The “Ripple” Effect Resulting From Retaining ONE Inappropriate Employee
The one most prevalent theme that I’ve experienced during my tenure as an HR Dental Counselor and Dental Team Management Coach has been the negative effects of maintaining the wrong team member within the group.
I truly believe that this is the one major factor that contributes to the majority of stress, lack of poor customer service, efficiency, and in some cases business failures due to not taking proper and sometimes immediate action by the employer.
With this said, I felt it was time to address this problem head on, to be direct and supply my blog readers with a list of “indicators” that, when recognized and attended to, can avoid the fall-out that might result when an aggressive approach is taken.
First I’d like to review my observations as to why this phenomenon occurs as often as it does, and why in spite of all the major signs and problems it produces, business owners (in this case dentists) are reluctant to manage this area properly even though in their heart of hearts they know the numerous challenges that can result from delaying the inevitable.
“So why does this happen, Deb”? This is a question I’m asked frequently, mostly from team members.
Here is my assessment as to why the squeaky wheel, bad apple, or inadequate team member tends to get ignored and some of the questions dentists ask themselves to defend their decision to hold off and, in other cases, do nothing and hope that the employee simply resigns .
- Dentists have a fear of confrontation (particularly if the reason the employee is not appropriate for the practice is due to an assertive personality).
- “What will the patients think”?
- “What will the other team members think”?
- “What about the position it puts the dismissed team member and their family in? “How will they manage without this job and minus a pay check?”
- “Who knows if I will ever find someone better”?
- “Maybe she is the best there is for my practice.”
- “Who has the time to go through the hiring routine again”?
- “The team will be impacted by the inconvenience of the interview process and then there is the training”.
- “Every new employee needs some training. No one on the team will have the patience for the new hire to get up to speed.”
And now the fall-out, and what results from maintaining this inappropriate employee:
- They will cause unrest among the other team members, some of which you (the employer) may not even be aware of.
- They make the workload tougher for the remaining valuable, hard-working employees.
- Often the good employees lose patience with the unhealthy situation and they feel there is no alternative but to leave the practice.
- Patients often don’t care to make waves, but there will be many that slowly drift off based on possible negative interaction they have experienced with the employee in question.
- The team productivity is reduced greatly.
- The team morale drops rapidly and it shows to those that enter the practice, i.e.; patients, peers and vendors.
- You, the dentist, knows there is a black cloud hovering over your practice. You feel it, you know it, but attempt to ignore it and when the day is done the pressure hits you like a ton of bricks.
- Often the negative energy that is experienced by those that enter your office can spread outwardly to the community you serve.
So in essence, we are sacrificing quite a bit just to maintain one ineffective team member. The impact is great, and involves many, as this non-valuable employee continues to maintain a position within your practice. Their presence infiltrates numerous areas and if not caught and attended to quickly, the damage can be great.
Why is it that this single person who is clearly disrupting the positive forward motion of a practice gets a “free pass”, while all the good, valuable team members are forced to work even harder adjusting to this “obstacle”. Not only is the environment disrupted, but they are now required to not only manage their responsibilities, but they are chugging even harder to pick up the slack so as to cover the areas that have been ignored by the inadequate employee.
Ultimately what has happened is that the employer is sacrificing the effectiveness of all the good, dedicated employees (not to mention the overall health of the practice) for the sake of this one underperformer.
I hope this insight might provide some food for thought to address this pervasive and devastating “epidemic”.