I have a management situation that I've never had to deal with before. I'm a dentist, my office is small, 10 employees. One of my hygienists, P, has been with me for the last 6 years. Excellent technical skills, very reliable employee. She's a very high C personality--think Gil Grissom. At our one-on-one last week she tells me that she's feeling like she wants a change, will be looking to move out of the city but doesnt' know when. It could be towards the end of this year, maybe even next year. How the hell do I deal with that? Do I keep her on the office Leadership Commmittee I've formed? Do I continue to pay for and send her to CE courses? Do I simply start looking for a replacement for her and let her go when I find one? I have a zillion thoughts right now.
I've asked her if this has any specific issues behind it--money, position, etc and she tells me no she simply feels like a change--and I can respect that. But I just have never had to deal with a "Doc I'm leaving but I don't know exactly when".
Any thoughts?

rwwh's picture
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Is it a problem to discuss what is on your mind with her?

tlhausmann's picture
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Be their biggest champion. "Wow, you're doing a great job here and when it comes time I'll be a great reference. Tell me more about what you would like to do!"

Ask about career development. Do no penalize folks for wanting to grow in their profession.

mdave's picture

Congratulations. I sounds like your relationship with her is such that she is willing to share a lot. Penalizing her by reducing opportunities can have a cascading impact on the rest of your staff as they watch her role (and your perceived value of her) dimish and they will think twice about what they share with you in the future. This may be an opportunity to think about your practice and your employee structure relative to the ability to retain employees who desire some growth in their skills.

tg4dk's picture

I appreciate the comments. I'm not looking to be any type of vindictive in this. She has been a very good employee. It is difficult in that her job--dental hygienist-is a somewhat repetative position and there is not a lot that can change that. I offer lots of CE opportunities and additional management CE skills but as far as the management type things, she admits she just doesn't care about it, so that limits me a lot.

tomas's picture

I think MDave is correct - how you treat the employee who is thinking of leaving can have a major impact on those who remain.

My philosophy is that you should never penalise an employee for being upfront about wanting to leave. She only did that because of the relationship you have built up over time - penalising her at this point would be breach of that trust relationship and if you do that, don't expect other exployees to be as open. She could have just waiting until she decided what she wanted to do and given you the minimum notice required - but she has decided to trust you that information when you are in a position of power over her.

You might want to stop some of CE courses if she has expressed disinterest in them. And you can start looking around for possible replacements. Try to have the employee keep you updated about her thought process. Who knows, she might find the change she is looking for outside of her work environment and decide to stay on. But you need to show your other employees that if they are open with you it won't work to their detriment.

Good luck!

RobRedmond's picture

Just pretend like she never said it and go on as before assuming she will work there forever until you finally get an end date. "I may resign next year" doesn't mean anything. Sounds like you are trusted to hear it and she wants you to have time to get ready. That's very nice.

Take no action. Don't beg her to stay or offer anything to keep her. Don't kick her out or otherwise start withdrawing benefits or support intended to promote interest in staying.

Just pretend like she didn't say it.