The Dreaded 'T' Word: Termination
Terminating an employee for any reason can be a very stressful and unpleasant situation and it can even be somewhat overwhelming, even a bit confusing… written notice, termination pay, progressive discipline, termination for cause, without cause. So many things to know and understand.
Take it step by step:
Proper preparation prior to the termination can get you prepared for what is to come but it also helps ensure that the employee leaves with dignity and helps mitigate risk to your practice.
Now sometimes, it is necessary to eliminate a position that has become redundant or you may have to lay off employees due to business slowdowns. Other times, terminations may be due to poor performance or inappropriate conduct. Regardless of the reason, it is important to terminate the business relationship in a professional manner, with appropriate notice, and in a way that meets at least, the minimum legislative requirements for your province/state.
An employee who is wrongfully terminated or terminated without cause and not provided with an appropriate notice period (or payment in lieu), will now have reason to initiate legal action to recover the monies owing, or to contact an employment standards officer to open an investigation. Which is something I am sure you would not like to happen!
It's much better to understand the appropriate way to handle terminations within your workplace so that you avoid any type of litigation or investigation in the first place.
Terminations caused by poor performance: Some employers will avoid conflict as long as possible and will continue putting up with inappropriate conduct or poor performance from an employee, rather than starting the disciplinary process. Having a disruptive employee, or someone who does not seem to pull their weight, can begin to have a negative effect on the rest of the staff; and that is something you do not want! When employees see that an underperforming colleague is allowed to continue down such a path, the rest of your staff may become resentful and it can result in lower productivity and higher turnover.
Poor performance or inappropriate conduct should be addressed as soon after the incident as possible, or upon noticing deteriorating performance. In some cases, working with the employee can help to turn things around without having to take further disciplinary action.
However, if the results are still not acceptable, it is critical to act quickly, document all discussions, and adhere to legislated requirements for your jurisdiction before terminating employment.
Cover the basics:
1. When an employee is hired, it is important to have them sign an employment agreement. This contract will clearly outline information that outlines roles, expectations, salaries, probationary period and termination provisions.
2. Conduct regular performance reviews to provide feedback, guidance and create an action plan for areas of improvement.
3. If there is a cause for progressive discipline it must be documented to show you provided enough opportunity & guidance for them to improve.
4. If at that point, things are not improving you must contact an HR professional for advice to ensure that your documentation and process is appropriate to minimize your risk.
If you proceed with deciding to terminate- it does not end there!
There are series of steps you still need to take to ensure everything is done correctly the day of. We can’t stress this enough! The decision to terminate should never be taken lightly. If not handled properly, it can also result in expensive litigation. This is not a position you would want to find yourself in.
We have put together a termination checklist for you to download. It walks you through what needs to be done the day of termination. Visit: https://streamdental.leadpages.co/terminationchecklist/
Stream Dental understands that you have a lot on your plate, as the owner of a growing Dental Practice, usually having little or no in-house Human Resource expertise! Our new services allow us to become your virtual HR department. Offering human capital solutions that provide the greatest impact on workplace productivity, employee engagement & retention and help you grow your business with the right people and processes.
Contact us today: www.streamdental.ca
Saying "Thank You" to Motivate Your Team
There are two simple words that can have a huge impact. You probably guessed them — they're "Thank you." But it is not just about saying this phrase, but to actually have meaning behind those words. We've all heard about the power of "thank you." This is probably one of the most amazing ways to boost the morale of your dental team. Your team has worked hard; they should be appreciated for all they have done because, without appreciation, you cannot motivate your team to continue to grow. There are so many different ways in which you can say "Thank you." Here are just a few ideas.
Having a happy team makes a HUGE difference in office productivity, efficiency and patient care. As a leader, you contribute to that whether you know it or not! Recognition can make all the difference! Even something as small as identifying work anniversaries, birthdays or any accomplishments is HUGE in your employee's eyes. You can celebrate these events in simple ways, like buying a round of morning coffee for your employees, or you can get a nice greeting card and get it signed by everyone in the office to mark their anniversary. Whatever you do, it is the gesture that counts. These gestures are actually equivalent to a "thank you." Sometimes gestures are more important than words!
