Firing an employee is never easy, but unfortunately, it’s sometimes necessary. Many dentists aren’t comfortable with this task and put it off as long as possible. The problem is, that only serves to weaken your team and damage your practice.
After you’ve gone through the proper disciplinary process and determine it’s time to part ways with a team member, there are a few steps you can take to make the situation less painful for both you and the soon-to-be-former employee.
Meet in private. Don’t fire the employee in front of the rest of the team, but be sure to have a witness in the room. This could be your attorney or spouse, or even your Office Manager.
Don’t be vague. Make it clear the employee is being dismissed, but remain respectful.
Don’t go into details. There’s no reason to go over all the details that led to the termination. By this point, the employee should be well aware of the performance problems—and had plenty of opportunity to address them during the disciplinary period. To help ensure you stay on point, I recommend creating a script or outlining your words. Never apologize or place blame during this conversation.
Don’t get defensive. Be prepared for the employee to throw out accusations or insults. Don’t argue or admit to any wrong doing. Let the team member speak, but focus on staying calm and controlled.
Pay the employee. Give the now former team member that last paycheck at the final meeting. If that’s not possible, let him or her know when to expect it.
End on a positive note. After the employee gives you the key back, shake his or her hand and say good luck. Just remember to keep the goodbyes short.
Have a team meeting. Your team members probably know something is going on, and you don’t want the rumor mill to start churning. Call a team meeting right away and let them know who you dismissed, but don’t go into any details about why.
No one ever wants to fire an employee, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. Following the proper steps will make it easier. Even though it’s difficult, your practice will be much better off after you part ways with team members who hold the practice back.