Dental hygienists and dental assistants are prioritizing freedom and flexibility in their careers now more than ever.
Are you doing everything as a business owner to put their priorities first?
Temp and Permanent Team Members
With everything that has gone on in the last year, businesses have been forced to be flexible. A lot of employees and team members have also gotten used to having their own flexibility in order to perform their work.
With the rest of the world leaning towards increased flexibility for their teams, the dental industry is seeing the same change. There are dental hygienists and dental assistants that are prioritizing their freedom and flexibility in their career paths.
A large portion of these hygienists and assistants have turned to freelance work or consistent temp positions.
While they are sacrificing some of their own job security, they are instead prioritizing their freedom and flexibility.
So how do you keep your employees as your full-time employees instead of having them turn to freelance?
Offer competitive pay, and offer them a flexible schedule. This may take some getting used to initially. Things come up in life that cannot be planned for, so when these occur make sure that you approach that situation and conversation in a positive manner with your employee. Especially when they are alerting you to a time that they can no longer work.
This seems counterintuitive with how businesses have typically been run before, but it will go a long way in reinforcing the positive relationship between your staff and your business.
It is also important to maintain a positive mentality from your dental practice and your staff with freelance employees. Your dental practice should be a place that is welcoming and understanding of its team members, and that includes your freelance team members.
Be sure to reinforce this with your entire permanent team in order to maintain a positive relationship with the freelance community.
Have A Time Frame In Mind
Scrambling for time can be extremely stressful for you as a business owner.
It’s always important to try to plan ahead for when you know you will need freelance or temp workers. These temp contracts can be anywhere from a singular day, to a couple of months if needed. Giving yourself time to find someone that you feel is a good fit for your dental practice will serve you better in the long run.
You may also not be able to find a temp worker the day before you need them. It is important to remember that you are still bringing in human beings, and they have their own lives and things going on. A large portion of them are not going to be sitting by their phones waiting for a request to come in. It may also prove more difficult depending on the area that you are located in. Are you in an area that has a booming dental industry? In that case, you may be able to get a freelancer or temp worker within a day.
Are you the only dental practice in 30 miles of another one? In this case, it may be very difficult to find a freelance or temp worker nearby and quickly.
In every situation, it’s important to give yourself more time than you think you will need to find a temp or permanent employee. We understand that there are going to be times where the pressure will be on. Let’s say for example you just had your dental hygienist walk out, and they have seven patients scheduled for tomorrow.
While you are looking for a permanent replacement, you will want to get a temp
in tomorrow in order to take on all those patients for you.
As we said before, life happens and there are some things that cannot be planned for, but if you are able to, give yourself more than enough time.
Work With Your Front Office To Explain The New Hygienist or Assistant
Having a new dental hygienist or dental assistant may be very jarring and uncomfortable for a patient. This interaction will be even more so if they are anticipating a visit with their previous dental hygienist or dental assistant.
If for any reason that patient is going to be working with a different dental hygienist or dental assistant from the same one they have been seeing, make sure to notify them of this ahead of time.
The timeframe can be up to the individual. You could tell the patient when you follow up with them a week before their appointment to confirm the time and date, or you can confirm with the patient when they come in and are still in the front office.
You don’t have to give the patient a full explanation of the reasons why that dental hygienist or dental assistant is not available, and this is especially true if they have left the dental practice. Otherwise it may not be a poor idea to let them know that they are on vacation, or just out of the office for the moment.
This may still lead to that patient asking to reschedule until their dental hygienist is back in the office, and while this result is not ideal it is better than having the patient be upset, feel uncomfortable with a new dental hygienist, or feel deceived in some way.
Designate A Team Member As The Point Person For Temp Staff
As we spoke about before, having a positive relationship with the freelance community is going to be important for your business. Especially when you need to get someone quickly.
There are plenty of times where a freelance temp dental hygienist or dental assistant will deny a position due to the dental office that it is at, and the reputation that office holds.
If you become known as the dental office that treats temp workers poorly, the odds are that you will burn that bridge with mostly all of the temps in your area.
In order to encourage them to feel welcome, we always recommend having a designated person in your dental office for temps to go to for any questions they may have. You can have a single individual for dental hygienists, and another for a dental assistants.
This will allow them to become much more quickly accustomed to your dental office. Overall, this will increase the efficiency of that temp when they are at your office. It will also increase their efficiency if you decide to work with them again because they will already be familiar with your processes and organizational methods.
Work With The Same Temp Team Members
If you find a temp that blends well with your dental practice, and your permanent team members also enjoy working with them, then we recommend attempting to work with that temp the next time you need one.
Odds are if that temp had a positive experience with your dental practice as well and your patients, then they will be more than happy to continue the relationship with your dental practice. This will also give you a positive word-of-mouth referral amongst the temp community.
We know plenty of dental practices that temps are waiting for a position to open up with because they are held that highly.