Home Forums Practice Management 8 HR NIGHTMARES & HOW TO AVOID THEM

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  • Samantha Leonard

    For some, chilling ghost stories are their guilty pleasures…something fun to watch on the weekends but horrifying HR nightmares are somethings that leave you breaking out in a cold sweat. Terrifying tales of lack of effective HR systems, irretrievable paperwork, and staffing shortages can cause many hours upon hours of headaches and hair pulling.

    Luckily, when equipped with the right strategies, you can prevent these scenarios from becoming a recurring nightmare in your practice. Here are some common HR horror stories haunting countless Dental Offices along with tips on avoiding these crises.

    Outdated Policies

    Outdated policies and employee handbooks are a recipe for disaster. Even worse are policies that are inaccurate and not being followed. Handbooks and policies should be reviewed regularly by experienced HR professionals and/or legal counsel. Once the policies are in place, they should be communicated to employees and followed by everyone.

    Failing to Document

    Document properly and often. When issues arise in your daily work, document what is happening. If an employee is consistently late and you have warned them about this, document the tardiness as well as your counseling.

    Just keep documentation centered on the facts and leave out your personal feelings. Keeping this information securely in the respective employee files for easy access and tracking.

    Allowing an Employee To Become A Liability

    Always be precise and thorough in documenting employee performance problems, violations, and complaints.  Expecting the problem to disappear on its own will never work; properly addressing employee problems is the best way to solve them.

    Clear Job Descriptions

    Make sure a job description for each position and employee in your practice. This job description should be clear and expresses expected duties.  Using terms with solid definitions and not concepts can make it easier to determine whether or not a candidate meets such requirements and makes performance reviews more straightforward in monitoring an employee’s abilities and tasks.

    Delivering poor employee orientation experiences

    New hires that encounter a poorly facilitated job orientation and onboarding & integration process can begin their journey on bad footing. Don’t spook your new employees with a less than stellar first impression of your practice. You want to prevent workforce zombies and foster engaged team members with an onboarding process that is fully comprehensive in terms of information-sharing, knowledge-building, and skills-training with regular check-ins in-between. When you make new employees feel valued from the get-go, you can build a strong working relationship founded on respect and loyalty.

    REMEMBER: You can not expect to throw your new hire into the deep end and expect them to turn into an Olympic swimmer! Proper onboarding & integration that includes an effective training process can make or break their success.

    Losing your top employees

    No employer wants to see their best talent walk out of their office doors. If you find that your top performers are leaving your company, be proactive in preventing turnover from becoming a recurring trend. If growing vacancies are left unchecked, it will be a poor reflection on your company’s image as a good workplace. In addition to gathering intel through exit interviews, take comments gathered from employee performance reviews and feedback forms seriously. Get insight into what your team like and dislike about working for you and your practice and take their suggestions as an opportunity to improve and become a more competitive employer.

    Being unprepared when handling workplace mistreatment reports

    Your mission-critical priority as an owner or manager is to ensure that your people feel safe. If an employee feels threatened in what should be a safe space, that is an urgent issue that must be addressed immediately. If reports of workplace misconduct — such as incidents of harassment, bullying or discrimination — are responded to and handled poorly, this can have a detrimental effect on your entire practice. Treat the situation with importance by listening to your employee and working to resolve the issue. If you feel ill-equipped to handle the situation, seek assistance from an HR consultant to help you with next steps. By taking your employee’s experience seriously, you will reassure your employee that they matter.

    Experiencing staffing shortages

    You know the scenario — due to an oversight on your part, you approved time off requests from various members of your team, only to later realize you neglected to confirm that there will be ample coverage in the office during that week. Avoid staffing shortages and interruptions to the workflow by having an effective vacation request protocols. Having the proper channels of communication and keeping track of who is on holidays when will save you from this preventable disaster!

    I have only listed 8 but there are plenty more HR nightmares which I am sure you could easily list off with your eyes closed and hands tied behind your back! The reassuring part is that ALL of these HR nightmares are preventable! The success of your practice and your sanity is worth investing in establishing an effective HR program for your practice. This involves MUCH more than a handbook to prevent these HR nightmares. Having the right HR documents, letters, forms, policies work along with the handbook to implement your practice guidelines. Your team will understand whats expected of them and have everyone on the same page–working TOGETHER!

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