Last updated on September 21st, 2019 at 01:06 pm
Whether you do (or don’t) need more employees has a lot to do with your overall goals with relation to the office. So, let’s begin there.
What are the overall goals that you have for the practice? What would that “ideal” dental office look like in your mind? There is no “right” answer here – this is completely subjective and varies doctor to doctor.
Do you just want to “maintain and not go backwards?” Or are you looking to expand? And if expansion is in order – how quickly are you looking to bring it about?
If your goals are to just maintain, then you might not need a new staff member right now. And look, if you’re in a comfortable position – and want to stay there – fine. That being said – “maintaining” while comfortable is not the safest of propositions. If you’re collecting the same $600,000 year after year – you’re in fact contracting – just due to inflation alone. So, in my mind – some degree of expansion has to always be factored into the mix. The question is how much and how fast.
As a service business, dental practice growth is normally accompanied by more staff. The faster you grow, the heavier the personnel requirement. In the long run, the more you grow the less possible it is for you to do “everything,” and quite honestly, by not bringing on more team members as your practice grows, you are shortchanging yourself, your patients and your current staff. If you think about it, you’ll have way too many things to do, you’ll have trouble devoting the same degree of individualized attention to your patients and your short-handed staff will be flustered with everything that’s going on. That’s not to say I’m against efficiency and reducing waste – I am. But there’s a time when you just need to add another set of hands. And factually, you’ll end up costing yourself more in lost opportunity and income by NOT doing so.
Take a look at how many new patients you get in a month. Let’s say its 30. That’s 360 new patients per year and over the span of 5 years, that’s 1,800 patients. I’d expect to see at least 5 hygiene days a week added during this period. And with that hygiene growth – you’d expect another hygienist – maybe even a part-time associate, possibly a new assistant and maybe a front desk personnel to support the increased volume (depending on how many you had up there to begin with). If you haven’t added 5 days of hygiene over that period of time, I’d be concerned. And I’ve seen this scenario with no hygiene growth, or maybe a day or two quite a lot. For that matter, I’ve spoken to more than one doctor who proudly shares with me that their “newest staff member” has been there for 20 years. Well, I know immediately that practice is not expanding.
So, this is something to consider: Expansion. The practice should be expanding every year. And with this expansion you’d expect a commensurate growth in personnel.
STAFF COST VS. LOST PRODUCTION
In dentistry, we often times get caught up in expenses. How much am I spending on cotton rolls? Or impression materials? Or what’s my lab fee to make a crown?
I’ve met plenty of doctors, with the idea of saving money, employ no staff. In fact, I usually run into one or two doctors every year who practice by themselves. They have an overhead of about 30%, which is great, until you consider that they collect $15,000 – maybe $20,000 – per month and do all the work themselves! It’s also a misuse of resources and makes no sense from both a service and straight business perspective. Why would I have a doctor who could be helping patients doing anything else? From a business perspective, why would I take a provider worth hundreds of dollars an hour to the practice and have them file dental insurance? I could pay the best Financial Secretary on the planet fractions of the doctor’s value per hour and get a better result!
So, you could look at the cost side of staffing, but as a business owner you must also focus on lost productivity. As executives, we should be putting pressure down on the organization to service more patients, provide more products, and help more people keep their teeth. And when you have a good team in place and do all of that, overall office production goes up.
And obviously there is a right way to hire and a wrong way to hire – we’ve written plenty about it in the past and have several seminars on the subject – one of which the “How to Build Your Dental Dream Team Seminar” that we do for free all over the US and Canada.
HIRING THE RIGHT EMPLOYEES
You don’t want to just hire anyone. You want to hire staff who move fast, who are motivated to work hard, and who are not happy when there are no patients in the office. You want to hire productive, high-performance staff. And believe me, a highly productive staff member will show up in increased office expansion.
And creating an ad that will attract great candidates is a big part of it. If all of this makes you nervous and you don’t know exactly how to hire the right people, I highly recommend reading a few of the articles by some of our top executives here at MGE:
In the end – the question of whether you need to add employees has everything to do with your overall goals for the office. If expansion is on the horizon (which it should be), you’ll definitely be in the market for new people.
Like many of our clients will tell you, there’s really nothing better than a team of effective people all working together to achieve the same purpose. It makes work more than fun. And a team like this can accomplish a lot! If you have questions about how to create this in your office, or any questions at all, contact us here at MGE at (800) 640-1140. You can also check out our free one-day seminar “How to Build Your Dental Dream Team,” delivered all over the US and Canada. Click here to view the upcoming dates and locations.
Hope this helps and do well!