Survey results from the ADA Health Policy Institute verifies what we already know — hiring and retaining talent is tough — with 68.8% of respondents having trouble staffing their practice. Add to that, of the more than 12,000 dental and medical practices CEDR HR Solutions works with, the single most frustrating issue is about hiring.

As a practice, what can you do to combat these challenges? (Especially as today’s tight job market will likely not improve any time soon.) Our findings tell us that now is the time to play the long game, which means focusing on recruiting, compensation, and retention best practices is critical.


Always Be Recruiting

Get clear on what makes your practice unique. Focus on why someone should work for your practice over another down the street.

Start by thinking about what candidates are seeing (or not seeing) on your social media channels. For example, culture can be a robust recruiting tool — show what makes yours special. What do you do for your patients, team, and community? Share those stories. Potential employees generally review multiple online platforms when considering where they want to work, so use your online presence to tell your story and display sincere appreciation.

Post current job openings on Facebook, Instagram, and Nextdoor in addition to more traditional job boards, such as Indeed, Linkedin, and Craigslist. It’s also a good idea to post for anticipated openings. DentalPost’s recent survey revealed over 27% of dental assistants and front office team members plan to look for a new job this year.

Enlist your patients and team in recruiting by offering a referral bonus. Consider $500 for a front office team member and $1,000 for an RDH, paying a portion on day one of employment and the balance at 90 days. Since candidates come in knowing about the practice, recruiting firms find this can have a better ROI than investing in paid ads.


Ensure Compensation Is Competitive & Sustainable

Where does your staff overhead percentage sit currently? To make sound business decisions for the practice, you need to know your numbers. Target a healthy range of 26-31% of collections, including payroll taxes and benefits (not including 401k benefits). Even with the tight labor market, this percentage remains unchanged. Our Overhead Analysis can reveal categories to target to improve overall overhead health.

Consider improving other systems to offset necessary wage increases — fee increases and periodontal care are two areas we see in most of our practices that, with improvement, can result in increased net profit (even with a salary increase).

Follow the advice of CEDR, our affiliate partner: “When it comes to making a salary offer, now is not the time to lowball. Remember that most job seekers expect to make 10% more when they change jobs, so offer accordingly… Put your best foot forward and offer a competitive wage right out of the gate in the current climate.” Review pay rates for your area on and


Lay the Groundwork for Retention

The effects of the pandemic have not only impacted overhead in practices but have also caused many employees to reexamine their financial situation, creating a greater degree of scrutiny on wages and financial benefits offered in the workplace. So ask yourself, why should your team members keep choosing your office?

Many employees look to their hourly wage as their only comparison tool. Use our total pay statement to turn the benefits your practice offers into a comparable hourly wage, which can bring to light hidden compensation. Is overall compensation running high? Work on systems to grow the practice to rightsize them.

Match what surveys reveal team members want: PTO, flexible work hours, tuition reimbursement, and retirement benefits. A recent Betterment survey found that employees “desire additional support from their employers to avoid being enticed to look elsewhere.” This suggests most of your great team members want to stay where they are — help support that decision.


Your success is our success. Please reach out to us anytime.
Learn more, visit the Practice Support Team page, email us at, or call 1.800.665.5323.

Burkhart Dental Supply – Practice Support Team

Category: Practice Consulting

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