Understanding What it Means to Hire Slow and Fire Fast

I have a love/hate relationship with this advice. There is much validity to this statement but I feel like the simplicity of this leaves much room for misinterpretation and confusion that can slip in. I wish this statement had a caveat or a footnote that would shed some more insight.

The "hire slow, fire fast" mantra doesn't necessarily mean you have to take months to bring someone on board, or that you fire team members based on knee-jerk reactions or after the volcano of emotions has erupted. But as a business owner; finding, hiring and retaining the right team can either make or break your business! The important chemistry component, the makeup of your team can drive your practice forward, provide outstanding customer service, and help your business reach new heights.

Making a bad hire can really tarnish your practice reputation, which is why you need to take your time when it comes to finding the right person.

Five reasons for hiring slow:

  1. By hiring too fast, you may end up making some BIG hiring mistakes, or a situation that former Apple executive Guy Kawasaki terms "the bozo explosion." According to Kawasaki, "When you're in a rush to fill openings to respond to growth, you make mistakes. Unfortunately, many practices adopt the attitude of, 'hire any intelligent body, or we'll lose business--we'll sort everything out later." BIG MISTAKE!
  2. It is critical to make sure people fit in with the rest of your team. Understanding what makes up your current office culture and what your business growth plans can help with the hiring process. This formula will help you understand if these candidates are either a perfect fit or a lousy fit for your culture.
  3. You may find a way to avoid filling that position altogether. For example, if you take the hiring process slow, your current team could evolve to take on the responsibilities you were looking to add.
  4. You can be more certain about making a legitimate offer if you have taken the time to vet the candidate completely. This person may just be an amazing actor—they can look good on paper or answer your interview questions perfectly but in reality, maybe a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Do your due diligence by doing both background checks and reference checks!
  5. Your team is everything. If you have the right team in place everything clicks together, projects get completed more efficiently, patients are happy and life just seems to flow much better! You don't need to spend more of your precious time dealing with drama.

But here is the caveat: taking “too long” to make a decision on a candidate means you could possibly lose out on this amazing candidate while they are waiting for you to make a decision. On average, top talent gets snatched up within 10 days of being in the job market. Waiting too long for you to "wait and see what else is out there", could make this hiring process much longer than it needs to be. That’s why understanding what the right candidate looks like for your office ahead of time will make this process much more efficient!

Five reasons for firing fast:

  1. The moment you think that person is not a good fit anymore, you are probably six weeks too late. Take action to remedy the situation, understand where things went wrong and WHY! This will help you identify any “leaking pipes” (a.k.a systems and structures) and will help you be proactive to avoid this from happening again!
  2. Don't procrastinate, because everyone around you will begin to wonder why this negative behavior is being allowed to continue to happen. They begin to feel underappreciated and start thinking: “well if Suzy gets rewarded for doing the bare minimum…why should I keep working as hard as I have been?” Then you will notice their drive and work ethic will begin to decline! Your A player will now turn into a C player. A bad employee can poison the rest of the team--the longer they stay around, the more their negativity affects others.
  3. Your patients think you are building a world-class team and maybe you promote this on your website or on your advertisements. Don't disappoint them by holding onto someone who is a bad fit or worse who can begin to tarnish the reputation you have worked so hard to build!
  4. Your team is only as strong as its weakest link. You have likely heard this before, but it is just as true now as it was then. Your weakest link is pulling the rest of the team down.
  5. Stop those sleepless nights! The amount of stress that is associated with these HR issues has to stop! It is taking your focus away from growing your business and providing top-notch treatment to your patients!

But here is the caveat: avoid those HR issues by establishing an effective HR program to make sure you have set up very clear expectations with employees so they know what they have to do to be successful.

If they can't achieve those goals then they need to be given a warning. In fact, every single time an employee is "talked to," you need to document it as the business owner, or manager. Take time to understand what you can do to help them be successful at their job can make a HUGE difference! Is there more training, resources or tools they need so they can perform at their best?

Hopefully, this will resolve any issues but if a second warning is needed, explain that if they cannot do what has been asked by XX date, then your only option is to terminate them. Document that conversation, and then when you fire them to make sure you keep all documentation. If they come back at you with a legal claim after the fact, you will have some ammunition.


The bigger goal here is that you have set up an effective hiring practice that helps you avoid costly hiring errors. If you have taken the important step of setting the proper expectations for your new employees, the wrong people (the bad fits) ultimately end up quitting before you have to fire them.

But remember, there are steps you can take now to be proactive: understanding your growth plans will help you determine who you need to hire. Having your practice guidelines outlined will help you weed out the people who are a bad fit and could hinder your practice growth. Establishing effective HR systems will also protect you from those HR nightmares.


