Eliminating the Stress of Associate Placement

Since I sold my company several years ago, I have enjoyed the opportunity to be semi retired, travel, enjoy our summer home and still work part time as a Transition Specialist for ROI Corporation. Tim Brown CEO of ROI, also has asked me to help with associate placement.

When we find an amazing applicant for their ideal position, it is truly a joy. When we find the ideal associate for our ROI clients, we are equally joyful, we hope everyone lives happily ever after in their workplace.

In the real world, life is not always perfect … but we can certainly make it easier to eliminate stress. I have been in dentistry for many years and working with associate placements has been a real eye opener. In fact, I am shocked in many situations with the lack of professionalism of some associates: of course, there are some excellent associates but many others have no goals, no vision of what they actually want and no idea how to present themselves.

Many dentists, looking to hire an associate, are not organized or have no plan of action. The result is that they end up in a more stressful situation when they hire a less than ideal associate.

10 points for dentists hiring associates:

  1. Have a current associate contract signed and updated annually.
  2. Identify that the personality and attitude of the applicant is the priority.
  3. Insist the associate works on a trial basis before you make a long term commitment. You should be able to judge their efforts and ability within 4 weeks. Technical ability will take longer to assess, but attitude, team work and effort usually show very quickly.
  4. Document the days and hours you expect the associate to work.
  5. The associate must know what your expectations are.
  6. How much experience do you expect the associate to have?
  7. Are you willing to train, mentor and encourage a new graduate?
  8. How are you going to schedule the associate to keep them busy and productive. Your business team must have clear guidelines of how to schedule the associate within your practice. For example, are associates scheduled new patients, do they do the treatment when they do a hygiene exam?
  9. Plan uninterrupted time to interview the associates.
  10. Lastly, have a list of 10 questions to ask during the interview that are important to you in the hiring process.

10 points for associates looking for a position:

  1. Be prepared or be prepared to fail. Do not hesitate to ask questions related to schedule and how you will be paid.
  2. Your CV should look and be professional with details of your education and your work experience.
  3. References are very important to most dentists hiring associates. Come prepared with reference letters or contact information.
  4. When you have a planned interview make sure you arrive a few minutes early, dressed professionally with a copy of your resume even if you have previously sent one.
  5. Make sure you answer all the questions honestly about the hours and days you are available to work, changing your mind after you have been hired causes problems with scheduling and staffing issues.
  6. Be prepared that you may be asked to sign an associate contract before you start work, or after a short trial period.
  7. Be prepared to work as part of the team, you can learn a lot from other people plus if you offer to help other team members will help you.
  8. Remember patients should be treated with respect and dignity ... be friendly, the patients need to build a relationship with you.
  9. Trust is important in any relationship. Your patients, your team and the principal dentist need to know they can trust you to do a great job.
  10. Lastly, enjoy what you do and communicate positively ... even when you have concerns, discuss them with the principle dentist and find solutions.

I have enjoyed the opportunity to lecture, consult and work as a dental business coach with thousands of dentists worldwide. The most important thing to remember is to have a positive attitude, if you think you can do something you can, if you think you can't, you are absolutely right.

Working with associate placements has been interesting, often rewarding but also frustrating, due to lack of communication with the dentists we are working with. We truly want to help dentists find that ideal associate and we truly want to help associates find an amazing position in an office that offers them security, financial rewards all in a positive work environment.

How you can help us to help you:

Both principle dentists and associates must communicate clearly to us your exact needs,. Complete your contracts and return these to our office along with any pertinent information that will assist us with your search.

Contact us after the interviews with feedback on the applicants or dental practice ... this is the most important part of the associate placement. Your clear communication and professionalism regarding these matters allows us to do the best possible job for you.

Dentistry is more exciting than ever before, with the clinical advances, new technologies and opportunities to build a successful dental practice and dental career. Most dental practices have untapped potential. Systems that the dentists think are effective and efficient are, in fact, often revenue losers. Team members often believe they are doing a great job, because they do not know any other way or they choose to do it the easy way. Dentists are so focused on their dentistry do not realize the importance of tracking patients and treatment and internal marketing. Computers are underutilized in 85% of dental practices, causing dentists and their team members to be inadequately updated with regard to their patients' treatments and procedures.

I am available to come into any practice to assist in any transition program listed below:

  • Preparing to hire an associate, introducing the new associate, setting financial goals, policies and guidelines.
  • Preparing your practice for sale, make your next 3-5 years the best to get a return on your investment, there is no need to work harder or longer hours. Most dentists can be more productive working less hours.
  • New dentists buying a practice: the set up of the entire business systems during the transition