Author’s note: Levin Group has reviewed and prioritized hundreds of strategies to increase practice production. Each month, we highlight a powerful idea in order of priority.
Everyone is talking about the current staffing challenges in dentistry. And they should be, because it’s a very real problem. However, practices must be careful in their efforts to increase their staff. Hiring the wrong person just for a position will often cause the new person to not practice and the practice will have to start the process all over again. Still, being short-staffed or having regular turnover has an impact on the production of the practice, and it can be quite significant for reasons that aren’t obvious.
Bad hires bring down the practice
A not-so-obvious reason is that having the wrong people on the team or being short-staffed stops the process of improving training performance. I’ve heard many dentists say, “I’ll get to this improvement as soon as I have the right staff in place. What ends up happening is that all of their effort goes into either day-to-day with existing team members or hiring new team members.
Define your core values
The path to having the right staff is complex, but it all starts with a set of core values and a clear mission. The values are the rallying point of the team on the functioning of the practice. The team must act in a way that never violates a core value. Values are concepts like integrity, teamwork, positivity, lifelong learning, and excellence. Ideally, you should adopt no more than six values. More than that becomes overwhelming and dilutes the true meaning of each value. Also, be sure to select values you sincerely believe in and only hire new team members after discussing your values and making sure they can adhere to them. Otherwise, the rental will not work or cause a conflict.
Develop a practical mission statement
The mission of the practice is equally important, and every practice should have a short and clear mission statement. A mission statement is a statement of purpose, and it’s something team members really want today. Having a purpose gives people a sense of pride, direction and confidence and a sense of belonging to something important. Without a clear mission, many practices will have higher turnover because individuals simply don’t just want a job, they also want a purpose. The mission statement also becomes useful in making decisions. In a firm that truly lives its mission, you’ll often hear people say, “Well, we could do that, but that’s not really part of our mission. A team member who makes a decision based on whether they will support the firm’s mission will almost always make a good decision.
More practice production, prioritized:
Hire candidates who match your values and mission
Many practices are currently involved in the hiring process. The challenge will be to hire people who can believe in the values of the practice and live the mission. If the person can do these two things, almost anything else is possible to create a great relationship between the new recruit and the rest of the dental team.
Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the March 2022 print edition of Dental economy magazine. Dentists in North America can take advantage of a free print subscription. Register here.