Addressing the Problem of a Toxic Employee

Practice Management, Team Building and Clinical Coaching

Whether you’re opening a startup or you own an established dental practice, the hiring process can be daunting. In addition to being stressful and time-consuming, it can sometimes be costly. These are just a few of the reasons why many practice owners avoid terminating an employee, even if he or she is causing obvious problems in the workplace. Despite these factors, however, keeping a toxic employee on board can be far more costly in the long run.

Jennifer Pearce, founder and owner of Prosperity Dental Solutions, has over 24 years of experience in dental practice management. She can help you navigate these problems and show you how to handle the problem of a toxic team member.

Recognizing the Signs of a Toxic Employee

No two employees are the same, but there are a few common denominators when it comes to a toxic team member. Here are a few things to look for:

  • Dishonesty: This isn’t always characterized by theft or lies, though it certainly can be. Blaming others and refusing to accept responsibility can also indicate dishonesty – and it’s toxic to your practice.
  • Poor work performance: All team members need time to adjust when they come on board. However, a toxic individual will never rise above the bare minimum. If an employee isn’t doing what is expected, it’s time to re-evaluate.
  • Bad attitude: Passive-aggressiveness, snide comments, muttering, eye-rolling, constant complaining, and confrontational tones are signs of a bad attitude. Behaviors like these can spread negativity like wildfire, sending office morale into a downward spiral.
  • Lack of engagement: Everyone has an off day every now and then. But if an employee is consistently inattentive during daily huddles or refuses to accept responsibilities, it can lead to a toxic work environment.

If you notice any of these warning signs, it’s probably time to consider termination. Waiting too long can have a tremendous negative impact on your practice. If you let go of a toxic employee, you’ll often find that your team is immediately stronger and more productive.

A Toxic Employee Requires Prompt Attention

As a practice owner, every day is busy. If you need time to address a toxic employee, you’ll have to carve it out of your schedule. Yes, it can be inconvenient. But prompt action is necessary to avoid long-term problems. To put things into perspective, a single toxic employee can:

  • Directly reduce the number of new patients in your practice: If a toxic employee answers phones or interacts with potential patients, he or she can seriously hinder the image of your practice. In turn, this can lead to a significant loss in revenue.
  • Cause current patients to leave your practice: Patients listen to what’s going on in your office. If they sense toxicity or negativity, they may be inclined to leave. Even worse, they may tell other people about their experience.
  • Lead to the loss of your best team members: Your loyal employees deserve a positive work environment. If you tolerate a toxic team member, others may feel unappreciated or frustrated. They may feel that their only option is to find employment elsewhere.

Contact Prosperity Dental Solutions

Do you have a toxic employee at your office? If so, it’s important to understand how he or she affects your practice, your patients, and the rest of your team. To learn more, schedule a consultation with dental coach Jennifer Pearce. Call Prosperity Dental Solutions at (817) 975-4576. You can also email us at jennifer@prosperitydentalsolutions.com.

Avoiding Communication Breakdowns in Your Dental Office

Practice Management, Team Building and Clinical Coaching

We all know that communication is essential in personal relationships ­– and the same is true in the professional world. Proper communication improves your efficiency, boosts office morale, and helps your practice thrive. Without it, your business suffers. A few tips in dental practice management can help owners prioritize what’s important and prevent communication breakdown.

With over 24 years of dental practice management experience, Jennifer Pearce of Prosperity Dental Solutions can show you how to assess communication styles in your office and establish ways to get back on track.

Communication Breakdown Affects More Than Efficiency

Clear communication between the doctor and staff helps you run a more efficient practice. If you’ve been in the dental industry for very long, you probably already know this. But did you know that a lack of communication can lead to more than just inefficiency? According to a 2012 article from the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare, approximately 80 percent of medical errors are due to miscommunication.[1] Furthermore, poor communication can cause a significant drop in office morale. When employees don’t feel heard, they don’t perform as well. In fact, according to Forbes, employees are far more likely to quit their jobs if they feel overlooked or ignored.[2] Avoiding communication breakdowns is one of the most effective paths to a healthy, successful practice.

The Importance of a Daily Huddle

If you’re not already holding a daily team meeting, start now. However, to ensure your meetings are fruitful, they must be organized. At least 10 to 15 minutes should be set aside every morning to discuss production, new patients, emergencies, and similar points of interest. It’s important to make sure that all team members feel heard during this meeting – and that each employee has a safe space to express any concerns.

Be Approachable

I’ve worked in many practices where the doctor seems too busy to be bothered – even when there’s an urgent matter at hand. Unfortunately, this means that problems aren’t always presented in a timely fashion. Make sure your team understands that non-urgent communication should be saved for slower times of the day – but emphasize that you’re never too busy to help them handle a tough situation.

Reward Good Ideas

Communication will thrive when your employees feel heard and appreciated. Did an employee have a good idea that will help the practice grow? Reward him or her accordingly. Consider giving them a promotion or a bonus. Even thanking them in the presence of their teammates can show that you truly appreciate their efforts.

Understand that Everyone Communicates Differently

Like learning styles, everyone has a different communication style as well. For example, some team members may have no problem discussing things in a group, face-to-face. However, someone who is shy may not feel comfortable expressing their concerns in such a public manner.

Use a variety of communication approaches so that everyone is encouraged to share their opinions. Brainstorming sessions with each department can help with this. It’s also a good idea to set up a forum where employees can write down their ideas. These can be read out loud during team meetings so that everyone feels comfortable expressing their concerns.

Contact Prosperity Dental Solutions

The bottom line is: We all communicate differently. Be sure you’re fostering a space where every single person can share confidently and listen respectfully. Prosperity Dental Solutions can help you do that. Call us at (817) 975-4567, contact us online, or email jennifer@prosperitydentalsolutions.com.

[1] https://www.jointcommission.org/assets/1/6/tst_hoc_persp_08_12.pdf

[2] https://www.forbes.com/sites/lizryan/2018/04/17/the-top-ten-reasons-great-employees-quit/#45ffbb371cd5

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Practice Management, Implementation and Mentoring of Systems

 

Testimonials

Practice Management, Implementation and Mentoring of Systems

"I highly recommend Jennifer as a dental coach and as a person who understands what it takes to drive improvement. She has a wealth of experience and knowledge that makes her an invaluable tool in strengthening a practice. My practice has been successful, however, I knew that I wanted to take it to another level. Jennifer has a keen understanding of the ins and outs of running a practice, and what it takes to elevate all aspects of the practice. Whether it's a desire to improve treatment case acceptance, create more harmony and positive energy at the office, or implement the vision of the practice, Jennifer has the know how to make it happen. She says it as it is, and is down to earth and honest. I have already seen improvements across the board in my practice since we have been working together. I'm excited about the growth opportunity and confident that I have chosen a partner who understands the practice needs, and the intricacies needed to achieve the change I'm seeking. My team loves her and she has been a huge component in the success of my practice."

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