Building Your Team
A dental office can be a fun place to work. Over the years, my experiences there have been filled with fulfillment and delight. Yet, not all days are created equal.
We’ve all experienced a Dental Assistant or Dental Hygienist calling in sick. It can upset the entire days (and staff). It’s always a good idea to have a dental staffing agency in mind to cover short notice fill ins. Think Princess Dental Staffing. But typically, this is only a small hiccup and cannot be avoided.
One of the real challenges dental offices face is turnover. Just think about the demographics. Dental employees can run pretty young. Front office or dental assistants may be fresh out of school (and I mean high school), and the job may not mean that much. It may be a stepping stone to future jobs, maybe not even related to dentistry. When you’re paying someone $12 an hour, I wouldn’t expect them to be lifers. So when an entry level position worker leaves, the office is on rails until a new employee can be found…. and trained.
So how can we hire employees that will stick around? Well that is a good question. And the answer isn’t always what it seems.
For starters, interview as many people as you can. The more people you interview, the more likely you are to find the one you like. And trust me, liking someone can go a long way. Just assume that if you don’t like them, they eventually won’t like you as well. It usually just works that way. It’s not always just about skills. It’s usually more about attitude, life choices, ambition, empathy, and just kindness. You can train just about anybody to do the procedures.
Second, don’t hire right away. Do some trail runs. Bring them in for working interviews. Do it for as long as you can, or until your SURE that you’ve found the right person. Keep looking while these working interviews are happening. There is no such thing as looking to much. If you’re too busy, have your office manager do it. Or even other staff members. They can always weed out the ones that don’t fit in. See how this strategy works here : https://hiring.monster.ca/hr/hr-best-practices/recruiting-hiring-advice/strategic-workforce-planning/benefits-of-bringing-in-temp-workers.aspx
Third, once you hire, set out the rules. Employees need to know what’s expected of them. Write it down. A good office manual with duties of different staff members is a great idea. Dental front desk, dental assistants, dental hygienist and the dentist all play different roles. Spell it out so that everyone understands whats expected.
Fourth, encourage them. People love to be praised. When someone does something that you like, tell them. This alone is probably the biggest key in employee retention. Employees who don’t feel valued often look elsewhere. The grass is always greener for them. Make sure to keep the grass green where you are.
And last, pay them what the market dictates. Don’t be a cheapskate. They are working hard, pay them for their time. If they aren’t working hard, get someone who will. When you have a good employee, take some steps to keep them. Every employer out there wants them, and don’t think that eventually they won’t be lured somewhere else. Understand (or ask) what other doctors are paying and make sure your wages are in line. Underpaying only ends up biting you in the tail when they leave you.
So good luck out there. Of course, I did not mention some of the things you won’t be able to avoid like marriage, divorce, moving and pregnancy. Those you have to take in stride.