Top 5 Reasons Why Great Employees Quit

Picture this: It’s a warm and sunny day. It feels like the stars have aligned and you are having an AMAZING day– every patient showed up on time, the clinic is running smoothly, you & your team are converting every treatment proposed. You are feeling like you are on cloud nine! At the end of one of your top producing days, your lead assistant walks into your office and hands you her notice of resignation! Panic sets in…your heart sinks into your stomach…100 thoughts are running through your mind.

You stop and ask yourself:

BUT WHY?? How did this happen? Where did it go wrong?”

We've been there... it's a horrible feeling! By the time you reach this point, it is already too late to do anything about it!
Understanding why employees feel like it's time to leave your practice can help you avoid hearing those dreaded words..."I QUIT!"
5 TOP Reasons for Employee Turnover
  • Lack of Communication
    • As the leader of your team, you HAVE to be the one to direct your employees to a particular goal and provide them everything they require to get there! Not only does this improve productivity but provides a great work environment.
  • No Recognition
    • 82% of employees say that the lack of recognition towards their initiatives leads them to consider switching employers.
  • Micromanagement
    • The best employees find a job satisfying when they have the freedom to make a decision about how to do their tasks and when their voice and suggestions are heard.
  • Bad Bosses
    • They say people quit not their jobs, but their bosses!
    • To have a toxic relationship with the person an employee reports to undermines the employee’s engagement, confidence, and commitment.
    • Employees don’t need to be friends with their employers but they need to have a relationship. The boss is too much of an integral part of their daily lives at work for an uncomfortable relationship.
  • Office Culture
    • Employees appreciate a work environment where management is accessible, communication is transparent, the direction is clear, and where Dentists/Managers are approachable.

DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU! A happy team is one of the GREATEST assets in your practice! Treat them well, engage them and invest in their personal growth and development.

Here is How to Start

  1. Ensure you have the RIGHT HR documents and systems in place
  2. Know the direction you want to take your practice in the next 5 years to develop your roadmap
  3. Have a whole team meeting to inform and engage your team and share your vision
  4. Start by scheduling your next performance review

If you pay attention to these 5 factors, you will reduce turnover and retain your most wanted employees. If not, you’ll be holding regular exit interviews and good-bye lunches. It’s expensive and time-consuming to recruit a new employee. Why not expend the effort necessary to retain the employees that you have already painfully recruited and hired?

8 HR Nightmares & How to Avoid Them

For some, chilling ghost stories are their guilty pleasures...something fun to watch on the weekends but horrifying HR nightmares are somethings that leave you breaking out in a cold sweat. Terrifying tales of lack of effective HR systems, irretrievable paperwork, and staffing shortages can cause many hours upon hours of headaches and hair pulling.

Luckily, when equipped with the right strategies, you can prevent these scenarios from becoming a recurring nightmare in your practice. Here are some common HR horror stories haunting countless Dental Offices along with tips on avoiding these crises.

Outdated Policies

Outdated policies and employee handbooks are a recipe for disaster. Even worse are policies that are inaccurate and not being followed. Handbooks and policies should be reviewed regularly by experienced HR professionals and/or legal counsel. Once the policies are in place, they should be communicated to employees and followed by everyone.

Failing to Document

Document properly and often. When issues arise in your daily work, document what is happening. If an employee is consistently late and you have warned them about this, document the tardiness as well as your counseling.

Just keep documentation centered on the facts and leave out your personal feelings. Keeping this information securely in the respective employee files for easy access and tracking.

Allowing an Employee To Become A Liability

Always be precise and thorough in documenting employee performance problems, violations, and complaints.  Expecting the problem to disappear on its own will never work; properly addressing employee problems is the best way to solve them.

Clear Job Descriptions

Make sure a job description for each position and employee in your practice. This job description should be clear and expresses expected duties.  Using terms with solid definitions and not concepts can make it easier to determine whether or not a candidate meets such requirements and makes performance reviews more straightforward in monitoring an employee’s abilities and tasks.

Delivering poor employee orientation experiences

New hires that encounter a poorly facilitated job orientation and onboarding & integration process can begin their journey on bad footing. Don’t spook your new employees with a less than stellar first impression of your practice. You want to prevent workforce zombies and foster engaged team members with an onboarding process that is fully comprehensive in terms of information-sharing, knowledge-building, and skills-training with regular check-ins in-between. When you make new employees feel valued from the get-go, you can build a strong working relationship founded on respect and loyalty.

REMEMBER: You can not expect to throw your new hire into the deep end and expect them to turn into an Olympic swimmer! Proper onboarding & integration that includes an effective training process can make or break their success.

