Ask Joe: What To Do When Someone Quits | PoP 611

Image of Joe Sanok. On this therapist podcast, podcaster, consultant and author, talks about what to do when someone quits.

Have you had someone recently quit? How can you make someone quitting your practice into an opportunity for growth? What are some tips for rehiring when the time comes?

In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks about What to Do When Someone Quits: Ask Joe.

Podcast Sponsor: Thursday Is The New Friday

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In This Podcast

  • Use it as an opportunity
  • Sometimes people just aren’t a good fit
  • Evaluate that position
  • Tips for rehiring

Use it as an opportunity

When someone decides to leave the practice, use it as an opportunity to evaluate yourself in that process:

  • What did you do well?
  • What can you do differently in the future?

Consider having an exit conversation with this person, whether virtual or in-person, to give them and you a chance to discuss the matter politely and resolve any loose ends.
They may want to write something up instead, and that is fine as well. Allowing them to express themselves can bring about a healthy shift.

Sometimes people just aren’t a good fit

It can happen that a person might not be the best fit for the practice, and it is okay to let them go.

The way you run your practice may not be a fit for everyone and that doesn’t mean that when someone leaves that you have to adjust or change based on that feedback, because some people may say that they wanted something that you weren’t willing to give. (Joe Sanok)

Recognize what kind of culture you have in your practice and how you want to preserve it. Sometimes people are not suitable for certain cultures, and that does not mean you have to change the business to suit someone.

Evaluate that position

When someone quits your practice, evaluate the position that the person was in.
Do you want someone who is going to replace that person? Or could you revise this position and change up the department?

It’s a great chance to say “do we want to reorganize in a different way? Do we want to hire someone exactly the same as who’s leaving, or do we maybe want to do this a little bit differently?” It’s a great chance to reevaluate how you structured your business. (Joe Sanok)

Tips for rehiring

  • Look at what types of clinicians you want moving forward
  • What kinds of phone calls are you getting, and can you hire someone to fill that niche?
  • How can you replicate yourself? Train someone up who works in a similar capacity to you so that over time you can move out of counseling and into being a full-time boss.

Having someone quit can be a shock to your system and might leave the practice in an awkward place for a short while. Be sure in these moments to practice your self-care, and use your financial buffers to keep the practice afloat.

Books mentioned in this episode:

Image of the book Thursday Is The New Friday written by Joe Sanok. Author Joe Sanok offers the exercises, tools, and training that have helped thousands of professionals create the schedule they want, resulting in less work, greater income, and more time for what they most desire.

Useful Links mentioned in this episode:

Check out these additional resources:

Meet Joe Sanok

A photo of Joe Sanok is displayed. Joe, private practice consultant, offers helpful advice for group practice owners to grow their private practice. His therapist podcast, Practice of the Practice, offers this advice.

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

Thanks For Listening!

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Podcast Transcription

[JOE SANOK] This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok, session, number 611.

Well, I’m Joe Sanok your host and welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast. I’m so excited that you are here today. Every single week we do this Ask Joe show where you can submit your questions all about private practice and I answered them to the best of my ability. Maybe I don’t nail it, maybe I do. Who knows? It’s a crap shoot, but I’ll share my experiences, share my thoughts on some quick ways that you can level up in your practice. So if you want to submit your questions, you can just go over to We’ve got about half a year of questions. So this seems to be taken off pretty well to have this bonus show each week, all around private practice questions. So today this question is from Marissa Mundy from Restorative Counseling Services in Atlanta, Georgia, and Marissa asks how to handle a therapist quitting.

How do you handle a therapist quitting. So pretty excited about this question because I remember back when I had my practice, Mental Wellness Counseling in Traverse city, Michigan we had, I think 11 or 12 therapists when we were at our peak and there was this one therapist and I remember doing the intake interview with her, and I really wanted to play therapist. I really wanted someone that could help kids, but there was something that just didn’t sit, but I hired her anyway. It was one of those moments where I really learned an important lesson about slowing down when you’re hiring. Because when you hire someone on, you really want them to match the culture and this individual would often kind of cause drama. We were a no-drama office before this person.

