Compensating and Retaining Employees for Dental Practice Growth

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Maximum dental practice growth is all about using our assets to maximum advantage. And as we all know, our most valuable assets in the dental office are our employees! Being able to fairly compensate and retain employees is crucial to increased patient satisfaction, employee productivity, and ultimately, dental practice growth!


And if we are hiring only employees with a CALLING to dentistry, this is doubly true! These star employees will make all your efforts at compensation and retention worth all of your time and more through their immense contributions to your dental practice growth!


As we think of employee compensation, a huge question has arisen with the rise in wages for new employees since the pandemic. Many dental offices are wondering: “How can we offer competitive wages to new employees without disrespecting loyal, long-time employees?”


Consider the following points for some help:


      • Find out what each new employee’s currency is. Compensation is really about giving your employee the reward or acknowledgement that they most value. Many employees, especially Millennial employees, do not see money as their primary currency. Additional time off, surprise performance awards, tuition and travel vouchers to a CE course, health and retirement benefits, and contributions to a cause your employee supports can all supplement a salary and provide as much or more value in the minds of many employees.

      • Make sure that your compensation reflects your vision and compelling purpose for your practice. Be intentional about encouraging their sense of CALLING to the field of dentistry through whatever form of compensation you choose.

      • Compensation should include bonuses/added benefits based on NEW MONEY that they generate (this is the tangible evidence of dental practice growth). You can afford to do this because new money is 70% profit. For example, tell them, “We are currently averaging $72,000/month in collections. Once we average $90,000/month for 3 months, healthcare benefits will be added for all employees.”

      • You can also set a certain level of production for each member: doctor, hygienist, assistant, treatment coordinator, and office staff. Once that level of production is reached for them, the bonuses kick in individually, no matter what the rest of the team’s numbers look like.

      • Another idea: Institute a dream program, whereby bonuses contribute to a fund that pays for the dream (items, experiences, trips, etc.) that each employee has chosen. Moving objects across a chart or even a room can be a tangible way to illustrate progress toward the goal. Dream programs can be incredibly valuable at maintaining an employee’s attention all month instead of leading to the usual chatter on the 28th about whether or not they will get the bonus this month.

    How Targeted Bonuses Lead to Dental Practice Growth

    Using compensation or rewards once they bring in a certain amount of dental practice growth gives employees skin in the game. It motivates them to creatively navigate tough confrontations, push forward in asking for commitments, and successfully schedule difficult patients. It gives them a reason to care whether or not the calendar is filled and the resulting high performance will raise the top-line of your practice and lead to even more dental practice growth than you might have ever expected.


    Your payroll should amount to 20-25% of your collections. But, by using benefits to motivate your employees to reach dental practice growth goals, you can transform your payroll into a profit center for your practice. Every $1 that is paid out in employee benefits leads to X number of dollars in increased collections and growth. By maintaining high engagement and morale among your employees, this number can rise to extraordinary levels.


    This kind of compensation will have a highly positive effect on the ability of your practice to retain employees, but here are some additional ways to help to keep star employees practicing their CALLING to dentistry in YOUR office.


        • Regular evaluations and constructive feedback

        • Open, effective communication lines

        • Discovering and utilizing special skills that employees might have

        • Soliciting and implementing ideas and suggestions -whether it’s in the field of new procedures, technologies, or equipment.

      Evaluations should happen at regular, scheduled intervals and should always be encouraging and constructive as long as honest effort is being put forth. This can also be the time to discover what additional types of compensation the employee might respond to.

      On the other hand, if honest effort is not in evidence and the employee is not contributing to dental practice growth, don’t be afraid to let them go. Do not suffer or remain continually frustrated by your employees. Insist on your agreed-upon standard or discharge them. Do not allow the unacceptable to be anything but unacceptable in your practice.


      And, if your practice is wrapped in an irresistible compelling purpose and employees are rewarded in ways that are important to them, you won’t have to worry so much about letting someone go. Your employees will know that there are 11 people lined up behind them to take their place. This will also help to eliminate the danger of internal extortion in a season of rising wages.


      For more help in achieving the dental practice growth that we all seek, reach out to Client Connection Group today. We specialize in social media marketing and helping dentists from coast to coast achieve the practice goals of their dreams. Let us help YOU next!

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