Losing your top employees

No employer wants to see their best talent walk out of their office doors. If you find that your top performers are leaving your company, be proactive in preventing turnover from becoming a recurring trend. If growing vacancies are left unchecked, it will be a poor reflection on your company’s image as a good workplace. In addition to gathering intel through exit interviews, take comments gathered from employee performance reviews and feedback forms seriously. Get insight into what your team like and dislike about working for you and your practice and take their suggestions as an opportunity to improve and become a more competitive employer.

Being unprepared when handling workplace mistreatment reports

Your mission-critical priority as an owner or manager is to ensure that your people feel safe. If an employee feels threatened in what should be a safe space, that is an urgent issue that must be addressed immediately. If reports of workplace misconduct — such as incidents of harassment, bullying or discrimination — are responded to and handled poorly, this can have a detrimental effect on your entire practice. Treat the situation with importance by listening to your employee and working to resolve the issue. If you feel ill-equipped to handle the situation, seek assistance from an HR consultant to help you with next steps. By taking your employee’s experience seriously, you will reassure your employee that they matter.

Experiencing staffing shortages

You know the scenario — due to an oversight on your part, you approved time off requests from various members of your team, only to later realize you neglected to confirm that there will be ample coverage in the office during that week. Avoid staffing shortages and interruptions to the workflow by having an effective vacation request protocols. Having the proper channels of communication and keeping track of who is on holidays when will save you from this preventable disaster!


I have only listed 8 but there are plenty more HR nightmares which I am sure you could easily list off with your eyes closed and hands tied behind your back! The reassuring part is that ALL of these HR nightmares are preventable! Schedule a FREE consultation with us to learn how you can avoid these and many more HR nightmares!

Avoid These Costly Mistakes With Employee Benefits

Do you know what job seekers consider MOST important when looking for a job...[drumroll please] 95% said job benefits and perks! Let's be honest, we have all considered this a major factor when deciding the next move in your career.

Many dental practices have various employee benefits and perks, some being: extended health coverage, gym memberships, uniform allowance or discounts off of dental treatment for themselves and immediate family.  These are very generous but one of these is more susceptible to being abused, taken advantage of and put you & your practice at risk!

The Sad and Scary Truth About Employee Treatment Discounts

Let me paint you a "real-life" scenario-- Dr. X offered a VERY generous employee benefits program, free dental treatment to his staff and their immediate family members. They would only be responsible for the lab cost! Amazing right?

After some investigation, he discovered that this was being abused! How? Dr. X began to uncover a string of questionable situations: team members claiming a friend of the family, second cousins of cousins were immediate family, others were claiming insurance off of the FULL treatment fee (a.k.a insurance fraud) and others had never paid for the lab bill! Can you imagine how Dr. X felt? Hurt...upset...lost trust or respect for his team. But, how did this happen? Where did it go wrong? How did this generous benefit end up becoming a detriment?

Avoid These Common Mistakes

Let's dig deeper into Dr. X's employee discount policy and read the guidelines. Oh wait... there wasn't one! This office employee discount was a verbal agreement.

Often times with verbal agreements, it leaves room for things to be misinterpreted and can leave yourself exposed and vulnerable. Verbal agreements remind me of the "telephone game," do you remember that or did I just date myself?! One person whispers a message to the person beside them, they, in turn, continue that message until it gets back to the original source. And what happens? It ends up returning back to them as a completely different version! Now, we played this game for fun and would laugh about how different the two messages ended up becoming but your business is NOT a game!  Dr. X cannot do anything about all of the lost money or insurance fraud because he has nothing to fall back on to prove that was against office policy.

Implementing an Employee Discount Policy 

Here are a few items to consider and include in your Employee Discount Policy:

I have been burnt before on this! An employee paid a small portion and only after she left, we discover 75% of the lab bill was still outstanding!

Having employee benefits are a great way to show your team how much you appreciate them! BUT, it needs to be a written policy, implemented effectively and communicated properly! Having a paper trail will help you to avoid these costly mistakes! This policy should be included in your employee handbook or have a stand-alone policy for the team to read, sign and keep a signed copy in their employee file.

If you take anything away from this post it is to have your employee discount program! In that way, if any questions arise, there is a signed policy stating they understood the practice guidelines and you can avoid these HR nightmares!





Vacation Policy Best Practices

We all daydream about where our next travel adventure will take us. I just got back from spending 10 days in paradise down in Zihuatanejo, Mexico. My husband and I were celebrating our 10-year anniversary and had the most amazing trip ever! Now I am back in the snow and suffering through this -20 degree Celsius weather!

But this is something that happens quite frequently in dental practices…a team member booked a holiday and is now asking for some time off. This can put some strain on your practice. What is the best way to handle this? After all, everyone deserves a vacation and some work/life balance.

