Hiring the right person for your practice can be tricky, because if you want to find a true “gem,” you have to evaluate more than a person’s qualifications. You have to hire for good culture-fit, too. And unfortunately, that’s a quality you aren’t going to find on any job board—or even a resumé, for that matter. This special “it” factor is something you have to intentionally look for during the hiring process. So, why is culture fit so important? Well, research shows that when you hire for culture-fit, your employees are happier, perform better at work, and are more likely to stick around. Sounds ideal, right?

What happens, though, when your knack for hiring great people goes awry, and you end up hiring an employee who’s a bad fit for your business? Or, maybe you hire an awesome employee, but you find out that you’ve overstaffed? Well, my first piece of advice is to do whatever it takes to avoid coming down with the blues. And the only way to steer clear of that sadness cycle is taking action to make the situation better. Here’s what you can do:

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1. Determine the Problem

To come up with an appropriate solution to a bad-fit situation, you first have to get to the bottom of your issues with the employee. Ask yourself the following questions:

Did I hire the wrong person?

It can be difficult to suss out whether a candidate is a good fit for a business based on his or her resumé alone. As this FastCompany article explains, “A great employee is an integral part of a company’s culture, so in the hiring process, an interviewee’s ability to add to company culture is just as important as their initial qualifications.” And if you haven’t taken the time to evaluate culture fit during the interview process—or haven’t asked the right questions—it’s easy to make a bad hiring call (i.e., bring the wrong person on board). Want to find out if you’ve hired the wrong person for your team? Here are some telltale signs, as adapted from this VisionSpark article. An employee is a bad hire if he or she:

  • Doesn’t share your company goals,
  • Fails to work cohesively with the team,
  • Makes excuses, and/or
  • Struggles to fulfill his or her job role.

Or, are things just not working out as I had planned?

Now, if you identify with the previous list, your hiring methods might be to blame for your bad hire. However, sometimes an employee is an excellent hire, but he or she simply isn’t the right fit for your specific business. This may be the case if the employee:

  • Works well with the other team members,
  • Is passionate about the same goals, and
  • Possesses the skills necessary to do the job well,

However, he or she may:

  • Seem disengaged with his or her work,
  • Be failing to meet your company’s expectations, or
  • Not appear to be needed based on his or her workload.

Figuring out how to address that last bullet point is tough, because sometimes your business simply can’t support another team member. It’s a huge bummer when you have a great employee and things aren’t working out, because you still have to come up with a solution to the problem.

2. Develop a Solution

So, you’ve nailed down the specific hiring problem you’re experiencing in your practice. Nice work! That means you have all the facts—thus, you have a solid foundation for making well-informed decisions in the future. Now, before you go and get in a tizzy about firing employees, remember that making personnel adjustments doesn’t always equate to letting employees go. However, as you plan your next steps, FastCompany suggests that you “be very thoughtful about evaluating what would happen if that person were to stay on.” If you conclude that your employee is too good to let go, but your business can’t support a full-time salary, talk to him or her about staying on part-time or working on an “on call” basis. If he or she is able to work with your scheduling requirements, you might be able to keep your great employee while still meeting your business needs.

On the other side of the spectrum, if you find that your employee isn’t living up to your expectations, you can use this as a coaching opportunity to help the employee change his or her behavior to meet your standards. If you need more advice on giving employee feedback—and who doesn’t?—check out this webinar from Drs. Heidi Jannenga and Daphne Scott. During the presentation, they cover everything you need to know about giving and receiving feedback at work. But, even if you do become a pro at constructive coaching, sometimes your hard work isn’t enough to save a bad-fit employee relationship. And if you find you’ve made a bad hire and the person is dragging down your team and/or adversely affecting your business, it might be time to let him or her go. The sooner you can cut ties, the better. And don’t forget to be transparent with your team when they ask questions about the termination. Because happy teams come from California—uh, I mean, transparent leadership.

3. Ditch the Self-Pity

I get it: this whole running a business thing is tough, and I’m guessing I don’t need to tell you that twice—or even once, for that matter. And part of owning your role as a leader is making decisions you don’t necessarily want to make. Because truly, no one wants to let an employee go—whether that employee is good or bad. Heck, most people don’t want to deal with letting a bad employee go—but you have to bounce back. Because when you address challenges head-on and with kindness, a plan, and a purpose, you lead by example and inspire your team to face their own problems in the same way.

So, if you’re not super happy about a bad fit in your practice and you know it, clap your hands—or at least don’t succumb to singing the blues. You have all the tools you need to make tough calls with a positive attitude. And your team, your business, and even your patients will all be better for it.


Have you had to make hard employee-fit decisions in your practice? Tell us your story in the comments section below.

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