The success of your new dental practice hinges in great part upon your ability to hire a competent team of dental office professionals. By assembling a team of talented, professional staff members, your patients will enjoy a more positive experience at your office and be more likely to serve as ambassadors for your practice. Below are eight steps to help you assemble an outstanding team for your new dental practice.
Making haphazard hiring decisions is a recipe for disaster in the dental and medical fields. When an assistant, receptionist, or another employee announces that he or she is quitting, it can be natural to panic and make a hiring decision as quickly as possible. However, you should avoid a knee-jerk reaction and take the time to make an informed hiring choice.
In general, the patient experience is enhanced when there is sufficient staff to handle patient needs promptly while ensuring that front and back office responsibilities are met. While the exact number of team members you need will depend upon the number of chairs and dentists you have in your practice, you should consider the following guidelines and suggestions:
Preparing a list of core competencies that you expect from your team members is essential to developing a cohesive team of dental professionals. Regardless of whether you are hiring an office manager, treatment coordinator, marketing coordinator, billing clerk, or dental assistant, you should strive to hire team members that exhibit the following qualities:
One of the best ways to improve your hiring and retention is to create job descriptions that are attractive, accurate, and detailed. Sharing information about the work culture at your dental practice is also recommended, especially if you operate outside of standard business hours or if you utilize non-traditional treatments in your practice.
Working at a dental office is different than most types of employment. Because employees have access to confidential patient histories, drugs, and financial information you may want to run background checks. It’s important to keep the following tips in mind when running a background check to be sure you are compliant:
For information on working interviews, read California Employment Law and Working Interviews.
Receptionists and front office team members are the very first people a new patient will see when they enter your facility. In many ways, they are the face of your practice and are highly influential in a patient's level of satisfaction with your dental practice. Here are some tips for adjusting your hiring practices to ensure you attract top-quality front office staff:
Seeking a dental team member from a temp agency is usually a better idea than hiring a marginally qualified full-time employee out of desperation. You can often find experienced workers who arrive armed with the skills you require for your open position(s). You save money on hiring and training costs and you can still continue to search for a permanent employee if you wish. However, if you decide to use a temp agency, you should make sure you cover the following:
It is not uncommon for employees at growing dental practices to wear many different hats. For instance, your office manager might sometimes have to help answer the telephone while your marketing coordinator may have to pitch in and provide a new patient with paperwork. You can make sure that your team members are prepared to handle periodic shifts in job responsibilities by providing on-the-job cross-training to all employees.
The best step you can take to ensure that you make wise hiring decisions is to seek the expertise of a dental attorney or industry expert. An expert on medical and dental transitions can help you assess your dental practice and help you develop sound hiring strategies that will help your dental practice thrive.
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