Is your Back Door Revolving?
By: Natalie Lucken, Account Manager
The August issue of Dentaltown’s monthly magazine contained a graph about practice employee turnover that grabbed my attention.
So many offices suffer from a revolving door in one or more of their key staffing positions. What are the reasons we keep having to train people in the process of growing and marketing our practice?
The Receptionist–this brave soul is often under-trained, and usually not very well compensated. It is always thought that the only thing this person needs to do is to answer the phone politely and fill the schedule. A common misconception is that the phone and the schedule is their ONLY responsibility, but nothing could be further from the truth! Most offices run very lean and need to make the front desk responsible for so many more tasks that others don’t have time to do. This person is the first smile representing your practice.
The Office Manager– Normally, this person is one of the longer term positions in your office, as shown in the pie chart, with only 2% of them leaving the job. He or she has been on the front lines, hiring/firing, training, searching again for replacements, training, etc. My guess is that this person is well aware of the reasons the office is having difficulties, but has to keep that confidential. I wish there was a freer exchange of information between the owner-doctor(s) and the Office Manager.
The Assistant– As you can see, the 51% of dental people who responded to this poll chose this for the number one spot, this position is clearly at risk. I can’t say the reason is the position is always under-compensated, but perhaps not respected enough. This person must keep the clinical area moving fast and efficiently keeping everyone on schedule and making patients happy and comfortable at the same time. After all, the machinery that makes the office run smoothly must be maintained regularly, the lab models must be poured without bubbles, fearful patients must be comforted and instructed on their aftercare, and this falls to the Assistant.
The Hygienist–This hard-working person keeps their own schedule and is often by choice kept from the political turmoil in the practice. Patients are accepting of what lies ahead when they are escorted to the hygiene room and usually there are few surprises by the end of the visit. According to this poll, the hygienist is the more stable position in the office, of the clinical staff, and even has a higher stability than a doctor. Hygienist for the most part are well paid for their position and don’t have to leave the practice to get better pay and respect.
I know that, economically, the stability of the workforce is constantly changing and it makes me wonder what the dental office of the future will look like. Will automated kiosks repl
ace the Front Desk staff? We know the clinical people can’t be swapped out for a machine…or can they? Machines don’t complain about crowded schedules, shortened lunch times, crabby co-workers, impossible patients, or lack of benefits, so maybe the future will look different than we can even imagine.
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