Have you reached a point in your career where you’re considering adding an associate? While the thought can be unnerving, the following guidelines can help make the transition more comfortable and exciting.
Guidelines for the senior doctor-
- Prepare the team for the new associate well in advance. Skipping this step isn’t an option. While recognizing that it’s your practice, your team has a stake in the practice too, especially if they’ve been with you for a number of years.
- Welcome the new doctor into the practice with open arms. Don’t talk about them in a negative way to anyone-especially your team.
- If the candidate is a new grad, expect to take on the role of mentor, and be patient while they adjust. Demonstrate procedures in a calm and non-threatening manner. Remember, you were new to the practice of dentistry once upon a time.
- Jealously is not permitted. Patients must be shared unless a patient requests you, and you’ll also have to accept that some may prefer the new dentist. However, the new doctor should be expected to bring in new patients to build their patient base.
- Consider an open house meet and greet. Don’t be afraid to introduce them to patients and the dental community. This gathering should be positive and uplifting. Don’t keep the news a secret.
- Have a contract in While this seems like common sense, some doctors fail to include this step. A signed contract is crucial to protect all parties.
- Give it time. A new grad or even a clinician with tons of experience needs time to acclimate. A new grad may need a lot of hand-holding, so offer guidance and support on a daily basis.
- Never compare the new dentist's skills to your own or any other clinician. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Keep an open mind, and you may find that you compliment one another nicely.
- Be very careful in setting monetary and other professional goals. Give the new grad a full year before deciding on production expectations, and the experienced clinician at least six months. When the year or six months has passed, sit down with them and make realistic goals based on skill level, professionalism, and quality of work. Also, invest in the entire team by supporting continuing education, fun trips, and activities.
- Be fair in scheduling procedures. Don’t expect the new dentist to be bogged down with simple fillings and hygiene exams. They need to be challenged and Communication is key, and you should sit down with them every week or as needed to go over any questions, problems, or comments.
Hiring an associate should be an exciting time for you, your team, and your practice. While it can be a daunting task, following the guidelines can make for a smooth and positive transition.