5 Employee Problems and How to Solve Them

APRIL 12, 2016
Ryan Gray, MD
You do your best to attract qualified job candidates, ask the right interview questions and ultimately hire the best and the brightest to work at your practice. But, no matter what you do, it is inevitable that you will have problems with your workers from time to time.
 
And, although you cannot solve every problem for your employees, it will be your responsibility to figure out how to best manage any issues that arise. Here are some effective ways to manage common employee problems:
 
1. Poor attendance. When your employee is frequently missing work, showing up late or leaving early, it can cause problems with productivity. Whether the employee’s disappearing act is due to personal problems, child care issues or job dissatisfaction, your employee should still be expected to comply with your practice’s written attendance policy.
 
However, you should have an honest conversation with your employee to try to get to the bottom of what is going on. Depending on the reason for the absences, your practice’s policies and the laws in your state, your employee may qualify for certain types of leave. If your company offers an employee assistance program, you might consider offering your employee a referral. Or, providing that it won’t cause coverage issues or other problems in your office, you could consider offering the employee an alternate work schedule.
 
If your employee’s absenteeism is caused by job dissatisfaction, there is probably not much that you will be able to do to remedy the issue. Here’s the bottom line: Be sure you are comfortable with any accommodation that you agree to provide and stick to your time and attendance policy.
 
2. A bad fit. Your job applicant looked great on paper, but turned out to be lackluster in person. For whatever reason, your employee just doesn’t seem to be well-suited for his or her job.
 
You should consider a three- or six-month probationary period for all new hires. That should give you enough time to decide if the employee is working out. You should also make sure that you clearly outline your expectations and policies for new hires, and provide regular coaching and feedback.
 
Although you should not throw a new employee into the “deep end,” so to speak, when it comes to learning job responsibilities quickly, you should be sure to introduce the employee to all facets of his or her job during the probationary period. That way, if something isn’t working out, you have the opportunity to provide training to address the issue or, worst-case, terminate the employee before he or she becomes a permanent fixture.
 
3. A negative Nancy (or Nelson). Employees who are disgruntled, bad-mouth management and constantly complain are bad for your practice’s morale and work environment. Any grousing that takes place within earshot of patients must be stopped immediately.
 
Your best bet is to discuss the situation with the problem employee. Although this may be an uncomfortable conversation, you should be clear about the effect that complaining has on other workers, patients and your practice’s reputation—and stress that it will not be tolerated. If you are firm about your expectations, your employee will be forced to either get his or her act together or start looking for a new job.
 
Dave Ramsey says that gossip is a cancer in the workplace and I agree 100%. The problem is that most people don’t define it the same way. Here is how you should define gossip (outside of the normal ‘talking about people behind their backs’): going to someone to air your grievances who can’t help solve them. This means going to your co-worker who isn’t a supervisor and complaining about hours. They can’t fix it – it just makes you feel good.



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