Cliff's Notes

The Business of Dentistry

Everyone Wants a Raise! What happens when a long time employee exceeds their market value?

Much of this week’s blog post is re-printed from a post on May 7, 2016. Not much has changed except quality team members are getting harder to find.

As a business owner or manager, there are some very difficult decisions that you will have to make through-out your career. Some of the hardest involve your team and their compensation vs production (value). In a different time an annual wage increase was standard business practice, but in today’s economy when operational cost are continually rising, there is not much left over to give to the team, and you will be expected to give again next year. How can you do it? You can’t keep giving. As an example, a good dental assistant (in northern NJ) will command an hourly wage of $18-$25 per hour. If that quality employee stays with you for 10 years that wage may run as high as $35 per hour and be far above market rates. How do you deal with a team member that has been with you since you bought the practice, is over paid, under produces, but the patient love them? Here comes that difficult decision.
Quality is the key to success and a quality team is one of the most important investments your practice can make. The question is how to compensate them, keep them happy, and help them “grow” with you and the practice?

There are many creative ways to compensate and retain quality team members. But first you need to up-date and complete your employee management program. Your employee manual must be reviewed annually and reflect any changes in policy. Team members will better understand their responsibilities when they are clearly defined in writing. Also, federal & state labor laws always favor the employee unless policies are formally and clearly presented. Your legal adviser can help you do it right and you can blame the changes on them (good cop/bad cop).

Some of the most successful practices I deal with offer “employee extra’s”. Everything from bonuses tied to production, medical benefits and 401K programs attract and help retain quality team members. If you establish realistic incentives as part of your compensation program you will see production increase. As a leader you need to constantly motivate your team and compliments only go so far. People go to work for mostly one reason, to make money. And if you want people to help you make money, you have to let them make money. Let them make extra money through production incentive programs.

Talk to your practice consultant and financial adviser about establishing a 401k program, one that requires several years for vesting. Matching funds can be tied to production goals. You may be surprised how this small investment will pay off. Now, every team member has something to lose if production is flat.

Your team is your greatest asset. Keep them educated, informed, and part of your future. Quality is hard to find, don’t be afraid to invest and expect a healthy ROI. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

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August 12, 2018 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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