When one of your team members says, "can I talk to you at the end of the day?" your heart rate rises and you start to panic. It can only mean a few things: She just "accidentally" made an error that will impact a patient, she forgot to submit your Invisalign case, or-she's giving you her
two weeks' notice
As a boss and manager, you're going to face a team members
sooner or later. And whether she was your top clinical assistant that you thought was in for life or the assistant that you are glad to have leave, it's up to you to make the next two weeks-and the transition after-as smooth as possible for you, for your team, and for your soon-to-be former employee.
Your first step is to pay close attention to the team member's general attitude when they give their resignation. Does she express concern for continuing quality patient care and wrapping up her remaining duties? Or, does the resignation allow her to openly complain and disregard her remaining work? If her attitude is negative and will possibly taint the new team member in a negative way, it may be best to make today her last day. This will impact the team and patient flow but may be the best option for the situation.
If she will be staying on for a period, the next step is to work together to develop a transition plan. Her idea of what needs to be finished up before she leaves the practice may differ from yours, so it's important to collaboratively make a list of all her regular weekly duties and responsibilities. I always recommend that every duty in your practice have a responsible party and a backup person that can immediately take over in situations where the team member leaves immediately.
There may be the initial impact of losing a valued team member that makes you want to come back with a counteroffer, be realistic about why you are making it. While it may be true that they are a vital pillar of the team, it's more likely that you would rather throw money at the situation than deal with the turmoil caused by their departure. Remember that a counteroffer isn't a magic wand that will fix anything other than how they are being compensated. If there are other reasons why they want to leave, they are likely to remain, so you should weigh the pros and cons before making an offer.
After a review of her duties and responsibilities, you can evaluate the teams' current tasks and workload to determine if and when you need to hire a replacement. You may realize that now is a good time to restructure the position and how it fits into your team. You may decide that your schedule can be revised to continue to see the number of patients in your practice without a full time clinician.
Also, make certain you change all passwords in the office. Even when someone leaves on a positive note they can have access to private patient and financial information. This could leave the office open for a costly mistake if the employee leaves only to access the office's information to destroy or steal from a remote site. Studies have shown that it is quite common for employees to share passwords, which could possibly lead to illegal access.
Look for my October newsletter to discuss the importance of an exit interview and how to conduct one.