PROACTIVE PRACTICE MANAGEMENT
of my employees sells cosmetics in her spare time, one hosts cookware
demonstrations and one has a child who is forever soliciting us to buy
cookies or raffle tickets. I applaud my employees for their energy and
drive but feel their business should be conducted on their time, away
from the office. Can I implement a policy prohibiting employees from
bringing other business into the office and if so, what’s the best way
to handle it professionally with the staff?”
Wow, I’ll bet this
takes us baby-boomers back to the days when multi-level marketing hit
the scenes with product being sold to friends and family at home. But
Amway and Shaklee buyers take note, now there are jewelry makers, purse,
lingerie and Botox parties, just to mention a few. Amway, long
considered one of the most successful company’s in America, grew from
people selling products part-time in the home direct to the customer
rather than through retail establishments. These part-time jobs for some
turned into multi-million dollar distribution networks yielding huge
dollars for the ambitious. Naturally, building a multi-level marketing
enterprise at times found their way into the workforce and sales
strategies were tried on co-workers to find even more customers. It
wasn’t unusual that employees at the job received unwanted
solicitations from motivated entrepreneurs wanting simply to build a
future for them. Unfortunately, some were doing it on someone else’s
Many times there is a
sense of pressure with these types of secondary businesses.
People will buy the product (cosmetics, cookies, cookware) not
because they really want these items, but because they don’t want to
hurt the other person’s feelings or feel the pressure of being the
only one not to but the mother-load of products. There is a sense of
obligation since the people who are selling the items are personal
friends. This ultimately
can create animosity between fellow employees not only within the
working environment but after hours as well.
For example, one employee neither sells items on the side nor
asks for employees to contribute to school fund drives, whereas another
employee constantly solicits her/his wares.
After awhile, constantly being harassed for purchases will get
old. Problems will percolate and tempers may boil over. Add to this the
encounters with patients in the office who are asked to buy something or
overhear employees discussing the secondary businesses. An action of
success, monetary value and happiness with even your most valued
employee could become a lesson of disaster that may backfire and cause
the business harm.
It would be very wise to
implement a policy prohibiting employees from soliciting secondary
businesses within the office. This
should apply not only with patients but also among employees. During working hours, the main task at hand should be focused
on dental matters. As an
employer, you should expect your employees are getting paid to do their
specific jobs, not discussing, thinking about, and conducting secondary
businesses on the side.
It is difficult to prohibit solicitations during
breaks when employees are off the clock such as lunch, but even then
selling should be discouraged.
question that comes up for me as an Advisor for dentists: “Are
employees putting forth the same effort encouraging patients to pursue
necessary dental services as they are Tupperware?”
this, it is sensible to consider placing the person selling the most
product that has nothing to do with dentistry, and has no obvious
problem with time management, away from direct patient contact and place
her/him in the treatment coordinator position responsible for gaining
case acceptance to necessary treatment from patients!
course, I’m using humor to make a point. Consider for a moment that a
great dental team, as in any successful business or even major sports
franchise, plays to its strengths. Sure, establish a policy that
prohibits solicitation of outside businesses within the office to both
employees and patients but consider the talent used to sell cosmetics,
kitchenware, or even laundry soap can be parlayed into case
presentations and ultimately help grow the business (dental office, of
course!) in the same way a successful sports team puts their key players
in a position to best utilize their skills.
sum up, if the Personnel Manual in the office does not make clear that
solicitation is not allowed, included it in an addendum or revision.
Here’s a sample:
spent on solicitation during work hours (exclusive of time spent off the
clock) by either the soliciting or solicited employee is prohibited.
Distribution or posting of literature on office property requires
would be wise to make clear that unprofessional conduct not allowed by
the office is better defined. Consider, “Unauthorized solicitation or
attending to personal affairs during work hours”.
finally, build your team around their strengths! Make your dental
practice a successful business by placing your employees in positions
that will utilize their skills and help patients become well. Watch the
byproduct come about in a full schedule, happy patients, and empowered