“Dental Assisting Digest” compiled the top ten things dental assistants want their dentists to know. At the top of the list? You guessed it. Compensation. Assistants want to be paid well for their work. But how can you pay out when money isn’t coming in, at least not like it used to? Let’s see what the experts have to say about it…
Linda Miles, formerly of Linda Miles & Associates and creator of Speaking and Consulting Network, says that 70% of dental practices have reduced hours, laid off employees, cut benefits, or put a freeze on raises. In “Times are tough – no raises this year,” Linda tells us that salary increases for dental professionals may not happen this year because of our lagging economy. She says that merit raises are a much better option than cost of living raises for everyone. Linda believes that merit is based on four key components: attitude, responsibilities, performance, and the health of the practice. Read Linda’s article here, at Dentistry IQ.
Dianne Glasscoe-Watterson of Professional Dental Management answered a letter about “Keeping morale up in a down economy.” The questioner, a dentist, was worried about how to keep morale up when she could not give salary raises and was worried about having to lay off employees. Dianne says doctors need to inform their team of the practice statistics so they can understand “what it actually takes to keep the doors open.” They’ll become stakeholders in the business rather than dependents.
But let’s get back to the top ten. Money aside, the desire for respect came in a close second. It’s not surprising. RDAs are proud of their credentials and want respect from their dentists. In a related topic, “many dental assistants feel that their employers treat them like they are ‘just an expense item.’” Furthermore, “not all assistants are created the same, “say ‘thank you’ when team members work hard, and “talk to your team to see where there might be problems.” The underlying theme in all of these points is respect. So how can you show your team members that you value and respect them?
In a Dental Economics article, Dr. Anil Agarwal says that not all employees are money motivated. To show his appreciation for his team members, Dr. Agarwal says that he “. I thank my team members daily for their efforts, and keep movie and dinner tickets handy for on-the-spot recognition when someone goes well beyond the call of duty.” He goes on to recommend the book, 1001 Ways to Reward Employees by Bob Nelson.
You might also read 555 Ways to Reward Your Dental Team by Dr. Joe Blaes and Dr. Nate Booth. I’ll close up this article with a great quote that’s featured in both of these books:
“A good leader is one who approaches leadership as a calling, a life engagement that, if done properly, combines technical and administrative skills with vision, compassion, honesty, and trust to create an environment in which people can grow personally, can feel fulfilled, can contribute to a common good, and can share in the psychic and financial rewards of a job well done.”
James A. Autry
Love and Profit – The Art of Caring Leadership