I want to stress that these HR myths are not unique to dental offices. I have experienced these in companies large and small, but as business owners, it’s important for every dentist to read these.
The Mythical 90 day Probationary Period:
It is interesting how often I hear this. In fact, it came up last week while I was delivering a webinar for cerecdoctors.com. This is a holdover from unionized workplaces, so unless your practice has been organized by the teamsters then there is no such period. In a union environment you generally have 90 days to evaluate someone prior to them becoming subject to the collective bargaining agreement. This gives a business some wiggle room to remove really awful people before they are stuck dealing with formal grievance processes and arbitration to handle employee disputes. Unless you have contracts then your employees are at will. This means that at 90 days they have no more protection than they do at 3 or 752 days. In fact, putting something in writing that references a 90 day probationary period can actually work against you if you make a really bad hire since a judge can interpret your policy as altering the at will employment agreement. So stop talking about it, definitely don’t write about it and simply have a progressive and well documented discipline process to deal with problem hires.
Adam McWethy, MA-HRIR, SPHR, is the Director of Human Resources and Faculty at Spear Education.