So this person shared an office with someone that helped angry teenagers and this individual would like leave scissors out. So then when that next therapist would come in, they’d put the scissors away because they were dealing with angry kids. They didn’t want to have scissors out from the play therapy. And then there’d be a scathing email that went out to the whole team that said, “Where are my scissors? Who keeps moving my scissors?” And then it became this big thing. I remember eventually giving this person feedback on that and saying, “I think it’s time for you to go. This just isn’t really a good fit,” and she broke down crying. And I realized in that moment, that giving feedback, not just when you’re about to let someone go but ongoing if there’s issues so that someone sees that there’s a chance to change is really important when you’re a supervisor or an owner.

So I created a plan with that person in regards to how often to email, like what kind of things are really worth getting all bent out of shape over at least within our culture. So it was like, she’d get all mad if someone printed something off of her printer and wanted 50 cents for the ink. And I mean, I get that there’s times when you’re on a budget, but if that’s that important to you don’t bring your own personal printer into the office. And there’s just so many different things. What ended up happening is she wanted to just kind of leave and start her own practice and even though I had a non-compete, we both decided that it was better for her to go.

So sometimes when someone leaves it’s just a good thing. It’s a chance to reassess, a chance to say what did I do well, what could I have improved on? I do think that if someone’s quitting to do some sort of exit conversation. I don’t think it needs to be a full on interview. That can be either in person sometimes if that person wants to write something up about what could improve. It’s a chance for you to reflect on yourself, but also sometimes people just aren’t a fit. The way you run your practice may not be a fit for everyone. And that doesn’t mean that if someone leaves that you have to adjust or change based on that feedback, because some people may say that they wanted something that you weren’t willing to give. So for example, with Mental Wellness Counseling, I wanted it to be a place that we could show up, do good work and go home.

I wasn’t looking to have another set of friends, another set of family. I wasn’t looking to hang out for an extra hour after work and just chit chat it up. No, I wanted to show up, do my work and go home. I was busy, I had young kids, I had friends, I had a full life outside of my business. So I personally was not looking to be chummy with my coworkers. Now I wanted to get along with them. I wanted to support them. And that was a fine line that I had to learn to walk where I could be approachable, but also realize I had bigger things I was working on. I mean, I was working on Practice of the Practice, I was working on growing the podcast, and those were big goals for me. Mental Wellness Counseling was something that it was great to have, but I knew I was clear on what I wanted out of that.

So if someone left and said, “Joe, you need to have more barbecues with everybody and you need to have more connections.” Yes, maybe I would choose to do that, but also a lot of the people I attracted were people in similar situations to me where maybe they had a full-time job and they wanted to come into evenings a week and make a bunch of money and they wanted to help a bunch of people, or they want to dip their toes into private practice and see if that was something that they wanted to do. So knowing what kind of culture you have and then taking that feedback or not taking that feedback when someone leaves is really important.

Also when someone quits evaluate that position. So if that was a counselor position, do you want someone that’s just going to replace that person or it could be a chance to revise things. So especially if it’s an executive assistant or some sort of virtual assistant, it’s a great chance to say, “Do we want to reorganize in a different way? Do we want to hire someone exactly the same as the one who is leaving or maybe we want to do this a little bit differently?” So it’s a great chance to kind of reevaluate how you’ve structured your business.
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[JOE SANOK] I also think that a couple of things to look at when you’re starting to dip your toes back into the rehiring process is to really look at what types of clinicians you want moving forward. What kind of phone calls are you getting, where you’re turning people away? How can you start to replicate yourself? So if you’re the only person that’s Gottman Level 2 Certified, and you help couples, but there’s no one else in your practice, at a certain point, you’re going to want to replace yourself. So it might be good to find someone or to train someone up in those areas. So when someone leaves sometimes, especially if you don’t see it coming, it can be quite a shock. You may see a dip in your income, there’s going to be questions around whether they can keep their clients, whether they can’t keep their clients, what’s the contract say, is there a non-compete, all those different things that you’ve probably worked with your attorney on.

But it’s a shock to the system. So also do your own self-care. Take the time to take some deep breaths, to meditate, to go for walks and to realize that this is why you have three months of expenses saved up. And I always recommend that people have at least three months so that if these things happen, which inevitably they will, you’ll see dips in clients, you’ll see people leave, you’ll see people come, they won’t fill up as fast as you expect them to that we aren’t backed into the corner financially and making dumb decisions then. Instead we can make solid business decisions because you’ve got some savings. You’ve got a buffer, you’ve got some time to rebuild. So go out there and rebuild and do as much as you can.

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Thank you so much for letting me into your ears and into your brain. Have an amazing day. I’ll talk to you soon.

Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music. We really like it. And this podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. This is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.

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