Sometimes, unforeseen circumstances can leave your dental practice short on staff and you need to fill the position fast. The recent pandemic left dental practices short on staffing due to employees getting sick, going on leave and some even left permanently. As the economy recovers, you may find your business now in demand of professional and reliable staff.
But some positions that need filled may not need a permanent replacement. In this case, you may consider looking into a short-term staffing option via a temp agency. This is also known as temporary talent acquisition. How does this process work? Let us discuss some pros and cons of hiring temporary staffing and how you can make it work for your dental practice.
What are Temporary Staffing Agencies?
Generally, these agencies are hiring firms that arrange contracts with dental practices for temporary, short-term, part-time or seasonal employees. The company, like Strategic Practice Solutions, has its own Human Resources function, in that the agency itself is responsible for the hiring and firing of its temporary workers and it also pays its own employees. Thus, dental practices are not responsible for paying temp employees, or providing them with benefits. The agency is responsible for negotiating fees, payment, scheduling and other employment details with the hiring dental practice prior to hire.
What are the Pros and Cons of Temp Staff?
A pro to hiring temporary staff via an agency is that trained and professional dental staff is always ready for hire. This prevents lost revenue from not filling the position. It is estimated that a dental practice loses an average of $879 per day when an employee is lost. Also, less time can be spent on advertising, interviewing and selecting potential candidates. You can hire a trained professional to start sooner, saving you time and money on the hiring process. Another benefit is that you are not responsible for managing the temp hire’s pay, benefits or training. If issues arise with the staff member, they can be addressed directly with the staffing agency who will then manage the problem with the hired staff member.
Despite the advantages of temporary staffing via an agency, there are some disadvantages to think about. Perhaps one of the most evident disadvantages of hiring a temporary employee via an agency is the fees. Markups on hourly paid temp employees can be significant, at up to 50% of the employee’s hourly rate. For example, if an employee earns $20 per hour from an agency, the markup would be $10 per hour.
Another disadvantage is the length of time to wait between the time of hire and the time that the temporary worker starts the job. Sometimes, it can be a few weeks between point A and point B when working with a temp agency. This can put a strain on your current staff members and possibly cause a decrease in your patient satisfaction.
Finally, a big con to hiring a temporary dental employee is that the selected worker may not be a good cultural fit for your practice. According to Forbes, cultural fit is one of the most important factors that hiring managers value in job candidates. For team members to work best together and provide quality patient care, they need to have the same values. While the hiring firm will try to select a candidate that will be a good fit for your team, you will not have the control of interviewing and hiring the way you would if you were to do the hiring process yourself.
How Can I Make Temp Staffing Work for Me?
Even with the disadvantages, there are several ways to make temporary staffing work for your dental practice. Perhaps the most important way to improve the experience is to have good communication with your new team member. Clearly communicate all expectations, schedules and standards. Offer time for questions. This will establish trust with the new hire and let them know that you expect open communication from them as well.
Another tip is to be inclusive of them, just as if they were a permanent hire. Involve them in company activities, morning coffee or lunch gatherings. It can be helpful to assign a “go-to” person to assist the new hire on their first day. The temp worker will have questions about the location of supplies and the office processes. It will make the day run smoother if there is an assigned person for them to connect with and answer their questions.
Finally, use the ideas of a temporary employee to your advantage. Likely, this person has worked at several other dental practices where processes differ. They may have ideas that may work better for your practice. Listen to suggestions for improvement of your practice.
Contact Strategic Practice Solutions for more good advice about working with temporary staffing for your dental practice, or schedule a consultation to talk about how we can help you with temporary or permanent staffing.