When I start working with a new client, I am often approached for my opinion about a “problem” team member who the owner or manager think the office would be better off without. My first choice is always to try to train an existing employee rather than replace them.
The cold, hard fact is that replacing a team member costs $8,000, this figure stems from the cost of advertising the position, time spent recruiting, onboarding the new team member, training from other team members, having to repair missteps with patients and clinically everything slows down which costs production as well.
I want to help you add $8,000 to your bottom line by helping you keep an existing employee.
Very often we make the decision to let a team member go as we don’t want to deal with them not fitting into our office. Dentally experienced team members are far too precious today to let someone go without first putting effort into trying to keep them. I want to provide you with some quick tips for different scenarios to help a team member “fit” in:
- First and foremost, for all team members they should know your expectations for them and have accountability built into their position. No one can know what you expect without these parameters put in place through current job descriptions, written performance goals and an updated office policy manual. You can’t expect team to live up to standards without clearly defining them.
- Take the time to set weekly or biweekly meetings where it can be discussed with the team member, one on one, what went well in the past two weeks and what could have improved. You can always start the meeting with, “On a scale of 1 to 10 how do you think it has been going since our last meeting?” You always want to be sure that these meetings don’t become personal attacks and you could frame your concerns with the phrase. “What didn’t work for me ……..” and ensure that praise comes just as easily in the form of “I thought ________, ________ and ________ went really well.” Specific examples to refer to for the feedback always work best, try to keep notes so that can provide them during the meeting.
- If you find that you have a team member who is being a “pot stirrer” and causing problems amongst the rest of their team then you need to deal with this directly and let them know that you have a zero tolerance policy of negative talk or gossiping in the office. State your policy of supporting each other positively, if there is a problem deal then please directly with the other person instead of involving others who weren’t a part of the situation and if necessary, have the office manager or you mediate between the team members. None of us like these sticky situations but dealing with them head on and in a timely manner will decrease them and show the team that you live by your messaging.
- If clinical skills are the problem, then offer more training support from a senior staffer, provide photos for set up and provide written protocols as some people learn through seeing and some learn through hearing.
- If an administrator is not performing as you would like, then offer more training, every software company has online training available. If it is a problem with verbiage with patients, then provide scripts with a few examples of how you would want scenarios to be dealt with. If it is keeping on task, then provide a daily checklist to be submitted.
I know that all of the above tips are a part of your organizational health that you would rather hand off to your Office Manager or ignore completely. I want you to be a dentist with a profitable practice and I want to help you get there with your team.