Documenting Poor Job Performance in Your Optometry Practice
Managing an optometry practice is challenging in the best of circumstances: You have to book and re-book appointments every day, submit insurance paperwork, ensure patients are getting their glasses correctly and on-time, and keep the lights on. However, you also have to manage your employees, and this is where an added wrinkle can come into play: What happens if there are job performance issues? How can you work to improve employee performance and address underperformance?
The best thing you can do is make sure you are documenting this performance. Doing so is necessary for two reasons. First, it allows you to find specific examples of performance issues for improvement. Second, it ensures you have evidence if you need to terminate the employee in question as a result of the poor employee performance.
Communicating With Poorly Performing Team Members
If you have job performance issues with an employee in your optometry practice, you owe it to them—and to yourself—to communicate those issues. No one wants to move from everything being fine to an abrupt termination.
This means that you need to communicate these issues with your employees. This is the expectation of a good manager and unquestionably the advice of HR professionals. If you are dreading those conversations, remember this: An uncomfortable conversation now will save an even more difficult one later.
When you need to have one of these conversations, you should sit down with your employee in a private place. You owe it to your employee to have an uninterrupted and confidential conversation. If you do not directly manage the employee in question, you should have their manager in on the conversation. This is important, as their manager will be more familiar with the work performance of the individuals in question.
Discuss the performance issues, laying out specific examples based on the documentation you had previously put together. For example, you should have dates, times, and what occurred, including responsibilities that were mismanaged and the impact of those incidents. You should also develop a performance improvement plan that lays out what you need your employee to do to improve their performance and any specific metrics to meet.
If you need help, good news: HR for Health has templates available that you can use to write up violations in your optometry practice. We also have templates for both formal and informal violations that makes it easy to track all of these details.
You should always have evidence of performance issues . At HR for Health, our cloud-based documentation can keep securely track of any documents, including complaints from patients. Suppose you are attempting to improve your timekeeping software. In that case, our electronic timekeeping provides to-the-second accuracy and can ensure that your employees are always able to clock in and out securely.
Make sure to follow-up accordingly with the employee in question. Regular check-ins can help with this, and can prevent the need for future interventions. HR for Health clients can upload notes from check-ins to your management level documents.
Benefits of Documenting Job Performance
As awkward as it may be, there are many benefits to documenting job performance at your optometry practice.
First and foremost: It raises the standard for all employees. If your employees know that you are tracking their performance and behavior, they will be more motivated to improve. At the same time, documenting your employee can help create a space to have a conversation with employees about their performance. Employees may not even know that there are performance issues. By documenting these issues, then discussing them with your employees, you are more likely to see the improvements you need.
These conversations will help with your patients! After all, better-performing employees will make your clients happier.
Remember, documenting performance issues isn’t just for your employees. It’s also to provide you with legal protections. By documenting performance issues and conversations, you can address questions about discrimination or wrongful termination, if these issues ever arise.
Last, remember, documenting employee issues can help you, as the practice owner and employer, too. It can give you an opportunity to determine what you can do to address these issues, such as offering additional training or more frequent check-ins to provide additional support.
What Is Your HR Policy for Underperforming Team Members?
You need a human resources policy that lays out the expectations at your optometry practice. You also need to make sure to explain what will happen to employees who do not meet these expectations.
Unsure of what this would look like? Remember, the policy should lay out specifics about how employees must improve, and by what date. You’ll also want to make sure you are clear about the consequences for failing to make the desired improvements. For example, you can state that a failure to improve by “x” date may lead to disciplinary action up to and including termination from your practice. Your policy should not be 100% proscriptive, as this may leave you without any options. It should simply explain potential methods of management for poor job performance and how certain issues, like a lack of ability or lack of motivation, should be addressed.
Whatever your policy is, it is vitally important to lay out how you will manage poor job performance in your employee handbook. This specificity ensures the development of a consistent policy that you can apply fairly to all of your employees. It also protects you from any legal issues in the future. If you need help with creating such a policy, HR for Health is here, and we can help you develop an employee handbook that is up to date with the latest federal, state, and local laws. We can also regularly update your handbook as employment law changes.
What You Need To Know
If you have an employee suffering from poor job performance at your optometry practice, you owe it to yourself and your team to communicate these issues. You should always document any performance issues and conversations you have with your employees about these topics. You should create a written policy that will specifically explain how you will manage these issues.
How HR for Health Can Help
If your optometry practice needs help managing HR, documenting employee issues, and ensuring that you are appropriately developing plans that can help you improve employees or move on from poorly performing ones, HR for Health is here to help. We have all the resources you need to improve your HR systems, manage poor job performance, and create the world-class optometry practice that your staff and patients deserve. Want more information? Contact HR for Health today to schedule a fifteen-minute consultation and learn more about how HR for Health can improve your practice.