Ensuring a Seamless Separation « ePractice Manager | Systems for next-level growth

Ensuring a Seamless Separation

By ePractice Manager
April 28, 2022

Practice owners and managers know that the decision to terminate an employee should not be made lightly.  When it becomes clear that you need to end a team member’s employment, are given notice, or experience the sudden departure of an existing team member, having a predetermined sequence to follow makes a difficult situation much easier to navigate.

Conduct an audit of the personnel file and be sure to make note of:
 The team member’s length of employment,
 Any compensation and benefits the employee is receiving,
 Any training that has been provided to the employee,
 All of the employee’s previous performance reviews,
 And any corrective action taken, including formal disciplinary actions.

Make sure to amend any documentation regarding these matters as needed.

Create a document to serve as a guide for the doctor and manager, which will allow for the seamless navigation of conversations to follow.  It will be important to identify a date and time to meet with the employee that will be the least disruptive to the schedule, the patients, and the office.

Make a plan to brief the rest of the team, including:
 How they will be informed,
 Who will take over the work,
 And any plans for new hiring, additional training needed, etc.

Your staff will likely become aware of the event very soon after it occurs, so it is important that you have a meeting to ensure that the message remains consistent.

Utilize the checklist for employee separation to ensure practice safety, security, and recovery of any practice property and data.  Additionally, make sure to be aware of and adhere to all legal regulations, such as:
 Timeline for delivery of last paycheck
 Reconciliation of PTO and sick pay
 Handling of retirement plan
 Any residual benefits
 Termination of benefits

Ensure that the environment is right for the meeting.  It is important to keep it private (with a witness if warranted).

Complete all necessary documents in advance, such as a termination or acceptance of resignation letter, and ensure they are signed by management and ready to be signed by the employee.  Depending on the circumstances you may want to provide the employee with their original contract, signed NDA, signed employee handbook and anything else that will clearly outline how things move forward after separation.

In the case of termination the conversation should be short and to the point. Provide clear information without going into extensive detail.  Additional details can inflame the situation. The basics steps are as follows:

  1. Note the effective time and date of termination and state that the employee is being released
  2. Give the general reason or statement of at-will separation.
  3. Clearly lay out the next steps, including when the employee will remove personal items, return practice items, and how their final paycheck will be delivered.

The employee may want to ask questions or deliver information regarding the termination.  Unless information given is worthy of further investigation, it is best to minimize additional conversation.  We recommend you just listen, and avoid the impulse to respond in detail.

Acknowledge them, re-state that this is the action being taken, thank them for their contributions, and wish them well in the future.

Document the conversation
Note all details, decisions, and agreed upon timelines in the employee’s personnel file.  Make sure to send a uniform message to the team, which should include any specific verbiage to be used with vendors, patients, or other offices regarding the changes being made.

Here at ePractice Manager, we understand that running a practice is stressful, which is why we offer a full suite of onboarding, training, and management resources—to help you focus on what matters most, patient care.