Encouraging new ideas
Open communication and encouraging your team to contribute their ideas or suggestions can ignite a passion or encourage them to go the extra mile for your practice! In other words, when the team starts sharing ideas, they have a synergy between them and can get things done. As a leader or a manager, you should always encourage new ideas. Listen to their ideas and suggestions, and encourage them to find ways to incorporate them into your practice. In your weekly or monthly reviews, you should also share critical information about business processes, so that the employees are well informed. This also makes them empowered, and if they are given the authority to implement changes, it acts as a great motivating factor, because they feel that their contributions are recognized. Communication is a two-way street, so keep the channel open and encourage new, innovative ideas. And once your team sees that their ideas have been incorporated, they are certainly going to feel appreciated.
Create a comfort
If you ask your employees have any ideas or suggestions that can make a great workplace or improve your patient experience...LISTEN! They are on the frontlines every day, working directly with your patients and can have an idea that can significantly improve your practice. Often saying ‘thank you’ is not enough; you have to show that you care and are ready to make changes to create a positive environment for the team and patients.
It is one thing to just say "Thank you," but another thing to actually mean it. Who knew something so simple, could be so powerful? So make sure your "Thank you" matters!
Increase Personal Efficiency in 5 Easy Steps
“Efficiency is doing better what is already being done”- Peter Drucker
It is important to work well within a team but sometimes you need to take a step back and analyze your own skills and try to find ways in which you can improve yourself. Here are 5 tips that can help you to increase your personal efficiency.
Let’s start by distinguishing the difference between an effective person vs an efficient person.
Efficient people are well organized. They check things off their to-do lists. They complete projects. They get stuff done.
Effective people do all that... but they check the right things off their to-do lists. They complete the right projects. They get the right stuff done. They execute and produce what makes the biggest difference for the office... and for themselves. They don’t just know what to do, but they know WHY they need to do it! They have purpose that drives them to be dedicated and organized.
Remember that there are people behind those teeth! You are in the business of changing people’s lives just by improving their smile. Having the big picture in mind will help us to be and run efficiently & effectively!
Plan out your day
“Live your life on purpose. Not by accident”
Before you start your day at work, take 15 minutes to carefully go through what your tasks are and create your plan of attack for the day! You may be thinking this is not an efficient use of my time, but in fact it creates focus, intention and clear direction. Once you start working through your list, it gives you a sense of accomplishment to check off items from your list! This also applies to having a morning meeting with the team before you begin the day. Look through the schedule and review any potential hiccups and how to manage them before they happen. Why not start the meeting off on a good note by citing a positive quote for the day!
“94% of problems in business are systems driven and only 6% are people driven” - W. Edwards Deming
Goals can provide direction and a final destination to help push you forward in the short-term, but eventually a well-designed system is your GPS—a step by step plan on how to ACTUALLY get you to your final destination. Having a system is what matters. Committing to the process is what makes the difference.
Having an up-to-date office manual is your practice’s roadmap to success. Taking the time to have all of your systems outlined will save you in the long run.
Cut out time-wasters
There are so many distractions that can sap our energy and waste our time. So, try to audit your time, and find out what are things that are hampering your productivity. It can be a long email or a lengthy call or updating the office social media accounts. All these are essential parts of the job, but if they are hampering real work, then you should trim the time or adjust the time that you are doing these things.
Find happiness in the success of others
Great companies are made up of team members who help each other, know their roles, set aside their personal goals, and value team success over everything else. Find fulfillment in helping other people succeed. In the process, you will succeed, as well—in more ways than one!
Those are just a few tips on how to increase your personal efficiency. Not only does Stream Dental help you find the best employees, but we also help you implement effective HR systems to improve longevity and productivity of your team!
Performance Reviews in a Dental Job - Are they Essential?
The work of a Dentist and the duties of a manager are closely aligned, because in Dentistry, often you are the boss AND the manager. So, as a manager, it is your responsibility to do performance reviews. We know performance reviews aren’t a popular topic around the office watercooler. Regardless of how a boss feels about putting his or her staff under a microscope, regular performance reviews are an important and constructive way to evaluate the contributions an employee is making to your dental practice. Performance reviews can impact the growth of the organization along with the growth of your employees.
Define your expectations
Clearly, define your expectations to each of your employees. They need to know their current roles and responsibilities. Performance reviews offer them feedback on how they are meeting those expectations thus far and areas for growth and improvement. The employee should also come prepared and have their own thoughts and feedback about their performance. This will also create a benchmark for future reviews to see how the employee has grown in their role.
