According to an article written for Oral Health Group in April 2022, there has been a sizable impact in revenue to the dental industry since the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions which followed. There was an approximate 45% drop in dental practice revenues. At the same time, there was an increased cost for additional PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). Costs are up, revenues are down, a great number of dental hygienists have left the profession, and 40% of dentists have decided to retire. The American Dental Association in October 2021 claimed there was an increase in stress-related oral conditions like chipped teeth and TMD.
Shortages in staff seem worse due to a higher-than-normal patient demand, as dental care was put off earlier in the pandemic. As a result, dental practices have changed the way they look at staffing. It seems the struggles with staffing brought about by the pandemic have drawn more attention to the benefits of flexible staffing. By adding temporary dental staff to your team, your permanent team can focus on the patients and their care.
Shortages in Dental Position Applications
According to the ADA, more than 80% of dentists who own their own practice are finding it difficult to hire dental hygienists and assistants. They are also having a hard time finding administrative staff and associate dentists. This challenge varies state by state. Other owner dentists are expressing concern over new hires expecting unrealistic or inflated salaries. Another issue is applicants seeking part-time employment instead of full-time. There are also some very new professionals that require more on-the-job experience. Dental assisting requires education and training, which takes some time.
Incorporate Temp Workers Into the Permanent Team
By becoming more flexible in the area of staffing, you will always guarantee to have the perfect-sized dental team to care for any number of patients on any given day. This will also keep your employment costs down because you only pay temp workers for the number of hours they actually get to work. Temporary RDHs and RDAs also are helpful to have in case you need to make some much-needed, last-minute appointments.
Permanent dental employees are always a great value to the dental practice, but temporary staff can fill in the gaps as they appear and help practices treat more patients. When staff members are sick or away on vacation, temporary dental professionals can carry on. Temporary staff provide flexibility and benefits in the long run.
Stand Out from the Crowd
Consider what you can do to make your dental practice stand out from the many others seeking employees in your area. Offer additional perks to make your practice the one the best dental professional candidates notice first. Evaluate the salary opportunity you are offering to attract more team member candidates. It may be worth it to gain and keep new employees and prevent them from jumping ship for the next higher-paying position they notice. Take a hard look at how your dental practice benefits stand up to other dental offices in your area. Perhaps offering to cover the cost of licensing fees or C.E. courses would be a less expensive way to retain staff. A new hire bonus may be a way to attract staff and retain them for an extended period of time. Another great hiring attraction could be flexible scheduling. Schedule the dental team to finish the workday earlier on some days or consider incorporating a 4-day work week.
Remember to never consider going above your staff compensation budget, and be sure staff overhead remains below practice revenue.
Think Outside the Box
Consider broadening your advertising for candidates for employment at your dental practice. Offer incentives to current employees if they recruit new hires by making sure the staff knows about positions which need to be filled at the practice. Ask them to promote these positions to friends, family, and on social media.
As a dentist, offer to volunteer your time at local dental assistant training facilities and foster those relationships. This can be a successful way to recruit new hires. Schools will want to send you some of their best students or the students will be so familiar with you, they will want to come to your dental practice to work.
Explore social media groups to advertise job openings in the dental practice. Check out the groups that allow you to post on their site for open dentist and dental staff jobs available. Ask your patients if they know someone who would be a fit for your dental team as well.
Offer wages and benefits which are competitive in the current market, use several different recruiting tactics, and make gaining and keeping dental staff a priority, and your dental practice will attract a number of qualified candidates.
Strategic Practice Solutions Dental Staffing knows it is a critical business challenge to staff your dental practice. Strategic Practice Solutions Talent Acquisition offers many solutions to both identify and locate the top talent in the dental industry. Allow us to help you maximize your production and profitability, and minimize headaches, by hiring the proper dental staff for your practice. Check out our dental staffing/recruiting portal today!