Every dental team knows chaos can ensue when a team member unexpectedly hands in their two-week notice out of the blue. The team leader races to find somebody to complete that person's tasks. And the team members need to work harder to keep the practice going with the gap the ex-employee left behind until a replacement is found. 

Racing to find somebody new to fill the role often results in a bad hire. Oftentimes, team leaders get desperate. When they can’t find a qualified candidate in the job pool, they hire somebody who doesn’t have the most extensive dental experience. The new employee gets to the practice, gets thrown into the deep end, and either sinks or swims. If they sink it can be costly: hiring one wrong person can cost a practice over $28,000. That’s for one person. If there are multiple bad hires, the entire team can suffer financially, as the costs to keep replacing people add up.

Dr. Glenn Vo sat down and talked with Stream Dental HR CEO Samantha Leonard to discuss what team members and team leaders can do when someone unexpectedly hands in their job notice.

What Team Leaders Should do When Someone Unexpectedly Quits

First and foremost, you can prevent chaos from ensuing by preparing for turnover before it even happens. The best time to get ready to make a new hire is when you don’t need a new hire. You want to be ready so when someone hands in that job notice, you aren’t blindsided. Think of it this way: you don’t buy insurance after your house catches on fire. You get insurance when your house isn’t on fire so you're protected if it does catch on fire. 

Samantha says one way to prepare for turnover is by developing a quality policy manual and detailed job descriptions. A policy manual is your practice guidelines. It tells your team exactly what you expect of them, why you do the things that you do, etc. It will put a new team member on the same page right from day one. A good job description will help you to know what you need for the role you are looking to fill. You'll know exactly what you're looking for when the time comes that a team member hands in their job notice.

Also, train your team members to support each other. If you do, they can have an easier time taking on gaps while you search for the right candidate. They'll also be able to train the new hire with ease because they themselves know how to perform that role.

What Team Members Can do When Someone Unexpectedly Quits

As a team member, the best thing you can do is master the role that the ex-employee left behind. That way, you can fill their role while the team leader is finding the right fit. Once the team leader finds the right fit, you can show them the ropes. 

Your team leader might want to do the training themselves. That's fine, but if they do delegate the task of training the new employee to you then you must know what to do. Otherwise, you can lose the trust of the team leader. 

When training the new employee, be efficient. Otherwise, you can overwhelm them and they won't learn anything. That won't help anyone and could result in more turnover. According to Samantha, 45% of employee turnover happens within the first 45 days. You can make it much less likely they'll quit by teaching them how to swim before throwing them in the deep end.

Don't get blindsided by turnover.

One thing to remember, the loss of a team member can be a blessing in disguise. If you're a team leader, Samantha says you need to start with the end in mind. Think about what you want your practice to look like in five years. Keep the end in mind as you develop a campaign to find the right candidate. And have training, manuals, and job descriptions that build a team that can absorb a loss until you find the right candidate. 

To learn more about building a strong dental practice, join the Trapped in an OP Facebook community. There, you can watch the full interview with Samanta and connect with other dental professionals working together to support each other in business and in life.