Hiring, Firing, and Everything in Between
By Diana Heineken
Since 2020, practices have struggled immensely with finding and maintaining staff. Staff shortages have been at the top of the priority list for organized dentistry. The dental society has been working on combating this issue with piloting a dental assisting program throughout the state and working on several other legislative measures to create more efficient pathways to dental careers.
At the practice level, what can we do to ensure that we are doing our part in providing supportive work environments to keep our high performing staff? Have we considered accommodations when we have staff that require disability leave? What are we doing to make sure that when we are letting go of someone who is not a good fit, we are following employment law protocols? Have you considered if your practice would function better on an alternative 4-10 schedule?
You are not alone! These are all questions CDA’s practice support can answer!
Let’s start at the core of all offices- the updated Employee Handbook.
Key word- updated.
When was the last time you updated your handbook to reflect your current practice? Go dust that binder off and start anew. CDA Practice Support has Employee Manual Resources to help you have the template to begin building your handbook. This will allow you to customize but ensure you have all the key points included such as:
- Benefits offering details (PTO, holidays, health insurance, in-house benefits, etc.)
- Leave of absence policies and procedures that apply to your practice
- An understanding of mandatory paid sick leave requirements for FT and PT employees
- Rate of pay for mandatory meetings, training, travel time and on-call work
- Alternate work schedule and its impact on benefits, as applicable
Second, let’s look at hiring and firing. This is my favorite tab under Employment Practices. Let’s be real, employment law is very convoluted and oftentimes comes back to haunt you, even when all your actions are well-intentioned and justified. This section provides toolkits with sample interview questions, offer letters, checklists for onboarding a new employee, and a complete employment law legal reference guide for California dentists on how to let a staff member go. Protect yourself by reviewing these resources prior to engaging with your staff on HR related concerns. Too often we see our colleagues battle preventable lawsuits from temporary hires, lack of complete employee files, and incorrectly delivered final paychecks.
Last and most important, let’s dive in to vp how we foster a work environment that our staff will love. This is the key to retention. Organizing your benefits such as paid sick leave, maternity/parental leave protocols, paid time off, health benefits, team bonuses, etc, will provide your team with a sense of work security. Our responsibility as the leaders in our practice is to provide an equitable, secure, and safe environment for our team members.
There’s no one size-fits-all approach and a well-developed handbook for your office will benefit both you as the dentists, as well as the team. Find time to sit down and revisit your office manuals and go over it with your staff.
If you have questions, visit CDA Practice Support or call them directly for specific advice.