I don’t mean to brag, but I’ve helped thousands of dentists increase their revenue, grow their practice, and turn their practice into the practice of their dreams. That’s why I’m active on social media, keep a weekly blog, and host a podcast on a multitude of topics in dentistry—to help dentists, like you, run a practice that delivers WOW.
Whether you’re struggling with your marketing, productivity goals, or whatever else comes with running a dental practice, I’m here to help. For example, a member of my mastermind group once came to me asking for advice about paying her dental team. A team member had asked for a raise, and she was put in a tough spot. She simply didn’t know if she could afford to pay that team member more, no matter how much they deserved it. It’s a dilemma that every boss faces, dental boss or not.
And as a dental boss, I’ve had to deal with discerning how much to pay my team quite a few times. So, when that member of my mastermind group asked this question, I was quick to share some of the lessons I have learned. So, how do you know how much to pay a dental team member? Here’s how.
1. Determine how much value each team member offers with their skillset.
With any dental team, constantly be training and empowering your staff to do the best work they can so you can turn all team members into rockstar employees. Then give them productivity goals you want them to crush. By doing so, you will begin to get a clearer picture on their skills and productivity.
Do they achieve their goals? Do they engage and apply the training? If so, those are good signs the team member is adding a lot of value to your practice. But simply achieving goals and utilizing skills enough for the practice to grow isn’t necessarily enough for each team member to get that raise they want. They also need to be continually growing those skills. Why? Because the more value they can offer, the more you can pay them.
Help them be able to handle a more complex assortment of tasks. For example, if they’re not only handling phone calls like rockstars but can also be super effective at scheduling, they’re going to become a bigger asset to your practice. And when they’re a bigger asset to your practice, the positive return on your investment in them will enable you to raise their salary without putting yourself in a deficit.
Once they get the raise, they might even increase their ROI more. Just by having that monetary incentive, their motivation might increase substantially. More motivation will likely make them even more productive. But they need to be productive in more than one area, or they aren’t working hard enough to increase their pay grade. That brings us to the second step.
2. Set up a pay-grade system that pays each employee based on the value that their skillset offers.
If you set up a pay-grade system that classifies what work warrants what pay, it’ll be easier to understand whether you can afford giving one of your team members a raise. Keep it simple, a higher amount or value of work should qualify for a higher amount of pay. This not only ties hard work to pay it ties continuous skill improvement to pay.
This type of pay-grade system will also make it very clear to your team about the expectations that need to be met in order to receive the different levels of pay that you offer in your practice. It’s up to you to help each team member understand that they can’t get a higher level of pay without putting in a higher amount of work.
For example, say you have a dental assistant who has a limited skillset. They can assist with fillings. They can set up your trays. And they can sterilize the instruments. Most dental assistants can handle those tasks so that’s not exactly going above and beyond. So, that person would qualify for the level one pay-grade. If that dental assistant developed a broader skillset, they could earn more pay. I have a dental assistant in my practice who puts in the amount of work to warrant way more than a level one pay-grade. She can place sealants. She orders all of the supplies. She’s amazing at making all of the temporaries. She also can work at the front; handling phone calls, making appointments, discussing treatment plans with patients, etc.
Because of her broad skillset she’s able to bring a higher ROI to the practice. And because she’s on a different level than many dental assistants, I can afford to increase her paygrade to level two and give her a higher salary.
Are you paying your dental team adequately?
Dentistry is a fast-paced lifestyle with lots of stress, and you can’t blame your team members if they ever feel like they deserve more compensation for their hard work. But a dental practice is a business, and finances aren’t something to be impulsive about. Before you give your team member a raise, consider their skillset and the amount of work they’re putting in. And give them opportunities to expand both so they can add more value and earn more work.
If you want more tips and tricks about delivering WOW with your dental practice, we are helping hundreds of practices during this time in our Delivering Wow Practice Accelerator Program, and are offering special value for you and your teams!