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How much money do you lose due to staff absence?

Posted on June 17, 2014 in Articles & Recruitment

Lis Hughes, Managing Director at Frank Taylor & Associates, looks at what you can do to fill any gaps in your workforce and ensure your practice continues to run smoothly.

Which one are you?

The DIY Dentist

With the amount of dental staff looking for work, it’s no surprise that when we speak to practice owners, most say they would try or have tried to recruit  for themselves. The attraction is to save money finding a new team member, but the reality is that it will most likely cost you more, not only in money but in time too. So why not leave the legwork to the professionals so you can get on and run your business.  After all, a patient with a toothache will come to you; they won’t go to the garage and get the pliers!

A few things to consider:

1. Ask yourself if you really want to be inundated with CV’s to look through when you need a new permanent member of staff.

2. Decide if you want to spend time and money on lots of long phone calls whilst trying to do a days’ work.

3. Work out how much it will cost you in the long run when you could just pick up the phone and ask your Specialist Recruiter to do all this for you.

Picture this – It’s Monday morning, you have back to back appointments confirmed, and your Practice Manager receives a call at 8am from the Hygienist to say they can’t come into work.  Do you ring all the patients and hope they won’t mind being told they have to re-arrange their appointment when they have taken time off work to attend, or do you try and cover them yourself in between your own patients?  Either option is not ideal so wouldn’t it be better to call on the services of your ‘Speed Dial Agency’ who will have locums on stand-by ready and waiting to go to work at a moments’ notice?  Keeping a full day of appointments and achieving the revenue from this will outweigh the cost it will set you back if you used the agency, not to mention the stress and hassle on a Monday morning for you and the other members of your team.

The Organised Dentist

The hassle-free option is the one where you have already sourced a specialist recruiter who understands you. Not only that, they will understand the market, the profession and what it means when you pick up the phone and dial their number.  You should expect that in an emergency, the specialist recruitment agency of your choice should be able, in the time it takes to extract a molar, get your requirement confirmed.   Planning ahead ensuring all holidays are covered in advance by booking a locum is ideal.  This not only puts your mind at rest that everything will run like clockwork, it also reassures your team and won’t disrupt their day.

In preparation for these occasions you should:

  1. Make sure you agree terms and fees with your ‘Speed Dial Agency’ before you need them so there are no surprises in an emergency.
  2. Be sure to let your receptionist or Practice Manager know who they should call in case you are not around when the time comes, saving time.
  3. Plan ahead as soon as you know rather than leaving it to the last minute.

Picture this – It’s an unusually sunny bank holiday Monday and your dental nurse calls your Practice Manager to say she can’t come into work the next day. Your Practice Manager has a good relationship with the agency and calls her contact right away asking for cover.  The agency takes over and gets to work. The next thing you know a Locum Dental Nurse, who can also cover reception because she is experienced enough and knows your system, turns up at the required time.  Doesn’t that sound much easier?  Because you were organised and ready for an emergency you have saved time, kept your Practice Manager happy and not lost any revenue.

The moral of the story is that it doesn’t really cost very much to ask someone else to help you out of a tight spot.  Yes there is a fee involved, but what you save in the long run is worth so much more than what you end up with if you are not prepared to let the professionals help you.

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