As December unfolds, we find ourselves in the midst of a season of reflection, celebration, and planning. We think back on the year’s highlights and low points, and identify opportunities for improvement with optimism for the coming year. Now is our chance to recognize the dedication and hard work that have driven us forward, whether in our dental practices or personal lives. December also brings much-anticipated holiday parties, which are a time for team members to come together and unwind after a year of shared efforts. A recurring question that arises during this season is the matter of holiday bonuses. Do we budget for them? Are they expected by the team and seen as an obligation by the practice owner? Or is this a time for mutual appreciation and camaraderie?
The answer to this question varies from organization to organization. Some businesses allocate a portion of their budget for holiday bonuses, recognizing the hard work and dedication of their employees throughout the year. Others choose to express their appreciation in different ways, such as hosting special events, giving thoughtful gifts, or providing extra time off. What remains constant is the spirit of gratitude and acknowledgment—a chance for employers and employees to come together and appreciate the shared journey. When I was a practicing dental hygienist, I particularly appreciated the generosity of one of my employers, and that has influenced the way I demonstrate appreciation during this time of the year. Regardless of how appreciation is exhibited, the profitability of the practice tends to influence the practice’s (and practice owner’s) generosity. I hope this is a season of mutual appreciation and celebration of the bonds that have grown stronger within our teams and communities. It is not just about the size of the bonus or the grandeur of the party but the sentiment behind the gesture that truly matters.
This year, the economic climate, staffing, and profitability have been constant topics of discussion. This month's issue delves into these topics, offering insights, strategies, and expert advice to finish this year and kick-off next year as strongly as possible. This might mean changing your relationship with third-party payers, preparing your practice for a sale, M&A or DSO partnership, or leveling-up your technology or clinical knowledge. I hope the information within these pages will empower you to make informed decisions as your year ends and chart your course for the year ahead.
2023 has been an incredible year for Dental Economics and I’d like to extend a heartfelt thanks for your continued support of the magazine, our e-newsletter, DE’s Principles of Practice Management Conference, DE Solutions Lab, and our other video and social media initiatives. I am confident that 2024 will be an exceptional year and look forward to DE being your companion and champion for practice management on the journey ahead.
Editor’s note: This article appeared in the December 2023 print edition of Dental Economics magazine. Dentists in North America are eligible for a complimentary print subscription. Sign up here.
Pamela Maragliano-Muniz, DMD, is the chief editor of Dental Economics. Based in Salem, Massachusetts, Dr. Maragliano-Muniz began her clinical career as a dental hygienist. She went on to attend Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, where she earned her doctorate in dental medicine. She then attended the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Dental Medicine, where she became board-certified in prosthodontics. Dr. Maragliano-Muniz owns a private practice, Salem Dental Arts, and lectures on a variety of clinical topics. You may contact her at [email protected].