4 Important Tips for Letting Go of Your Dental Staff

Letting go of your staff can be a difficult issue.

Let’s be honest, we live in a very litigious society, and while this may not be a huge hassle for big corporations with huge budgets, for small business owners it can be an absolute minefield.

If you are not careful with how you handle certain situations, you can unfortunately, be held liable for a number of legal violations, which can negatively impact the health of your business.

Whether you are looking to sell your practice or not, a healthy ecology between staff members is vital for maintaining consistent revenue. This is why in some instances, though it may be difficult, you may need to fire a member of your staff for the good of the practice as a whole.

Here are some practices to follow if you want to handle the situation carefully and to ensure you don’t end up in a legal battle further down the road.

Don’t rush into the decision

Firing someone on instinct and emotion is never good for any party involved. Before you decide to let a member of your staff go, take a second to consider all the factors.

For example, what are the repercussions of firing this person on your daily operations, your staff and your reputation in the community? Is this person’s behavior detrimental to the long-term health of the practice? Do you need to make a larger point to your staff members?

Taking a moment to think things through and not act on impulse will help you make the right decision.

Consult a lawyer

Before letting go of any members of your staff, consult with a lawyer so you are crystal clear on the rights of both parties in the given situation. Remember that it’s not necessarily what has happened that is important when it comes to a court of law, it’s what can be proven, so you need to be careful.

Give adequate warning

Both the person who is being let go and other members of staff will look for consistency in your behavior. If there have been ample warnings about their behavior or incompetence, then they’re much less likely to view your actions as inconsistent and it won’t compromise your trust as a leader. Often it is not the firing that causes people to retaliate negatively, it is the shock or feelings of injustice.

Keep in mind that if you fire a member of staff unexpectedly, this will cause anxiety amongst other members of staff. They might begin to wonder if the same could happen to them, and an anxious working environment is a lot harder to run than a relaxed and friendly one.

Conduct the final meeting with dignity

 No one likes to be fired, but even more so than that, no one likes to be disrespected. Make sure the meeting you have in which you notify the employee of their termination is done at an appropriate time and in an appropriate place. Don’t rush the meeting, schedule it in advance and give it ample time, and when you’re explaining your decision do so clearly and focus on the facts – highlight the overall mission of the practice, and not your personal opinion or feelings towards that person.

Letting go of staff can be a difficult task. Make sure you don’t get caught with legal issues that can damage the value and profitability of your practice by following the above protocol.

Have you had any experience with having to let dental staff go? Let us know in the comments.


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