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Three budget strategies for your dental practice

Budget and employee satisfaction are interconnected; one always affects the other. 

Managing a dental practice can be challenging on many levels. Success is always measured in production, but that’s only part of the equation. It’s also important to consider happiness–both for yourself and your staff. After all, where will you be in a year if the people responsible for production are miserable? Unhappy employees can reduce production, increase waste and even drive loyal patients away.

Employee happiness has to do with both pay and on-the-job satisfaction. You’ll need to use your leadership skills in dentistry to ensure your staff get along with each other, feel appropriately challenged and fit into the organization well. You’ll also need to pay them appropriately for their experience and expertise. 

Here’s the upshot: Pay and job satisfaction can’t really be separated. Can you afford to pay your staff the professional wages they want? Are your employees satisfied with their jobs enough to maintain or boost your practice’s production?

Optimizing this budget–satisfaction relationship is a difficult balancing act. Here are three key strategies you can implement right away to make sure you have enough money to attract and keep the best staff.

1. Use your dental leadership skills to inspire your staff

If you keep up with dentistry trends, you know that dental business experts recommend maintaining a good rapport with your staff. This is a combination of good dental-practice management and making sure you have the right people. In addition to receiving professional pay, your staff members need to feel that they are a part of something that matters. 

Communicating frequently with each staff member can help. Let them know that you value the work they do, praise them for their good work, and tell them how they can help contribute to the team’s success. Periodically (but not often enough to be annoying) remind them that reducing overhead and increasing production is beneficial to the practice and, therefore, to them. Ask them for their ideas and whether there’s anything they feel could help them do a better job. Listening to and, when appropriate, acting on their thoughts can go a long way in increasing overall satisfaction.

“Wait,” you may be saying. “This isn’t a budget strategy. This sounds like dental leadership strategy, not cost-saving tips.” 

The thing is, keeping your employees happy will accomplish several budget-related things. First, it will help ensure that your employees care enough about their jobs to implement the cost-savings measures you’ve put in place. They’ll also care about increasing production. Finally, helping your employees understand that they are valuable team members will increase morale and improve customer service, naturally boosting production even more.

Read: This is how to increase productivity in your dental practice >>


2. Optimize your dental-staffing efficiency

Nobody wants to pay dental hygienists and dental assistants to sit around doing nothing. One way to combat on-the-job downtime is to make sure you’re staffing your office to match demand. Sending staff home when they’re expecting to work is a good way to drive away your best employees. Requiring them to clock out but remain on the premises may attract unwanted legal action. 

Conversely, you don’t want to be understaffed during your busy times. Stressed-out staff who are constantly scrambling to keep up simply don’t do their best work, and they may not stick around long.

Increase staff during your busy times and decrease staff during your slow times. This can’t be done on the fly. You’ll have to plan ahead, scheduling your staff for when they’re needed. You may need to hire temps or traveling dental hygienists and traveling dental assistants on a recurring basis.

3. Choose a quality, low-cost dental-staffing solution 

Hiring temps and part-time workers through a dental staffing agency may seem like a good cost-saving measure, but is it really effective? Most agencies charge high fees that can put a serious dent in your coffers. After you pay the agency their per-hour share, there may not be much left in your staffing budget. 

Another solution, Cloud Dentistry, is on the cutting edge of dental staffing trends. This cloud-based solution eliminates the need for a middleman. You pay a single thirty-day access fee, which puts the profiles of available, qualified professionals at your fingertips.

Cloud Dentistry can help you with efficient staffing, too. When someone on your staff takes emergency time off or last-minute sick leave, you need to fill the gap to keep your patients and staff happy. Because canceled or delayed appointments can cost you patients and increase your staff’s stress level, they also affect your bottom line. With a dental staffing agency, there may be costly delays before you get the help you need. When you connect with dental professionals through Cloud Dentistry, you can find someone to work that same day.

The savings in time and money do two important things for the happiness–budget ecosystem. First, having enough staff on hand to handle busy times will reduce stress among your permanent employees and your temporary or traveling workers. It will also help you maintain or increase production.

Everything in a dental practice is interconnected

Earning enough money and implementing the right cost-saving measures will allow you the staffing budget you need, but these things can only happen if your staff is 100% behind you. Running a successful practice is frequently a test of your dental leadership skills. 

Attracting and keeping the best employees requires you to pay competitive, professional rates and provide a stimulating, comfortable environment. Keeping your employees happy means making sure there’s enough in your staffing budget to pay professional rates. It also means preventing overly stressful situations and making sure that your staff members know that they are valuable team members. 

Only when you optimize both on-the-job satisfaction and your staffing budget can you help your dental practice reach its full potential. One affects the other, so paying attention to both will help you increase your employees’ overall satisfaction and increase your bottom line.

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