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Boss High Five

HR rules, risks, and no-nos: What the experts say

Dec. 16, 2022
Small-business owners have a lot to handle, including HR issues with their employees—and these experts have heard pretty much all of them. Enjoy our roundup of all things dental HR.

Can you “create” your own dream team of existing employees? Do you need to bother with annual performance reviews anymore? Should you require employees to clock out during downtime? What are some of the risks of withdrawing that job offer? 

It’s hard to know the answers to the myriad of human resources questions, including the ones above, that face dentists as small business owners. That’s why Rebecca Boartfield and Tim Twigg have shared their HR expertise with Dental Economics readers for many years, to provide some answers. 

To help you start your new year off on the right foot and with a sense of confidence, we share a few of the articles designed to help guide dental professionals through some of the issues you face, or may face, as a boss. If you have additional inquiries, feel free to reach out to Boartfield or Twigg at Bent Ericksen & Associates.

Is there a point to annual performance reviews?

Does your practice conduct employee review—and if so, are they done well? Therein lies the key to whether you should be conducting annual employee reviews, which, let's face it, nearly everyone hates. The most common argument in favor of annual performance reviews is that they represent documentation that can be used to help defend an employer’s actions, mostly in the case of terminations. But since they're seldom done well, it often doesn't work that way.

The end of the annual performance review

Make the most of the staff you have

Dental practice owners lose a lot of money each time they have to hire a new employee so the practice can run smoothly. The long-term, most effective solution for dentists is to invest in their current employees, which could eventually lead to that elusive “dream team.” Otherwise you might continue to beat your head against the wall while trying to find perfect employees, then experiencing turnover when a new hire doesn’t work out. Here's how to guide the employees you already have.

Is it difficult to find employees? What about guiding your own?

3 interviewing no-nos

Good interviewing skills are a necessary function of management. Yet even the most seasoned interviewers might get it wrong once in a while. Conducting an interview presents an interesting and unique set of challenges. Dentist-bosses should avoid asking these questions when they interview candidates. The questions may seem harmless, but they could possibly carry risks for an employer.

3 interview questions to avoid

Why you need SOPs

Unlike policies, which are guiding principles used to set direction in an organization, standard operating procedures detail the series of steps to be followed as a consistent and repetitive approach to accomplishing tasks. SOPs increase performance, improve efficiency, reduce confusion, and ensure quality delivery of services. They're especially important in our lingering, postpandemic tight labor environment.

5 steps to implementing standard operating procedures (SOPs)

When clocking out isn't legal

Dentists may become frustrated when their hygienists have no-shows or cancellations in the hygiene schedule, yet they're still compensating the hygienist "while they do nothing." To manage this situation, dentists often have a policy, whether written or verbal, that states hygienists must clock out when they don't have a patient or have no other work that needs to be performed. But is this OK?

Caution: Think before you make your employees clock out

The risks of rescinding

It’s not uncommon during the recruiting process to skip steps, purposefully or not, or otherwise miss something along the way. Recruiting has never been easy. The problem is that cutting corners, skipping steps and then backtracking, or otherwise “winging it” or rushing through the process can lead to problems when you later learn of something, after an offer and acceptance, that causes you to decide you no longer want that person working for you. Then what do you do?

The risks of rescinding a job offer

Recipient beware: The rules around some free and discounted services

Often, one of the perks of being a dental employee is getting discounted, sometimes free, dental care. It’s generally considered a win-win for everyone involved—great advertising and happy employees. Usually, dental practice owners can decide how best to provide this benefit to their staff. But individual dentistscan’tbe the ones deciding whether employees are paid for providing these services for charity events or as part of the dental benefit program. That’s where wage and hour problems can arise.

The real price tag: Wage and hour rules for free and discounted services

An unexpected (and simple) way through the labor shortage

While it’s easy to think about throwing money at the problem of "the great resignation" by giving raises and offering signing bonuses, retention bonuses, and so on, that may not be the best answer. Money could fix some of the problems in the short term, but now is the time to play the long gameWhile there are many ways to approach this situation, we’ll focus on one component: appreciation.

Employee appreciation: A key to getting through the labor shortage

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