Communication is the key
You should always remember that unless you clearly communicate it, no one can read your mind and know exactly what to do or how you want them to do it! Communication is extremely important so that both of you know exactly where you stand and how they can do better from this point forward. The same applies to each of your team members! Ask open-ended questions during the review to help you get a better gauge on how they feel, where their head is, how they want to grow and know where the discussion is going to go.
For example, asking, “How do you think you’ve done this year? What have been some of the high and low points in your experience thus far? What would you like to see changed in your position moving forward?” Granted, some of the answers may not always be pleasant or what you want to hear — you are establishing trust and deepening your relationship. By being honest and detailing goals and expectations for the coming period before the next review. End the review with an offer for an open-door policy so everyone can feel welcome to reach out with constructive concerns and issues right away.
Always go for specific feedback
Vague talk and vague feedback will only lead to average performance or worse yet, complacency! As a manager, do not beat around the bush. If there is an issue, you must address it immediately! Create an effective performance-improvement plan that identifies the behaviour to be corrected, provide clear expectations and metrics about the work to be performed or behaviour that must change, identify the support and resources available to help the employee make the required improvements, and specify possible consequences if performance standards as identified in the plan are not met.
If an employee meets or exceeds expectations, take the time to offer them commendation and encouragement. Who doesn’t love to hear that you have done a good job? Performance reviews aren’t meant to be a negative experience, but use this time to inspire and motivate your team! Remember you are all on the same team and working toward providing the best possible treatment to your patients!
Tell them about your direction
All employees need direction. They might not address it, but they really need to know where they stand and where they should go from there. Performance reviews are those occasions where you can tell your employee about the direction you want to take the practice and your action plan to help reach those goals. It is just like steering a ship; you just need to chart your course before you embark on the journey together.
We know they can be stressful and time-consuming but we are here to help! Did you know, Stream Dental Staffing Solutions offers a PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT GUIDE? It was developed to help you and your management team implement regular employee coaching and performance reviews.
Ideas To Increase Productivity
We know running a successful office requires a lot of work! That brings us to the question of finding reliable ways to help increase productivity, improve practices, and increase profit margins. Here are some ideas that can help increase productivity in your dental practice.
Educating the team along with yourself for good practices
You need to educate yourself and also your team about good business practices, which can ensure improvement and growth. Begin with basics like increasing customer satisfaction, and learn to identify ways through which you can reduce waste and cut back on unnecessary spending. You need to motivate your team by telling them what they can do and how they can help! Ask your team to pay attention to concepts of value and how the practice can benefit from these ideas.
Think about incentives
Incentives play a major part in creating excitement among team members to excel. Who doesn’t love to be rewarded or recognized for a job well done?! The basic thing is that you need to keep your team happy to have a productive environment. However, there are two things to remember when you develop an incentive plan for the practice. First of all, think of how incentives can be earned and what kind of incentives you can offer. The first is inevitably related to good metrics like positive results from customer surveys. The second one, however, might be a little trickier. You cannot always relate the incentives with cash. Sometimes the employees cannot see the relation between hard work and money because by the time they utilize the bonus they simply forget about the association. Instead, things like a small paid vacation, shopping spree, spa days (just make sure to invite us!) or other rewards are much more effective.
Reinventing the patient experience
If you were to take a survey, you will find that most of the patients do not find a visit to the dentist’s office a pleasant experience (sorry about that!). Changing that perception holds the key to a successful dental practice. You need to change the mindset of the people and you need to make the patient experience very impressive. Whatever you do, you need to make the customers happy. And happy people will not only come back to you but will also recommend you to friends and family. Positive word of mouth goes a long way!
Keeping up with the latest technology
If you want to improve the entire process in your dental practice, you need to keep up with modern technology and programs. You need to have a good data management system, a modernized administration process and include proper business process software. This software not only helps to regularize the data, they also ensure that patients can securely fill out forms in compliance with legal rules. This helps to improve performance and reduce mistakes.
There are many other avenues you can take to make your dental office more productive, but these are just a few examples. Find what works best for you and your office. But one important thing to remember is having happy team members and patient's goes a long way towards a successful dental practice.
Until next time!