Down the More Money or Else Barrier
Rather than giving a raise,
raise the bar. Set guidelines for raises when you hire an employee
and inform current staff of the new policy. Explain when
raises can be discussed and under what conditions they are given.
Staff will respect you as a leader, and you won’t be working
just to meet payroll.
performance measurements to determine raises. Performance
reviews are one of the most effective tools in creating a total
climate of success in your practice. They
provide an objective and neutral means of leveling the playing field
for the entire staff. While resistance is common initially, employees
rated against objective measures will place more trust and confidence
in the process. They also see the direct relationship between their
performance, the success of the practice, and ultimately their potential
for individual achievement, which comes in the form of a pay raise.
With input from the employee, establish individual performance
goals that compliment practice goals, such as increasing
collection ratio, improving accounts receivables, expanding production,
reducing time to prepare treatment rooms, and increasing clinical
skills. Provide job expectations in writing, and rate the employees
on those expectations. For example, if you expect collections to
be at 98%, tell your front desk staff, help them to develop a strategy
to achieve that rate, including collections training if necessary,
and hold them accountable.
Follow these guidelines for establishing performance measurements.
Develop results-oriented job descriptions/expectations for all
performance appraisals twice a year
a minimum, appraise the employee’s performance in the
instructions, cooperation, quality of work, initiative,
innovation, time management, communication, and flexibility
characteristics, such as professional appearance, verbal
skills, ability to work under pressure, organization skills,
ability to prioritize
productivity and measure performance
Provide constructive feedback regularly
the standards before you raise wages.
you have any questions or comments, please email Sally McKenzie
in having Sally speak to your dental society or study club?
An Ailing Business Foundation Can Cause
VP Professional Relations
Last week I discussed setting up a workstation as an emergency server
“just in case” your server ever needed repair [see
article]. This temporary “contingency plan” costs
very little (if anything) to implement and will provide one of those
“WHEW” moments if you ever have the need to run your
dental practice while your main server is down.
week’s article prompted two responses from our readers which
begs the question – “When does this all end (spending
$’s on technology)?
My response to the question is to first offer some spending guideline’s
A dental practice investing in technology to augment the operational
(business) side of their practice should expect to invest
(budget) 1.5% of their annual gross revenues. What does
that 1.5% include, you might ask?
Practice management software, updates, unlimited telephone support
New computer hardware every 36 to 48 months
On-site professional technical (hardware/network) installation/maintenance
At least 16 hours of on-site software training each year
Example: Practice gross = $500,000/year. Technology budget = $7,500/year
Example: Practice gross = $750,000/year. Technology budget = $11,250/year
Example: Practice gross = $1m/year. Technology budget = $15,000/year
A dental practice investing in technology for both operations and
clinical information management should expect to spend (budget)
3.0 to 3.5% of their annual gross revenues. Your investment should
cover the following:
- Practice management
software, updates, unlimited telephone support
- All clinical software
upgrades to their practice management software
xrays, digital imaging (camera), periodontal probing, etc.
computer hardware every 36 to 48 months
- On-site professional
technical (hardware/network) installation/maintenance
least 32 hours of on-site software training each year
Practice gross = $500,000/year. Technology budget = $15,000/year
Example: Practice gross = $750,000/year. Technology budget = $22,500/year
Example: Practice gross = $1m/year. Technology budget = $30,000/year
“Mark, I don’t think I spend that much each
It is certainly possible that you do not spend that much money.
Back in 1998 and 1999, all of you scrambled to buy Pentium computers
so the little clock would recognize the year 2000 – remember
Y2k? Well, it’s Y2k+3 right now!
It is now August, 2003! Guess what, you may not have spent your
budget amount during ’00, ’01, or ’02 but you
may need to start thinking about it! As we all get older, these
upgrades and updates will become less of a surprise and more of
a standard of doing business.
Technology + Training = Productivity Increase = Return on
Investment. For those of you who have heard me speak before,
you know how passionate I am about the need for your team to receive
professional training. Many practice owners have no problem investing
(or re-investing) in digital cameras, intra-oral cameras, digital
xrays, etc., but at the same time, many of you “skimp”
on providing professional training for your team. Your practice
management software is the center operational “core”
of your business. Your software company updates your “core”
every year. Your team needs professional training in order to generate
the return on investment for you!
Getting back to the question, “When does this all end?”
The answer is ...
better hope it NEVER ends – at least until you retire!
Keep sending in your questions and responses! We love getting them.
you have any questions or comments, please email Mark Dilatush at
in having Mark speak to your dental society or study club?
The Cold Shoulder
Giving Dentists And Their Staff Different Perspectives On Day To
have two employees, each were dental assistants who moved to front
positions. They become very unreasonable when asked to
assist me when the
true dental assistant is gone.
have resorted to giving a bonus for the times when they have to
do the dreaded deed. However, I feel this is really not needed,
since true team members would fill in for a fellow employee whether
receiving a bonus or not.
the last week, my main assistant has broken her ankle and will be
off for a period of time. I increased the flat bonus but they thought
they were to receive it for each time rather than a lump.
