Achieving Long-Term Stability in a Short-Term World
Having lived on both the Florida and Texas coasts, I’ve seen my share of hurricane force winds. If you’ve ever seen strong gusts violently shake a large, seemingly unmovable oak tree, you know its branches can land in odd places. In 2020, the dental field was that unmoving oak, and the coronavirus pandemic was the strong gust.
One of the most impactful changes to dentistry during this time was a complete reversal of a once saturated Hygiene employment market. According to a recent poll by the ADA, nearly 40% of dentists are still trying to recruit hygienists. Of those, 95% say it’s extremely or very difficult to hire someone. The days of hygienists taking what they could get is in the past– we are now living in a hygienists market.
This challenging labor market has caused significant strain on practice owners as they struggle to fill hygienist positions. As Director of Dental Hygiene at Apex Dental Partners, I’ve witnessed many dentists become relieved from the burdens and administrative responsibilities of traditional practice ownership due to a partnership with Apex.
If your team is struggling with patient retention and a drop in revenue due to your reliance on temporary staff, an Apex partnership can help. Here’s our advice:
1. Re-Prioritize Outstanding Patient Care
At the risk of overgeneralizing, most temps have one primary goal: get through the day. Their focus is not to learn the nuances of your practice’s perio program or caries risk assessment.
Most temps do strive to do the right thing in regards to patient care, but simply haven’t amassed enough hours with your team before they can dance to your practice’s unique beat.
For example, if a patient is scheduled for a prophy, and the temp finds localized periodontal disease, they may not mention it to the patient or dentist in a well-intentioned effort to minimize additional surprises for the patient. The temp may also avoid giving patients periodontal, oral cancer, or caries risk screenings if they’re unaware of the practice’s assessment protocols.
An overreliance on temporary staff will have long-term effects on the quality of patient care, camaraderie of your team, and endurance of your leadership– eventually resulting in diminished productivity and failing profitability for your practice.
2. Create a Practice that Feels Like Home
What do we want from our homes? From a basic standpoint, we search for shelter to survive the elements and somewhere we can plan a future. Before investing in a home, it’s common to ask questions like:
- Is the neighborhood safe?
- Are there cracks in the foundation?
- Does this home provide space for my family to grow?
Equate this to our work homes. Like most people, dental hygienists will eventually want to settle down in one place with financial shelter and long-term stability. However, some practices have issues that aren’t worth the hassle, particularly if a turnkey employment home can be easily found down the street.
A strong community of dental professionals offering resources, assistance, safety, and longevity helps hygienists feel supported and eager to call a practice their home. With Apex, your practice gains a suite of dedicated business professionals, as well as the stability of a large organization, while maintaining the values of private practice. This means the foundation you built with your practice will always feel like home– just with a little extra support.
3. Offer Development and Growth Opportunities
Similarly, dental practices with growth opportunities attract permanent hygienists. Prospective team members prefer working in an environment that encourages their ability to learn modern techniques and challenges them to expand their skill set.
As Director of Dental Hygiene, I am focused on guiding 150+ hygienists in our family of over 40 practices to grow as clinicians and leaders. Through an Apex partnership, hygienists receive tools and guidance that enables them to master new methods and strengthen their weaknesses. In addition, our Apex team members benefit from a competitive salary and benefits package, as well as a network of professional peers who will offer healthy competition and praise for a job well done.
And away from their work home, Apex provides hygienists the opportunity to enjoy a balanced personal life. Our unique model eliminates the after-hours burdens from your clinical team, encouraging hygienists to create flexible schedules that align with their lifestyle, health, families, and personal and professional goals. This structure leads to happy employees who stay long-term.
How an Apex Partnership Attracts Permanent Employees
Minimizing the use of temps will enhance your practice’s patient experience and revenue. But how can practice owners decrease their reliance on temps during a hygienist shortage? In these unique times, one solution stands out: a strategic partnership.
With an Apex partnership, your practice can become a home where hygienists will settle long-term. As a trusted partner, Apex provides the support every practice needs to attract permanent employees while your clinical team retains the autonomy they need to provide an outstanding patient experience.
Included in our complete suite of business and administrative services, Apex offers support from a dedicated team of professionals who manage the recruitment, development, and retention of our industry’s best. As a result, our partnered practices use fewer temps, have more tenured teams, and cancel fewer appointments thanks to the outstanding support they receive paired with a culture that is both rewarding and fulfilling.
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By choosing the right partner, selling your dental practice can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your professional career. At Apex Dental Partners, we work closely with you every step of the way to ensure you feel comfortable and confident you're making the best decision for your future.