Handling Staff Changes

Change is a part of life, even in the dental practice. Keep these things in mind when you face staff turnover.

Staff changes in your dental practice are inevitable. People move, have life changes, and sometimes, just aren’t a good fit for your practice.

Make a habit of keeping records of your interactions with employees that aren’t a good fit for your office, so you have a paper trail. When needed, it’s important to counsel staff on what they’re doing wrong and how they need to improve. Offer additional training in areas you find them struggling with, and keep a written record of these meetings and what was discussed.

It’s also a good idea to have the staff member sign off on this written record. This way you can protect your practice if you end up having to let the employee go. You’ll have written proof that you gave them chances to improve and gave them the necessary tools, but they ended up not meeting the expectations of your practice.

If a staff member makes the decision to leave your office, request their notice in writing. This way you will have proof the team member left by their choice, versus being let go, to avoid any repercussions to the practice, like having to pay unemployment. Remember to request that the staff member return property belonging to the practice, like keys to the office and uniforms.

When it comes to your Dentrix software, be sure to inactivate staff members (or providers in the case of hygienists and doctors) who no longer work at your office. Each user in your practice should have their own user ID for Dentrix. Never re-use a user ID! I’ve seen an office that had a dental assistant leave the practice, and instead of creating a new user ID for the replacement assistant, they simply changed the staff member’s name in Practice Resource Setup to the new assistant’s name. A user ID should be unique to each staff member because there is history associated with each user ID to allow you to see who did what in Dentrix.

I’ve also seen previous employees complain that they weren’t paid for the correct number of hours. If you use the Dentrix Time Clock, and each employee has their own unique user ID, it will be easy for you to view their clock in/out history to prove that your practice paid them correctly.

Keeping accurate employee records can help you to protect your practice.

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By Charlotte Skaggs
Certified Dentrix Trainer and The Dentrix Office Manager columnist

Charlotte Skaggs is the founder of Vector Dental Consulting LLC, a practice management firm focused on taking offices to the next level. Charlotte co-owned and managed a successful dental practice with her husband for 17 years. She has a unique approach to consulting based on the perspective of a practice owner. Charlotte has been using Dentrix for over 20 years and is a certified Dentrix trainer. Contact Charlotte at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.