A staff member leaving the practice lowers morale of those left behind, and breeds suspicion about potential new hires. Finding a new technician after someone leaves requires careful planning. Ways to avoid hiring a practice "serial killer", a human resources nightmare, include performing thorough background checks and paying close attention to what previous employers are not saying. Nevertheless, sometimes a diamond-in-the-rough who did not work out for another practice becomes a gem for you.
These intangibles can range from potential salary demands that may exceed your current budget or pay scale, work schedule issues (part-time or full-time requirements), and having to train new staff into the daily life of your clinic.
But the biggest intangible that faces all managers seeking new hires is the potential of a practice "serial killer" infesting your clinic. I am sure that you have each hired at least one in your career-the person who interviews wonderfully but turns out to be a human resource nightmare upon entering your clinic doors.
Managing staff reaction
Announcing the loss of a fellow tech is difficult for the staff "left behind" to deal with-no matter what the technician's reason was for leaving. Whether the person is going back to school or changing fields, your staff goes through a mourning period. There will be scuttlebutt about why the person is leaving and the real truth, and then there is the gossip and supposition. And woe to you if the technician leaves for another job that pays more money. It doesn't matter if the new job means they are on 24-hour contact lens call or have to work Christmas day-they got more money! At this point, two scenarios usually begin to occur.
The first is what I call the 80% rule, also known as "Now that they are gone, they are saints." If the technician who is now gone was not well-liked or did a minimal job at best, the people who complained about that person 80% of the time will be the same people who will think that tech walked on water now that he or she is gone. This usually occurs because they feel guilty for complaining about the person who left. And, now that the tech is gone, the staff misses that person and has to work harder because the practice is short-staffed! As a result, any new person brought on board is going to have a hard time breaking into the fold. You'll need to monitor this closely. Fortunately, the technicians to whom this applies are usually quite visible, and you can keep the new hire away from them for a while until they assimilate.
The second scenario is, "Why am I still here, and what's the replacement going to be like?" This occurs because the remaining technicians think they are being left behind, and that the rumor that the grass is greener might really be true. They fear that someone is going to come on board and turn the tech world upside down, or as we call them in our office: practice "serial killers."
Profile of a practice 'serial killer'
I hate to say it-but I have hired a few practice serial killers in my career! Most of us have. Think about the profile of the practice serial killer: