12 Questions to Help Identify Your Dental Staffing Needs
Our “new norm” is living in a world that consists of social distancing, wearing face masks, constantly cleaning and disinfecting etc.
For dental practices, COVID-19 has changed the way practices operate.
Whether your practice is open or is yet to open, one of the things dental practice owners had to initially tackle was reviewing existing policies and procedures to determine if they could be adapted to COVID-19 protocols or if new ones had to be created.
Additionally, dental practice owners had to think about their patients and their feelings towards COVID-19. For example, are patients nervous about being exposed to COVID-19? Are patients ready to go see their dentists? Or are they pushing back dental appointments due to a job loss or other financial constrains?
Living in these uncertain times means dental practices have to be smart in how they operate. This involves being able to identify your dental staffing needs in order to be successful.
According to Dentistry IQ, the industry standard for payroll is 20% to 22% of revenues. It is likely that your practice isn’t there thanks to COVID-19 and all the closures that came with it. If that’s the case, take the time to assess where you are by asking these key questions:
- Do I need to retain the same number of employees prior to the pandemic?
- How have employee roles shifted?
- Could job descriptions be more clearly defined?
- What tasks can be automated?
- How can job descriptions be altered to include new responsibilities/duties and other more producing tasks?
- What performance measurements can I put in place?
When it comes to your clinical staff, lets focus on identifying what improvements can be made to bring your practice back to its prior COVID-19 production and revenues or better. Ask yourself:
- How many patients can your clinical staff see without getting overwhelmed?
- If your staff is overwhelmed, can you bring in additional staff to help? If so, do you have job descriptions handy?
- As the number of patients increase in your practice, is there a process in place that allows you to allocate specific tasks to specific employees?
- Are unfilled appointments a common issue?
- Do you have a plan in place that addresses booking patient appointments months in advance, confirming patient appointments, ways to educate patients about the importance of return visits, fees and treatment options?
- Do your dental assistants work throughout their entire shift even when there are gaps in the schedule? If not, can you identify productive tasks (i.e., review lab cases, assist the hygienist, review treatment plans with patients etc.) for them to do?
Being able to identify your dental staffing needs is crucial to the success of your practice, especially during these times. Now that you’ve identified your needs, it’s time to explore some recruitment strategies to best attract dental candidates.