There are critical considerations to make since, on the one hand, hiring too many people can cause your operating costs to spiral out of control, but on the other, failing to add new employees as your business expands might limit its expansion and lead to a loss of revenue.
As it turns out, there are a few crucial factors to consider when hiring new employees. First, it’s not clear if you’re referring to the front or back desk.
Time to Bring in New Employees
Filling Support Roles
It’s a breeze behind the scenes. Whether or not you can participate depends on your availability. An issue exists if you have to schedule patients more than a week in advance. Nobody should have to wait more than a week to be seen.
Now, more efficient scheduling might be the answer to this problem. You can probably get more done if you schedule your activities more effectively. Using the techniques presented, your output can be increased by a factor of two with no increase in working hours or stress. Always leave yourself a little wiggle room in your schedule for case presentations. Treatment plans are often not handed off to the front desk’s billing department after being presented.
To increase output if you have reached your capacity, consider hiring an additional assistant or hygienist. Check the Dental Practice Act and other relevant laws to ensure that your assistants and hygienists are performing all the tasks assigned to them. If you’re spending time on tasks that they could be handling, you’re losing out on productivity. A second assistant or hygienist can be had for less money than a new associate.
Hygiene is where the bulk of your cases should originate; if you’re not seeing enough patients for cleanings, that’s a red flag. Patients who have finished their therapy are the “good patients” and hence easy to schedule for hygiene appointments. But you also want patients who have had excellent care to visit for cleanliness, since this provides an opportunity to diagnose and propose treatment to them, which is where your output lies. There may be a need to increase the size of the hygiene department if it is currently at capacity with “excellent patients” and cannot accommodate patients who have received exceptional care.
If your current staff of assistants and hygienists are already at maximum capacity and you still find yourself overbooked on your own output (even using the most effective scheduling practices), you may want to consider hiring an associate, at least initially on a part-time basis.
Positions Open in the Lobby
When it comes to the reception area, I’ve noticed that administrative employees (those who aren’t dentists, hygienists, or assistants) aren’t given the respect they need. I’ve seen that many places have overflowing back rooms yet nearly empty front desks. Many doctors may not realize that the efficiency of the office’s back end depends on the work of the administrative personnel.
It’s not good if the front desk can only handle walk-in customers (like answering phones, getting patients scheduled, working with insurance, collecting co-pays, getting paperwork signed, etc.) and don’t have time to call patients to remind them to renew their membership, book hygiene appointments, fill the doctor’s schedule, cultivate referral programs, etc. These are the actions that result in clients receiving treatment; they provide output for the back office.
It’s time to hire extra people if the front desk is too busy responding to customers’ needs to actively seek out new ones. However, before looking to hire more people, you should make sure that each member of your staff is contributing to the fullest extent of their potential. It’s possible that inefficiency or employees diverting time from more important tasks are the real reasons reactivation isn’t happening at your office.
Avoid bringing on a new worker merely to “assist” an existing worker. If you have someone whose job it is to “answer the phone and schedule patients,” and you recruit someone another whose job it is to “answer the phone and schedule patients,” then you are likely paying two people for the work that could be done by one. It’s rare for this to lead to more output; more often than not, it only makes one of the schedulers bored.
Assign each person specific responsibilities. You could, for instance, have one person handle the doctor’s personal production while another person answers phones, reactivates patients, and performs other hygiene-related tasks. Then they can stop trying to do one other’s work and start doing their own. There needs to be one unique responsibility for each member of the workforce.
In Conclusion, know when to bring on new employees.
A new employee is not “expensive” to hire in a well-run business because their efforts will generate more revenue than their salary. Staff compensation, however, can represent a significant drain on resources if administrative costs spiral out of control. An orderly approach is the solution.
If you have everything in order, are making the most of your employees’ skillsets, and keeping a close eye on the numbers, you should be able to pinpoint exactly which part of your operation is causing your expenses to spiral out of control. You might not even need to hire a new employee; perhaps the person in charge of that unproductive department only needs to be replaced.
The objective is that you should educate yourself further on the subject of management and organization.