The Current Wage Conundrum

It seems that everyone in the industry is talking about staffing and salaries STILL. This topic and problem aren’t going away for anyone, many offices have become revolving doors of staff leaving because the office up the street is offering a higher hourly wage to just have a team in place to run the day. Many offices are having to give existing long-term team members raises just to continue to keep up to the salary level with new hires. This is creating a problem with existing team members feeling like their pay should be far above a new hire. If you can actually find a temp they are asking rates far above the industry norm and you are having to pay these out as well.  This is the merry-go-round that many offices feel they are on right now.

Privately owned dental offices are small businesses that do not have the policies that larger companies would have in place that set limits to salaries for job descriptions. An example of this would be that a CDA with zero to five years’ experience would make between $22 and $24 an hour. If every office were to keep to a salary schedule, then we wouldn’t be seeing the movement between offices that is occurring now. Dental team members need to understand that there are limits on salaries and dental office owners need to comply with limits or this will never stop.

A few creative solutions that may help bridge the perceived gaps in salaries for loyal long-term team members:

  • You may want to change financial reviews from once in a while to every six months where depending on the length of time that a team member has been with you then they may be able to earn a bonus if they have been able to attain a number of goals that you have set forth for them. This may include, attendance, teamwork, specific duties being completed, and goals that are specific to their position. They would be aware of the goals in advance and would need to earn this bonus by more than just showing up for work each day. 
  • For team members who have been with you for one to five years, in this bonus structure, would be eligible for up to $250, those who have been with you five to ten years would be eligible for up to $500 in bonus and those who have been with you for ten plus years it could be up to $750. At the highest level this would be comparable to a $1 an hour increase if their performance warranted it. You would need to keep to the goals set when determining the amount of the bonus. You shouldn’t take the easy route on this, ensure that the team members are meeting the goals consistently that you have determined for this bonus.

It is human nature to feel that the grass may seem greener elsewhere. When team members make that decision to leave for no apparent reason, other than perhaps a few extra dollars, then it is time to have a discussion with them, not necessarily to woo them back but to really listen and reflect on why they are leaving. 

If the grass isn’t actually greener and the team member comes back to you full of remorse and asking for their position back, you really need to think very hard before you take that step. If they left for an ego boosting headhunter before, they will likely do it again. You may be putting yourself in the exact same situation a short while down the road.

You will want to avoid the revolving door of team members for both yourself and your patients. Keep your team happy with great communication, fair market wages and make their workplace one to be envied by all others in their field.

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