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Employment and Training

Have you decided if you are going to start your practice new or purchase an existing one? If you are starting your dental practice from scratch in a new location, hopefully you have researched the population demographics, competition, etc., as well as the cost/payback ratios you can expect for the first five years as a new business. This "make" versus "buy" decision is probably one of the biggest decisions you face as you begin your dental career. Don't forget that you are also a business owner and you are faced with economic, budget, marketing and human resource roles that you must now also successfully navigate.

Finding and Hiring Staff

If you are starting your own practice from scratch, you will eventually have to hire staff as you open and grow your new dental office. In today's environment, it is probably best to minimize the number of full-time employees on your payroll. Not only do you have a number of tax obligations (social security, Medicare, unemployment, etc.), but legislation requiring paid benefits continues to place the burden of things like medical insurance, paid days off for sick leave, paid holidays, etc. squarely on the backs of business owners.

If you think the part-time employee model is best for your business needs, you might target segments of the population that could be interested in continuing to work but for whom a life change has taken them out of the 9-to-5 workforce. Job sharing sometimes works well for new parents who must provide their own childcare and are looking for flexible, part-time employment. So might the person who has just retired but who doesn't want to get out of the workforce completely.

The flip side is that some research shows that the success of dental offices is determined by how well the patients are treated by the office staff - how friendly they are and how cared for your patients feel. Part-time employment may not get you the staff that will achieve this level of customer service.

Depending on the size of your practice, full- or part-time hires will likely include certified dental assistants, dental technicians, certified dental hygienists, possibly a certified orthodontic assistant, and certainly a patient-friendly receptionist. It is also a good idea to pay well for a receptionist who can also handle all the insurance billing that your office will file on behalf of your patients. Problems with insurance claims not only render poor patient satisfaction but also impact cash flow. In today's world, it is also imperative to make certain that every person you hire is fully trained and fluent at using today's virtual workplace tools. This training should include knowing how to maintain the integrity of e-files, e-storage and all forms of communication medium so that, as required by HIPPA, the integrity of your clients' information is uncompromised.

So, if you need to hire people who have the skills, certification, training and experience mentioned above, where do you find them? A quick internet search will give you contact information for schools and other facilities which provide training for the kinds of hires you may be looking for. Also, with today's social media, using your list of key contacts and letting them know you have a specific employment need will probably satisfy your talent search faster than you can imagine. If you use your search engine to query "employment agencies near {zip code}," not only will you get names of a variety of hiring agencies that can relatively quickly provide you with suitable candidates but you will also see a number of boards on which you may post your job opening at virtually no cost.

Please refer to the Human Resource information for further suggestions and ideas on finding and hiring employees and staff.