The COVID-19 pandemic, aging dental professionals and fewer dental professionals returning to dental practices after the pandemic has led to more than 50 million Americans living in dental health professional shortage areas (HPSA), according to Dental Products Report. This means there are not enough dentists to serve the population in those areas. While some states have plenty of dental professionals, others are experiencing dentist shortages. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services publishes reports on HPSAs on a regular basis. To qualify as a HPSA, the population-to-provider ratio has to be more than 3,500 to 1. In certain instances, due to unusually high need, the qualifying ratio is 3,000 to 1.
The dental staffing crisis is not predicted to end anytime soon. The shortage of team members is affecting practice production, which means it is now essential to take steps to solidify and stabilize your dental team. While dental team members are trying to perform new infection control procedures and learning advances in technology, more of a burden is being placed on them due to the staffing shortage.
Many more team members will require additional training, equal compensation with newly hired team members, and a pleasant working environment. Otherwise, dental practices may be in danger of losing additional team members. The main goal of the dental practice should ultimately be to increase production every year. Using the right system and tools makes hiring the right dental professional easier. Here are a few tips.
The success of your dental practice depends on hiring the right employees in order to attract and maintain loyal patients. In order to recruit and hire new employees effectively, get prepared to hire. Use your time and resources wisely while recruiting new team members. Make interviews more efficient and less time consuming. Hire someone whom you feel would represent the values of your dental practice as well as you. Be prepared if the person you hire does not seem to be the proper fit to let them go quickly.
Before interviewing a prospective team member, make sure you know exactly what you need and want. Put in writing a clear and concise description of the position you wish to fill. List specifically the responsibilities which need to be done on a day-to-day basis in your dental practice. Make sure to inform the applicant interviewing for the position exactly what is expected to hold the position. Your entire dental team will be working with this individual and hiring too quickly can be a costly mistake.
Hiring and Compensation
This is one of the most important subjects to the dental team. Determine that your office will be comfortable discussing the topic of compensation. This will make for a more trusting work environment. Be open and upfront about office benefits and compensation. Inform the prospective team member of things such as performance review schedules, tiers of learning, and other compensation-related factors. The position being offered must sound attractive to the new hire. Turnover in staff is costing dental practices far more every year than an attractive benefit package. Recognition and respect of employees, especially demonstrated through adequate compensation, will retain more staff.
Train your dental team in clinical, business, and communication skills. Provide employees with a welcome packet on the day they are hired with all necessary employment forms, a copy of your office policy, and standard operating procedures. Everyone learns differently. Keep track of the items you go over to ensure you stay organized. Keep the communication lines open to questions and feedback on how the new team member feels at different points in the training process. Make notes of their progress. Training should involve the entire dental team. Everyone in the office should be available and willing to answer questions the new team member may have. Invest some planning into the training to realize success.
Your most valuable assets in your dental practice are your employees. Retaining employees improves patient satisfaction, increases productivity, creates a pleasant working environment and brings long-term success. During this time of job insecurity, it is important to keep the team you have. Retaining great dental talent is very important as well for the morale of your dental team. Employee turnover is very costly to a dental practice. All team members want to be treated fairly, feel appreciated, be paid well and enjoy good benefits. Through honesty and open communication your team will be motivated to contribute to the practice’s success.
Burnout is a very serious problem that plagues the dental profession. Signs and symptoms of burnout include insomnia, fatigue, lightheadedness, colds, migraines, muscle aches, nausea, difficulty breathing and feelings of no purpose. Type “A” personalities are more likely to experience burnout. Offices with a high level of mutual respect and where everyone on the team feels safe to communicate promotes lower burnout levels.
Adjusting the workload can decrease burnout. The dentist must work in a way that works for his or her team. Learning how to manage and schedule the workload reduces burnout. When problems outweigh rewards, burnout happens. Encourage your dental team to prioritize taking care of themselves mentally and physically to prevent burnout. Focusing on things they can control decreases the chance of experiencing burnout. Engaging in the dental profession and diversity of work within the dental practice can break burnout.
Strategic Practice Solutions believes staffing will make or break your practice. It is a critical challenge facing today’s dental practices. Their Talent Acquisition introduces many solutions available to your practice to identify and locate top dental talent. Check out their dental staffing/recruiting portal today!