The success of any business depends on its employees. Business owners and managers rely on the people they hire to, at a minimum, meet customer expectations. Finding and hiring the right person for a job is one of the most difficult feats to accomplish, but it is absolutely crucial. Employees, especially those who deal directly with customers, represent a business to its customers, and the right employee in the right job can add thousands of dollars to the bottom line.
For example, a key position in any dental practice is that of Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH). By some estimates the RDH is responsible for 57% or more of a dental practice's revenues. This of course varies from practice to practice. The RDH salary is typically around 25% to 33% of the hygienist’s production, or approximately 14% of gross revenues of the practice, but this also varies from practice to practice and market to market. Finding and hiring the right person to fill the RDH role should be a top priority for any practice.
Consider the expense of hiring — it can cost tens of thousands of dollars to find, hire, train, and break in a new RDH. If the person doesn't work out and you have to replace him or her, that money is gone and you have to start the whole process over. Studies in the U.S. have shown that 50% of new hires leave their jobs, whether they quit or are fired, within the first 18 months.
Not only is there a direct expense associated with the process of finding and hiring a new RDH, but there is the “opportunity cost” of not having the right person in the job. Every hour of lost RDH time, every hour that a seat is empty when it could be occupied by a patient, is an “opportunity cost” of hundreds of dollars. Add that to the money spent to find the right RDH, and it's easy to see why it pays to hire the right person the first time.
The question is, how to do that? It may seem like the only solution is the shotgun approach — put ads everywhere, on LinkedIn and craigslist and Monster and all those other jobs sites, and hope for the best. Is there a better way? Of course!
First, you need a plan. You need to know who you want to hire and why. This doesn't mean you've already identified a specific individual, but that you know the traits you're looking for in that “someone” who will fit perfectly in your practice. Are you looking for someone with a specific personality type, for example? Obviously, you want the ideal RDH whose ideal job is working for your practice.
You also need to undertake a cost/benefit analysis. How much will a new RDH cost you, including salary, benefits, bonuses, and the expense of finding and hiring the person. Then figure out how much your practice stands to make with the right RDH in position. While there are general estimates available, you know your practice better than anyone, and you should have a good idea about how much business an RDH will bring in. In your practice this may be more or less than the national average.
If you stick to your plan and keep in mind the results of your cost/benefit analysis, finding and hiring the right RDH for your practice will go much smoother. No one's saying it will be easy, but it beats blasting a help wanted ad on the Internet and hoping for the best, and it just might save you thousands of dollars.
Tonya Lanthier, RDH, began her career as a dental hygienist in 1995. Her love for dentistry was a driving force in the founding of DentalPost.net in 2005, as an easy-to-use platform to help dental professionals and dental practices connect. Tonya is a delegate for the Atlanta Dental Hygiene Society, serves on the planning committee for the Gala for Smiles, and volunteers for the Georgia Mission of Mercy and the Ben Mansell Clinic. Tonya lives in Atlanta and is the mother of twin girls.