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Trust, but verify

Nov. 15, 2016
While many employees are deserving of our praise, there are some who are undeserving of our trust. Chris Salierno, DDS, chief editor of Dental Economics, explains his philosophy on protecting the dental practice from employee fraud and theft.
Chris Salierno, DDS, Chief Dental Officer, Tend

Allow me to start off by saying that we all owe a tremendous debt to our office teams. We pay them and, hopefully, we praise them, but a cohesive staff is worth its weight in gold. They are the key ingredient to a profitable and stress-free day at work.

That being said, unfortunately there are members of the workforce who are undeserving of our trust. You have read tales in Dental Economics of fraud and theft that make the hairs on the back of your neck stand straight up. Jeanne Giovenco shares one of those stories in this issue, and it is equally horrifying. But, as she points out, there was a trail of red flags that should have signaled to the owner that something was amiss. The signs were there.

ALSO BY DR. CHRIS SALIERNO | Dodging the Minotaur

Unfortunately, some owners micromanage and stand over the shoulders of their employees due to a lack of trust. Perhaps some of them have been burned in the past. Although that sort of behavior may help deter fraud and theft, it certainly doesn't make for a pleasant work environment. So what's the solution?

Personally, I subscribe to the philosophy of "trust, but verify." Set expectations for your team, lay them out clearly in an employee manual, and then get out of the way for the most part. Periodic examination in a quiet, noninvasive way ensures that cash is flowing correctly and that hours are being logged accurately. There is a way to let your team know you are keeping track of their efforts without giving off the Big Brother vibes.

ALSO BY DR. CHRIS SALIERNO |Get your hands on the future of dental technology

Dental Economics is always home to detailed content on human resources, thanks to authors like Rebecca Boartfield, Tim Twigg, and Dianne Watterson. Creating your dental office dynasty need not be left to the fates. There can be a little luck involved with attracting the right people, but training them, inspiring them, and rewarding their morality is a system.


Chris Salierno, DDS

[email protected]

About the Author

Chris Salierno, DDS | Chief Dental Officer, Tend

Chris Salierno, DDS, is a general dentist from Long Island, New York. He graduated from Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine in 2005. Dr. Salierno lectures internationally on clinical dentistry, practice management, and leadership development. In 2017 he became a chief development officer with the Cellerant Consulting Group, and he was the chief editor of Dental Economics from 2014 to 2021. In 2021, he became the chief dental officer at Tend. He can be reached on Instagram @the_curious_dentist.

Updated May 13, 2022

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