Determining Fair Compensation

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Part 2

So I speak of establishing a fair wage for the position you are filling based on the market you are in, the skill sets required, the amount of work/responsibility that the job entails and all the other components that make up the initial salary offering.

There are a number of things to consider as you construct the first step; which is the fair wage range that you will establish.  I speak of “range” because you will come across some excellent candidates that may have the skill sets you require minus one or two things that can be learned over time–often a short time.

Get into the habit of speaking in terms of range initially (example: $ 14-18 to start). This is the compensation that applies if and when you determine that one of the candidates has what it takes to join the team after the following has been accomplished. The owner/doctor should have a number in mind that would be the eventual compensation when all the skill sets are satisfactorily acquired. This is the salary they have earned by proving themselves and the goals that are set.

In preparation

  • Conduct due diligence re salary ranges in your area.  There are many websites that offer this information such as  Check with dental colleagues in your geographic market that have similar practice styles/cultures to yours.
  • Carefully list (on paper) all the necessary requirements that the candidates must have coming in the door. Be as thorough as you possibly can. It’s great if this can be a team exercise so that you gather everyone’s input.
  • In what areas are you flexible? What if the applicant has some skills or licensures to attain such as x-ray or anesthesia certification, knowledge of your software product, utilizing digital x-rays, fabricating cosmetic temps, etc. ?

These abilities and skills will vary from practice to practice and doctor to doctor, but if you hire based on the person, understanding that they come with most of the skill sets you are looking for, then please be open to an additional short learning curve to get them up to speed or give them time (specified in writing) to acquire the necessary certifications.  No dental professional, no matter how experienced they might be will be able to walk into a new practice and immediately know how everything is to be handled.  Every practice is distinctly different.

  • Conduct a Skill Assessment period (with fair compensation) over a day or two to determine how they fit with the team, your patients, your practice, and the job description that has been constructed for the position.

NOTE: Many refer to this extension of the interview as a “Working Interview”.  I haven’t utilized this term in years, as I believe it is misleading and often without structure, so please have an outline created for the candidate to follow and someone to guide them as they go through their day(s) whenever possible. Also be sure to check with your accountant or Financial Adviser as to how you should compensate them for their time (by Federal Law you MUST pay them at least minimum hourly wage for the time that they are present in your practice in a “working” capacity.)

  • Have your team meet with the best candidate(s) in a non-threatening setting–perhaps for lunch or coffee without the dentist/owner present.  This informal meeting should help the existing team determine if the applicant appears to be a good fit for the group and, often lots of additional important information is shared during these meetings. The majority of the team should be in approval of the chosen candidate, if someone objects there should be a legitimate reason as to why they are not supporting this decision.  Ultimately the dentist/owner should have the final say.
  • Once you have thoroughly gone through the above steps, you are now ready to create your Hiring Offer and Progressive Salary Structure.

Watch for the 3rd and final post on this topic as I discuss The Progressive Salary Structure;  how to create it and utilize it to benefit both the employer and the employee.


2 thoughts on “Determining Fair Compensation

  1. Great post, Deb! As a coach who works with dental personnel as well as dentists, I like your approach. I recommend to my dentist clients that the number one criteria for hiring should be attitude. The dental industry is technically based, and there is a great deal of emphasis when hiring (and on compensation) on skills alone. Realty is that attitude and character are game changers. Potential employees need to know that.

    • For sure Kristin, “attitude” above all else!! My purpose for this 3 part post is to get the message across to all those dentists/employers (and coaches like yourself) that making the Hiring Process a “true” Process is critical. One of the biggest stumbling blocks is aligning the compensation with the “value” of the new employee. My recommended approach not only assures the hiring manager of a fair wage based on the talent and contributions of the new hire, but the incoming team member will less likely find themselves out looking for new employment way too soon due to “Buyer’s Remorse”. Watch for the final post next week that brings it all together! Thanks for the input!

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