Breaking Up Is Hard to Do…by Dr. Ron Arndt
It’s inevitable that team members move on. One of the difficult aspects of working with people is that people change. They change their goals, change where they live, change their stage of life.
How you respond to departing employees will impact the retention of the team members who remain, so follow my four tips to make an exit less painful and benefit from former dental practice employees.
- When an employee leaves, conduct an “Exit Interview.” Spend 15 minutes to ask them about what they most enjoyed while working in the office, the reasons they are leaving (there are usually several), and what they would suggest you do better in the future. Take notes and file them. When you notice consistent themes in exit interviews, take action to improve a condition of employment in your practice.
- Always speak in positive terms. Here’s an alert for you: If you are in charge, someone is always paying attention. If your treatment of those departing is consistent with how you treat everyone else, their trust in your leadership will grow.
- Give people choices. Even when an employee’s departure is involuntary, they deserve to be treated respectfully. You might give them the opportunity to resign first. Let them choose how they will say goodbye to their teammates. They will respect you for honoring them as a person.
- Nurture your alumni. Keep former employees on your e-mail newsletter and holiday card list so they are updated on your practice. Remember: former employees are a great source of future referrals – both employees and patients. Alumni can also be a source for emergency backup or extra hands for a special project. When the relationship and exit was done respectfully and professionally, they will be happy to hear from you and to help out.