I am already overstaffed and ready to throw these two employees
to the wolves for being so reluctant to do a job that is within
their job description.
I being unreasonable and do you have any other suggestions?
Regards, Dr. Reasonable
As with all offices, there is history, and this history
influences what is reasonable and what is not; however,
notice that I said influences and not “determines”.
The reasonable approach to making money and handling staff is based
upon universal principles of behavior. The environment of work is
about an exchange of services. I pay you and you do what I ask you
to do. I do not have to hire you and you do not have to stay and
work for me.
Dr. Reasonable, are you willing to begin to examine this situation
by employing this premise. If you will not accept the principles
of “fair exchange, money for services”,
then you will never understand nor resolve your situation.
You are a man and the assistants are women. Women enjoy talking
to each other. This is not a newsflash; however, it deserves to
be factored into the assessment. They do not like being separated
and this makes sense.
To pay them a bonus to do their job is the equivalent to
paying a ransom; however, do they really have something
you cannot replace? You are right that the bonus is unnecessary
but for the wrong reason. You do not have a team but rather a group
of individuals enjoying themselves at your expense.
In response to your assistant being out for an extended period,
you offered to pay even more, and then they became even greedier.
Doesn’t this sound like they only want to stay together and
only reluctantly want to help you make money? Does this sound right
to you? Are their priorities correct? What about yours?
Now I am well aware that your behaviors in the past have
created the dynamics for this scenario. They are behaving
as they should “I am being inconvenienced and should be compensated,
and he will back down like always”. The question becomes do
you want to do the right thing or continue to feel bad about your
When you use the term “team”, you are implying the presence
of a “leader”. A leader is a certain kind of person
with specific behaviors that make followers want to follow. Anyone
can be a leader in a business situation, because you are paying
them. Social movements require born leaders, because they must make
people follow without payment. Do you want to lead your
The answer to your question “am I unreasonable?” is
no, you are not unreasonable to ask someone to do their job; however,
are you ready for the solution?
The inability to say “no” goes back many years. The
inability to tell people what we want goes back even farther. What
is currently clear is that your inability to say “no”
has the staff blackmailing you for more money and your
inability to tell people what you want has you over staffed.
Can you see that while the answer to your question is “no,
you are not unreasonable”, the real answer concerns taking
action. You can tell people what you want in a nice gentle voice.
They do not have to listen to you...right? So now what? Will you
go and find someone who will listen to you or must you remain trapped
fiscally, physically and psychologically?
Executive coaching teaches people how to take command
of their life: career, family, and interpersonal relationships.
Want your issues answered? Ask the firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your Overhead Rising and
Your Revenues Staggering?
Dental Supplies – 5%
Miscellaneous – 10%
Payroll Taxes and Benefits
3% - 5%
Facility – 5%
How To Tip The Scales Back In Your Favor?
You Increased Your Hygiene Days Per Week In The Past Year?
If not ... this book is a must!!!
To Have A Successful Recall System
Sally McKenzie, CMC
patient retention is not guaranteed by preappointing, sending
postcards, letters, or even phone calls. But an effective use
of an integrated retention system can significantly improve your
ability to keep patients returning. This step-by-step guide to
the systems used by today's most progressive practices includes:
letters that get responses, telephone monitoring techniques to
ensure patient retention, tools to monitor your success, and scheduling
tips for a productive hygiene department.
Rate for this week's newsletter subscribers - $37.00
Do you have any letter ideas for dismissing a patient from your
care? I know we need to let her know that we will treat her for
emergencies only for thirty days, but how would you word a letter
like that to keep the peace as much as possible?
Here is a letter that you may find helpful
Providing excellent dental care for my patients is of utmost importance
to my staff and me. It is also necessary that I be on the “same
page” with my patients regarding their goals for their dental
health. Personalities play a big role in our success together as
a team. It is apparent that we are not a good fit for a long-term
I truly believe that it is in your best interest in seek professional
dental care with another dentist that you feel comfortable with.
I will be available to you for emergency dental treatment only for
the next 30 days from the date of this letter.
If you would like for us to provide you with a copy of your dental
records, please visit us to sign your release form. It would be
helpful to call ahead of time to give us time to duplicate your
We wish you the best and feel certain that you will find the right
dentist for you.
you wondering if your hygiene department is producing what it could
Allan Monack's hygienist produces $1231 a day seeing 1 patient an
hour with a prophy fee of $70.
your hygienist producing?
Monack is the Hygiene Clinical Consultant for McKenzie Management.
He can help you produce the same results.
To find out more about the Hygiene
Clinical Enrichment Program [go
here], contact us at email@example.com
or call: 877-777-6151
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· Financial Coordinators
· Patient Coordinators
· Scheduling Coordinators
· Treatment Coordinators
· Hygiene Coordinators
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Center for Dental Career Development
Business Education for Dental Professionals
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