Running and managing a dental practice is no easy task. One of the most common shared concerns is the challenge of managing people. In both small and large practices, even one difficult employee can cause enough problems to interrupt business and potentially impact profits. That’s why it’s important to have a system in place for addressing staff issues that occur when an employee refuses to comply with office rules and directions. Adopting a process and tailoring it to fit your needs can help you potentially avoid unwanted confrontations that lead to even larger business concerns. Learn how to handle difficult employees now so you and your whole team can get back on the path to success. Here are some tips from our dental consultants to help you do just that.
Speak to Them Privately and Listen
Open communication with staff members can help solve and sometimes avoid issues with employees as soon as they arise. If a member of your team consistently fails to take direction, sit down with them privately and have an open discussion. Share your concerns with your employees using clear language and simple, open-ended questions. Making sure to truly listen to their responses during these conversations is also important. Once your employee responds, restate what they said back to them to avoid communication breakdowns, e.g., “So what I heard you say is that you didn’t follow our customer service procedure because you did not understand what was expected of you, is that right?”
Monitor and Document Progress
Once clear communication has occurred between you and your employee, make sure to document and monitor the situation and its progress consistently. Employees can sometimes feel their needs fall on deaf ears, and in these instances, they will go right back to the same way of doing things. Showing that management cares and is working towards a solution can lead to a behavioral shift sooner rather than later. On the flip side, if progress is not seen consistently or at all, it may be time to consider a more formal disciplinary approach.
Taking Disciplinary Action
Addressing a difficult employee using disciplinary action (formal write up, demotion, or employment termination) is never easy. As a business owner, it is unfortunately something you will likely have to deal with at some point. Remember, the goal of early disciplinary action is to help improve the behavior and keep the employee/employer relationship moving in a positive direction. Having clear, well-defined policies that you can refer back to is essential so that you can deal with the potential legal and team morale issues that may arise, should the situation lead to termination of employment.
If you are dealing with a difficult employee or would like to consult on other areas of your practice, contact our dental business coach today.