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Laurie Hardison
Senior Consultant
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Be Prepared if an Employee Leaves
By Laurie Hardison, Senior Consultant

Employees decide to leave for many reasons. Maybe their spouse accepted a job in another state, or they’ve found another position that’s closer to home. No matter the reason, finding out an employee is moving on can be stressful – which is why it’s important to develop a plan before it happens. Putting systems in place will make this transition smoother for you and the rest of the team, and will help you avoid the many hiccups that often come when a key employee suddenly decides to quit.

So how can you prepare your practice for this inevitable situation? Here are a few tips.

Ask employees to create “must have” checklists. Chances are, you don’t know much about the daily activities that happen in the business area – so finding out an employee is quitting will likely leave you in panic mode, wondering how your practice will survive. To avoid this stressful situation, ask business employees to create a list of everything needed to effectively perform their job. Here’s what that list should include:

• Passcodes and log-ins for the computer, insurance websites and collection agencies.
• Computer back-up information.
• Written instructions on how to work all the various equipment in the business office, including the answering machine, printer/copier and scanner. It’s also important to have a list of repair contacts as well as suppliers for paper, toner and software support.
• A copy of all the stationery and other paper supplies that must be ordered periodically along with information about where these supplies are ordered from.

Ask employees to create “how to” checklists. While all the above items are important to keeping the business side of a practice running, you should also have a list of protocols that cover how various business procedures are performed. This should include how to:

• Generate weekly statements
• Generate insurance claims (e-claims and paper)
• Manage the recall system
• Keep patient records current (when to purge the inactive records)
• Manage accounts receivables
• Make appointments
• Run reports to complete monthly practice performance statistics
• Print routing slips
• Post payments
• Create a treatment plan from the computer  

To make this easy, I suggest creating a form for each task. Keep these forms in a 3-ringed notebook along with an example of each report when applicable, or establish a community office “Dropbox” account and store them on the cloud. This will not only help you survive when an employee leaves, the checklists can serve as great training tools for whoever takes over the role.

Don’t put it off. Now is the time to ask employees to create these checklists. After they put in their two weeks notice, it will be nearly impossible for them to develop these lists as well as complete their other tasks. If you do find yourself in this situation, consider asking the employee to stay after hours or come in early to complete the lists, and then pay him or her for the extra time.

Instead of waiting until the last minute, ask employees to put together these checklists as they have time over the next two months. Make it clear you’re not expecting them to leave, but that the lists can be beneficial to the practice if there is ever an emergency.

Include the clinical team. I know I’ve mostly talked about the business team here, but it’s important to develop checklists for the clinical side of your practice as well. Ask your Clinical Coordinator to create both the “must have” and “how to” checklists. These should include protocol sheets for tray set-ups, sterilization, supply storage, inventory control and other tasks that are performed daily, weekly and monthly. Trust me, these lists will make your life so much easier when one of your clinical team members decides to leave.

The thought of losing key team members can be stressful, and is something I’m sure you would rather not have to deal with. Unfortunately, it’s inevitable. Team members will move on, and you’ll have to replace them. These checklists will help make that transition much smoother, and will even make it easier for you to train the right person once you have him or her on board.

Need more help creating these checklists? Please feel free to contact McKenzie Management. We’ll give you the guidance you need to successfully develop lists to keep your practice on the right track, even when you lose employees.

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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