Benefits for your Team

When starting and running your own dental practice, one of the biggest concerns to think about has to do with how to manage your team. What needs do they have? What basic benefits should you cover for your team in your dental practice? Are there any basic requirements? This article will discuss some of those questions.

SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE

In the United States, employers with W2 employees are expected to pay for social security and Medicare benefits. These benefits make up part of your employee’s tax withdrawals on their paycheck.  It’s important to consider social security and Medicare benefits first when evaluating the costs of benefit programs because they are required for any W2 employee.

DENTAL INSURANCE

As a dental practice, offering your team a discount on dental services is appropriate and maybe even expected. There are several ways you could offer dental service benefits. Some practices cover 100% of employee dental services. You could also cover up to a specified amount per employee.

HEALTH INSURANCE

Another standard benefit for most employers to sponsor for their staff is health insurance. The practice’s financial situation often dictates how flexible you can be, but it’s best to consider what options are valued most for your team. If you can’t afford an insurance policy with both low deductibles and low premiums, which option fits with your budget and your employee’s needs? These questions are important to consider. In Massachusetts, health insurance is required, so don’t skip this.

RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS

Most employers offer employees the ability to contribute to a 401K, 403(b), or other form of retirement account. If your dental practice is profitable with a fair amount of room in the budget, matching your employee’s contribution attracts both current and potential new staff alike. Make sure your retirement benefit program works for both you and your team.

PAID VACATION & OTHER BENEFITS

Your team works hard to bring the best dental care to your patients. They deserve adequate, and even generous time off if your budget allows. Do you want to allocate a specified amount of time off up front for salaried employees? Would you prefer an accrual system? Keep in mind the differences and specific regulations between salaried and hourly employees and plan accordingly. For example, a Massachusetts dental practice with more than 11 employees is required to provide a certain amount of paid sick time as part of the basic benefits package.

In addition to paid time off, other “nice to have” benefits might include things like paid family leave, subsidized childcare, discounts to local attractions and businesses, and more.

STILL HAVE QUESTIONS?

Do you own or manage a dental practice and still have questions about benefits? Comment below or send us an email and we’ll help you out!

Dental Careers

Are you in your late twenties, thirties or even forties and want to start a dental career? Don’t think it’s a possibility? Despite what you might think, there are options for you to get started in the dental industry if you want to do it. We’ll discuss a few steps you can take to make your dream a reality.

RESEARCH DENTAL CAREERS

Whether you’ve worked in several positions and/or industries up until this point, knowing your career options as a dental professional is an important step. Do you see yourself owning your practice one day? Would you prefer the stability of a salaried position in an established practice? Have you considered a career in the dental research and academic space? What kind of dental career track makes the most sense for your life situation, taking any family or other commitments into consideration? You could even ask a dental school admissions officer some of these questions as part of your research.

TAKE PREREQUISITE COURSES

Dental schools do require basic prerequisites for admission. These typically include about two semester’s worth of classes in biology, general and organic chemistry and physics with a lab component. Some schools may also require additional prerequisite coursework like anatomy. It’s also worth noting that shadowing – where you observe the work and practice of an established dentist – is usually required prior to starting or during your dental school course load.

In terms of where to apply, much of that depends on things like location, clinical specialization preferences, community feel, and more. Are you willing to relocate, or do you prefer to attend somewhere close by? What kind of community and/or curriculum do you want? Do you have an idea of the clinical services you’re most interested in? All of these factors play a role in where you decide to apply.

PREPARE FINANCIALLY

Finally, the path to a dental career is rigorous and demanding, both in terms of the workload and lifestyle but also on your wallet. If you’re switching to dentistry from another career, you may have had time to grow resources or savings you can tap into. If your current employer allows it, you can ask if they would be willing to reimburse some of your education expenses.

If you need to finance your dental school education, there are several options you can choose from. They include federal loans specifically for the dental industry, institutional loans, and third-party financing alternatives.

For more information on financing dental school, go to the American Dental Education Association.

WHAT NEXT?

Thinking about a career change to dentistry? Already in dental school but don’t know which career path to choose? Contact us today and we can help guide you confidently in the right direction.

Interviewing Potential Dental Staff: What You MUST Know About the Legalities

A personal interview is an essential part of the hiring process, but conducting interviews is not as easy as it seems. It is vital to ask open-ended questions, such as, “tell me about your favorite part of your previous job,” rather than closed-ended questions, such as, “did you enjoy your previous work?” It is also important to set candidates at ease and encourage them to open up. Yet it is all too easy to stray into illegal territory in a job interview, even when you think you are simply being friendly. Here is what you need to know.

Protected Classes

You are probably already aware that you must follow fair, non-discriminatory hiring practices. In fact, you should note in your job ads that you are an equal opportunity employer (EOE). This means that you do not discriminate on the basis of marital status, age, gender, national origin, religion, ethnicity, disability, or other protected class. This includes avoiding questions on these topics during the interview.

Innocent Questions Gone Awry

Unfortunately, innocent “getting to know you” questions can lead to big trouble if they reveal information about a candidate’s protected class. For example, you should never ask where the candidate was born, his or her birthday, names of the candidate’s spouse or children, or even the origin of an unusual first or last name.

Instead, stick to questions that are genuinely related to the job. For example, it is fine to ask if the candidate can provide proof of the right to work in the United States. If fluency in multiple languages is an asset in the position, it is acceptable to ask about other languages. Asking whether the candidate is able to perform the essential functions of the job, with or without reasonable accommodation, is fine. If the job requires extensive travel or weekend work, feel free to state that and ask whether the candidate is able to fulfill those duties.

The goal of hiring laws is not to prevent you from gathering enough information to determine whether the candidate is the right fit for the position. The goal is to keep employers from discriminating against employees or applicants. Keep this basic tenet in mind at all times, and how to phrase questions during the interview should become clear. Another key way to protect yourself against claims of employment discrimination is to ask each and every candidate the exact same questions in the exact same way.

Other Potential Pitfalls

How you conduct the interview matters as well. Avoid taking any photographs of candidates unless there is a specific job-related need (and then be sure to photograph ALL applicants). Do not take notes that refer to any physical characteristics or other personal details. Focus on the knowledge, skills, and abilities of each candidate as they relate to the specific job opening, and maintain equal professionalism with all.

Ready to Get Started?

If you are interested in learning how to take your dental practice to the next level, please contact Ascent Dental Solutions today at 413-224-2659 to learn how Dr. Coughlin can help.