How do you balance this while also trying to run & grow your business, keep your schedule busy AND keep your patients & team happy?!?


Have it Down in Writing

First things first: It is important that your employees understand how your practice vacation pay works, the scheduling of vacation days, and the stipulations around requesting vacation. This can be done by having a dedicated policy that outlines what the office expectations are and what the office protocol is. By having this you will avoid those awkward conversations, misinterpretations, or worse yet, you have multiple employees on holidays at the same time-- leaving you shorthanded!!! {Not a great position to be in}

So, let’s avoid that by having a good and effective Vacation policy. It is also important that your Vacation Policy be compliant with your provincial, territorial or state employment standards. Because every province & state have different regulations, amount of vacation days and how they should be compensated. For example, I am here in Alberta and vacation time is based on the length of employment. For instance: 1-5 years is calculated at 4% of their wages which equals 2 weeks of pay. 5 years or more they get 6% or 3 weeks holidays.

So, let’s break this down into what should be included in the policy and how to implement this in your practice:

What Should Be Included in The Vacation Policy

  1. Explain how vacation days are being calculated and paid out. Is this being accrued over time or paid out on every pay cheque?
  2. When can it be taken…
    • Does it have to be used during this calendar year or can it be carried over?
    • The maximum length of vacation days can be taken consecutively. For example: if I have 3 weeks vacation, can I take all three weeks consecutively or should this be broken up over the calendar year?
    • If there are conflicting dates—how should this be handled? Multiple employees request the same time off, how will this be handled?
    • How should popular vacation period like Christmas, new years and long weekends be handled to allow for fair treatment amongst all employees?
  3. How vacation time should be requested- How far in advance do they need to request time off? For example, it's a Saturday afternoon and you get a text that your hygienist just booked a last minute trip and will be gone for 2 weeks starting Monday...now you are left EXTREMELY short-handed. Having a policy that outline the process and timeline for requesting vacation time will avoid these stressful scenarios!

How Can This Be Implemented?

  1. Have your team members read and sign the vacation policy and save a copy in their employee file for easy reference.
  2. The office manager should have a vacation tracking master spreadsheet to know how many vacation days each employee is entitled too, who is on holidays and when they are away = so that you don’t accidentally double book multiple team members off!
  3. Have a vacation request form whereby the team member writes out their requested days off and contingency plan-- ie: how their vacation time will be covered. This is given to the office manager/Dentist at least X number of weeks in advance and approved by them before the vacation is booked.
  4. Save the approved vacation request form in their employee file.

Can you see how important it is to have a Vacation policy AND Vacation protocol in place? There is SO much more involved than just having a standard policy written out. You need systems and accountability to ensure everything is running smoothly for the entire office—team, doc’s and for your patients!

Need help putting the HR documents together? We have this ready-made structures in place that include Vacation policy, request form and master spreadsheet so you can implement this in your practice right away!


Ready To Make 2018 Your Best Year EVER?



2018 is here! Have you found yourself dreaming of what this year might hold for your Dental Practice?


Over the past few weeks here at Stream Dental, we have been looking forward to all of the incredible opportunities this new year holds - because we’re dedicated to making 2018 our best year ever. How about you?

We’re going to be rolling out brand new products, introducing exciting collaborations and greater support for our clients, and offering a wide extension of services we never thought we would be able to offer - but are so excited to do so!

Our growth and opportunities it brings us has been made possible thanks to the hard work our amazing team consistently puts in towards accomplishing our greater goals - and the systems we have in place that have provided us with clarity, allowed us to take consistent steps forward, and to execute our plans (and reach our goals) with ease.

And we want to help make these things possible for your practice, too.

In the spirit of helping make 2018 your best year- EVER, we felt like giving a little something back to all of the amazing Dentists and fellow Dental Professionals out there (you!), so we’ve designed a special 2018 Action Plan Guide for you … and are giving it to you today, absolutely free.

This Action Plan guide is a 21 page PDF, filled with exercises, worksheets, calendars and more, designed to help you gain clarity and take action on the goals for your practice in 2018.

With this guide, you will:

And did we mention that it’s totally free?

It’s our mission to help dentists and dental practices throughout North America have super solid HR systems so that they can reach new heights of success, and we know that having clarity on your goals plus actionable steps to take towards them is the winning combination for achieving everything you desire for your business.

We created this free guide to help you get there.

So if you’re ready to dive into your 2018 Action Plan Guide, simply enter your details below to gain immediate access:

Remember, everything is possible for your Dental Practice this year - all it takes are clarity on your goals, having the right systems in place, and taking the right steps forward.

We know you can do it. And we are so excited to see what this year holds for you!