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Dental Consultant Advice: Correcting Staff
“Every mistake is an opportunity to learn.”
Let your employee know you appreciate them without any “but” or ‘however”. Otherwise why do they still have a job?
Let your employee know that “every mistake is an opportunity to learn.”
Let your employee tell their side of the story. Listen. Do not assume.
For some situations it could be one strike and you're out on the other hand always weigh an employee's value versus non-optimum behavior. In general discipline should be done on a gradient.
Until you are comfortable correcting employees, you can simply pull this policy out with your employee present and go through it step-by-step. You can even tell your employee that you too are always learning. When you’re done, ask them how you did!
Gradient # 1: Warning
- Review the written policy or rule in question with your employee. If the policy or rule is not in writing, it should be but, proceed anyway.
- Find out if there is anything in the policy or rule your employee does not understand or disagrees with. Who knows? Maybe they have a valid disagreement but, often it’s something they just do not understand. Help to get them to understand the purpose of the policy or rule.
- Make it safe for your employee to communicate freely.
- Generally, with good employees, all that is needed is a “warning”.
Gradient # 2: Reprimand
- For situations requiring additional action after a warning, prepare a written reprimand which reviews the facts of the situation, cites specific improvement that needs to be demonstrated within a clearly defined period of time. State the disciplinary action that will result if the improvement does not occur within the time designated.
- The written reprimand is signed by both the practice owner (or office manager) and your employee after discussing. Place the signed reprimand in your employee's personnel file.
Gradient # 3: Penalties
After a reprimand, depending on the severity of the offense, if there is insufficient improvement within the stated time, disciplinary action such as suspension without pay, demotion or dismissal may result. Make sure any such actions are legal for your state.
It is important to note that the severity of the offense may warrant not following the usual sequence of warning-reprimand-penalty so the disciplinary action taken may begin at any level. A reprimand, for example, could be given for a flagrant first offense and immediate dismissal could result in the case of major acts of misconduct such as embezzlement or dereliction of duty such as disappearing from work for a day or more without prior agreement.
Always document (see form below) policy or rule violations and place in your employee’s personnel file. Such documentation can come in handy if you later dismiss and your former employee files for unemployment.
STAFF CORRECTION FORM
Policy or rule violated___________________________
What circumstances resulted in this warning, reprimand or penalty?
What can your employee do to ensure the policy or rule will be followed moving forward?
Any suggestions your employee can give so the policy or rule is followed moving forward?
Employee Signature _____________________________
Practice Owner or OM____________________________
Kevin Tighe, Cambridge Dental Consultants, Senior Consultant, got bitten hard by the business and marketing bug during long summer days working at his dad's Madison Avenue ad agency. After joining Cambridge as a speaker in the mid-1990s, Kevin went on to become Cambridge’s senior consultant and eventually CEO. Cambridge Dental Consultants is a full-service dental practice management company offering customized dental office manuals. Frustrated? High overhead? Schedule a chat with Kevin at
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There is the good, the bad and the ugly of dental practice management, but many dentists will still tell you the probability is your dental consulting will work if you and your consultant are on the same page. It stands to reason that if a dental consultant had little value, worth or benefit that consultant could not stand up to harsh economic realities for long. A veteran dental consultant is also a "personal coach" who shold bring management wisdom based on "in the trenches" experience along with systems and protocols to that have been successfully implemented in other practices. Top dental consultants talk and network with each other. They pay attention to what systems work and don't across many dental practices.
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General Policy Manual
What gets monitored, gets managed. It is as simple as that. The only way to monitor what gets done is with daily stats especially for your weak areas. For example, one employee should be specifically responsible for calls to patients who are unscheduled, overdue for re-care or need reactivation. Other staff can and should help in coordination with the accountable employee.
What most practice owners are lack in knowledge is not how to book an appointment, but rather how to be an effective leader. The best systems in the world are useless if the staff do not comply. Good leaders know how to get staff to willingly follow through and comply.
Questions To Ask
Do you and/or your staff have to travel or does the consultant come to you?
Is the program mostly one on one consulting versus seminars or courses with multiple clients in attendance?There are advantages to both.
If the dental consulting is one on one who will actually deliver the consulting? I recommend knowing who your specific dental consultant will be prior to signing on the dotted line.
Is program based on a specific dental practice management system? You want to avoid cookie-cutter programs. Ensure the program will be tailor-made to fit your practice's specific needs.
The cost (including travel expenses and downtime) is certainly not the only factor, everything else being equal, it is still a major factor to consider. It's unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little.
Top Dental Practice Mangement Consultant
My name is Kevin Tighe. I am Cambridge's CEO and Senior Consultant. Before joining the Cambridge team I was in charge of setting up workshops for large nonprofits throughout the United States and Canada. During that time, I was fortunate to receive mentoring from several world-class business consultants, including a dental practice management guru, which led to a position at Cambridge as their seminar organizer. In time, I began crisscrossing the country delivering seminars myself for the better part of a decade. Subsequently, I moved up to senior consultant and eventually owner. Contributing writer to Dental Economics/DIQ, JADA, AGD Impact and Dental Town Magazine.
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