Doctor, you find out two of your employees are ‘stealing time’. What do you do?
I received an interesting call the other day from a dental office I’ve worked with in the past. Here is what the office manager had to say:
“Jan, I need to pick your brain for advice. My two front office girls have been clocking each other in and out (when one isn’t there) to gain hours. Do I give them a verbal warning to cut it out, or tell my boss what’s going on? It’s theft, it’s illegal and it’s certainly grounds for termination, but I also can’t lose two front office workers!! They are really great and efficient. Ugh!”
Rather than me telling you what I would do, I am asking you to tell me what you would do.
Maybe this is something you want to discuss in your next staff meeting? Maybe you know exactly what you would do right now and would be willing to share it with me and my readers. You can reply in confidence of course.
I will email again in the next few weeks with your feedback, and also tell you what I told her. It’s an interesting dilemma and I’m sure you’ve faced something similar in your own practice.
Thanks for participating if you can, otherwise stay tuned for my next email!
Update and my advice:
The OM contacted me again with this additional information:
The practice has 4 doctors/3 hygienists.
The owner doctor is only in the office one day a week and appears to be difficult to communicate with.
Two of the associates, one of whom is planning on purchasing the practice, don’t want the OM to address it or tell the practice owner. Question: Why not?
They don’t want him to know and “fire everyone”. Question: Is this a habit of his?
My advice to the OM:
I told the OM my advice was to approach the doctor/owner and tell him she has observed the actions first-hand. “Tara” was clocked in but was not in the practice working.
Suggest to the doctor that the practice implement fingerprint time clock to prevent future issues.
Also, ask him how he wants to handle the situation, putting the ball in his court.
There is a consultant involved in the practice. I suggested the practice engage the consultant’s help with addressing this situation with the owner.
Further, from what I understand, the HR manual sounds like it is almost non-existent. The OM might want to address this with both the consultant and owner to get them into HR Compliance. (Also look into whether or not the practice is HIPAA and OSHA compliant.)
Please continue reading to find out what other dental professionals recommend.