Today’s Guest Blog: Hire the Best Person and Train for Dental Success

This blog was provided by Warschaw Learning Institute and written by Elaine Dickson. Let me know what you think!

Dr. Bill Sasser, a periodontist in Charleston, South Carolina puts it very simply.  “I don’t base my employee’s salary on the position, but on the person.  A good employee is worth everything, and a bad one is worth nothing.”  In dentistry as in many other businesses, all employees are not “created equal”.  Just because someone has more “experience” does not necessarily make them a better candidate than another person who has not worked in the field.

Limiting your hiring process by recruiting only those who have worked in dentistry can be very hazardous to practice growth, because you may not get what you are paying for.  Just because someone interviews well and has worked in a position for awhile, does not always mean they have been successful.  This depends on the person, and it’s the right combination of attitude, character traits, experience and personality that makes a truly valuable employee.  Experience is only one piece of the puzzle, and the question you must ask yourself is “what type of experience?”  Sometimes experience translates into bad habits that can encumber your progress and actually cause your practice to digress.

People make all the difference.  What good does it do to spend thousands of dollars on continuing education and implement practice management systems designed to insure effectiveness, when you do not have the right people to carry these systems out?   As a dentist/practice owner it is not humanly possible for you to perform chairside and oversee all of the administrative or even clinical systems of your practice at the same time.

Picture this scenario.  You are working diligently in your treatment area on a patient, while your “experienced” receptionist is up front chatting with another employee about her weekend, and ignoring the phone.  Because there is no one designated (no office manager) to oversee these types of matters while you are working in the clinical area, you could be missing a phone call from a new patient who is interested in a full mouth reconstruction.  But regardless of whether or not this is the case, you definitely are not getting your money’s worth out of this receptionist, and your telephone is going unanswered which does nothing to improve the image of your business.

Or, what about that new patient with the major treatment plan who is sitting with your Financial Coordinator who instead of active listening and helping overcome obstacles to enable the patient to accept treatment, is babbling non-stop about her upcoming vacation?  If you think these two situations do not occur in your practice, you might be surprised to learn they not only do they take place but they do so over and over again.  How much revenue is being lost because of missed opportunities by your “experienced” front desk team members who have over the years lost their enthusiasm and become complacent in their positions?

Not only do these bad apples repeatedly fail to produce an effective result, but they can poison other weaker employees as well.  To go one step further, a strong employee will not remain in an environment where mediocrity is allowed for very long.  They will move on once they realize there is no room for growth.

So, bottom line:  In this day and time with so many really good people out of work, why continue to tolerate such ineffective and poor performance?  Hire the person who possesses the ideal qualities and character traits for the position, and provide the training they need to be successful.  They won’t bring bad habits or pre-conceived ideas that will stifle everything you have worked so hard to build, but will bring new enthusiasm and creativity that will allow your practice to reach new heights.  With the right people in place…the sky is the limit.  With the wrong people, you are in a bed of quick sand.  It really is that simple.

Written by Elaine Dickson, Instructor
Management and Insurance Specialist
with Warschaw Learning Institute

(c) 2010 Warschaw Learning Institute

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