The right staffing solution for your practice
Every successful owner knows that your practice is only as good as the people you employ. The dental team is the public face of the business and has a serious effect on its long-term success. To thrive in today’s economy, finding and retaining the best employees is crucial, as a high staff turnover will have a negative effect not only on reputation and profitability, but also the morale and productivity of other members within the dental team. Whether expanding or replacing a member of staff, employing the right person is critical for any practice.
Even if you think you have found the right person for the position, it is always wise to implement a probationary period to regularly review a new employee’s progress. This can be at weekly or monthly one-to-one sessions that provide you with the opportunity to discuss their progress and ensure they are content. These meetings offer new employees the chance to bring up any areas of concern and, if there are any problems that need resolving, they can be discussed in detail.
Retaining Good Staff
It is not enough to simply attract new talent to your practice; attention must also be given to ensure that they stay. To ensure staff retention practices need to provide opportunities to grow. Employees who feel appreciated are more likely to stay rather than joining one of your competitors, so a written appraisal system should be followed throughout the individual’s employment. This will give every team member a sense of value, structure and direction to their work, offering praise where appropriate and making suggestions for areas that may need improvement. Job enrichment motivates employees and a structured career path of increased responsibility and variety keeps the job interesting, ensuring that employees remain enthusiastic.
Providing a company uniform with distinctive branding also helps to create a sense of belonging to a team and is shown to increase loyalty and retention. According to studies, employer-branding techniques help to increase the quality and loyalty of staff therefore leading to better organisational performance.
Good communication is vital to ensure that employees know what to expect and how they are expected to carry out their role. It is imperative to provide staff with a concisely worded contract of employment to ensure that every aspect of the position and the practice is explained clearly. For example, employment contracts should include hours of work, annual leave entitlement including the provision of bank holidays, a detailed job description including written protocols for HTM-01-05 and CQC compliance, protocols for sickness or long-term illness, disciplinary procedures, rules of confidentiality and finer details covering policies such as adverse weather conditions.
Employment contracts protect both the employee and the practice and prevent any problems from arising between parties. Take the adverse weather condition policy, for example, this can be approached with a number of possible options such as: receiving a set payment of perhaps one day at full pay only, asking the employee to make up missed time at a later date or the option of taking days missed as holiday. Of course it pays to be flexible but, whichever policies are set; they should be clearly communicated to all employees and consistently applied.
Special attention to detail
With practice managers and treatment co-ordinators playing an increasingly more active part in practices it is important to include restrictive covenants in their contracts of employment to protect the business. These are typically clauses that prohibit the individual from poaching or contacting patients, or from working with a competitor for a certain period after they have left the practice.
Another point to remember is that all dental care professionals must be registered with the GDC, complete the required CPD and ensure that the correct fees are paid. It is of course, up to each practice owner to decide if they are willing to pay all or part of the registration fees on behalf of their staff or whether they must be settled individually. However this is addressed, the strategy for effective monitoring of GDC registration should be stated in the employment contract.
Another detail is to ensure that written protocols and procedures for complying with regulations worded into a contract, to demonstrate how seriously the practice takes these obligations. This in turn, ensures that each individual works to the correct standards and offers less chance of non-compliance or failure.
Help is at hand
If you need help recruiting staff or guidance on contracts of employment or contracts for services (for self employed staff), it is prudent to seek expert advice. The team at Dental Elite are experienced dental recruiters who work solely with the dental profession to help practices find suitable individuals to engage in locum or permanent positions. With the aim of providing all clients with an efficient and effective service, Dental Elite hopes to become the natural ‘first port of call’ for all your recruitment needs.
Once you have found the ideal person, it is just the beginning of the employee/employer relationship and by providing motivation, support, good training and an excellent team spirit your practice can grow from strength to strength providing a high-class service to all patients.
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 Branding and People, CIPD report of 2003