership. And your employee cart will be in apple-pie order again.
Dr. Haller is available to coach you to higher levels of performance in your practice. Contact her at email@example.com.
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