employeesMy wife has been a dental assistant for nearly 20 years. It has always been interesting as an HR professional to watch her interactions in the offices she has worked in and see how some offices can thrive and grow while others become cauldrons of discontent and discord. There are numerous factors that can contribute to this in any workplace, but in a tight knit environment of a private practice it really seems to boil down to the attitudes of the individual employees. An important mentor of mine Tony Enrico speaks on this subject on a regular basis.

It has been his observation that employees break down into three basic categories:

  • Jazzed: These are the employees that come to work fired up and ready to go. They are always ready to go the extra step and will raise the performance of those around them.

  • Jobber: This is your 9 to 5 person. They will do exactly what needs to be done and, for the most part, they will do it efficiently.

  • Jaded: This person spreads their special form of black magic through the office not only making them hard to work with, but overall, bringing everyone else down.

In an environment as interdependent as a private practice, it is imperative that everyone is functioning at a high level. A jaded front desk person will turn off potential patients calling in, leaving holes in the schedule and creating idle time for you and hygiene. A discontent hygienist can undo your case presentation with a few snarky remarks about the cost of service, making more work for everyone else to shore up the lost production.

If you have jaded employees in your practice you really have only one solution. Get them out, and do it now. You are better off paying them not to be there than to have them drag down everyone else and affect your patients.

This is why performance management is so important. If you don't know what to do, check out my previous articles on termination, progressive discipline, posting on job boards and interviewing. They give you a road map for the whole process.

Adam McWethy, MA-HRIR, SPHR, is the Director of Human Resources and Faculty at Spear Education.

Do you have questions regarding the employees at your practice? Take your questions to a few thousand dentists, including the esteemed Spear faculty, on Spear's discussion boards. Don't have access? Sign-up for free today.


Commenter's Profile Image Muna Strasser
December 2nd, 2014
Such great advice! Thank you! ;-)
Commenter's Profile Image Adam McWethy
December 13th, 2014
Your welcome!