5 things that will make you stand out and get a raise

October 17, 2016
Avalene Roberts
Avalene Roberts

Avalene is a registered dental hygienist and founder of the dental staffing and marketing company DDS Connections.

Dentists closely watch their bottom line. As practice owners, the first priority is patient care, followed by keeping overhead down. So when hygienists ask for a raise, doctors immediately think, “How much is that going to cost me for the year and is it really worth it?”

Dentists closely watch their bottom line. As practice owners, the first priority is patient care, followed by keeping overhead down. So when hygienists ask for a raise, doctors immediately think, “How much is that going to cost me for the year and is it really worth it?”

As a Registered Dental Hygienist of 12 years and the founder of the dental staffing and marketing company, DDS Connections, I have heard it all!  I have asked for a raise and discussed with dentists the reasons why they need to give raises to their hygienists. One thing is certain, making it another year at the practice, without standing out, does not cut it anymore. In order to get a raise you must stand out. Here are five things that will make you stand out and get a raise.

Continue to the next page to see the five important things you should be doing...

 

1. Always get to work on time.

Punctuality is so important. Being in the office on time, if not early, fully set-up, chair down, X-rays up, charts fully read and ready to start the day is pure professionalism. This shows that as an employee you are invested in your patients’ health and the practice. It is an undeniable show of professionalism and something that the dentist will acknowledge. Employees that show up to work late, or who are unprepared, are usually denied a raise, with tardiness as the reason.

 

2. Avoid office gossip

It can be so easy to find yourself in a conversation with another staff member who is complaining about another individual. When having any conversation about another individual not present, that is actually deemed gossip. You may have the best of intentions to hear your co-worker out, but it is wise to avoid gossip at all costs. Many hygienists ask, “How can I avoid listening?” I always recommend staying busy and telling your co-worker that you have a lot of work to do at the moment. If the gossiping persists, simply and pleasantly, advise your co-worker to speak to the individual that is causing conflict directly. If they can’t work it out, then they need to take it to the office manager.

 

3. Create a hygiene protocol

Perform full-mouth periodontal charting on every adult patient every year; recording all six depths for each tooth. Record all recession, mobility, bleeding points and furcation-involvement, with a follow-up at every re-care appointment. As healthcare providers and educators, we can find disease in its early stages and control or arrest it. We get a wealth of information from periodontal probing. It is of profound importance that we follow-up to ensure that disease is not progressing. In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control provided the following data about the prevalence of periodontal disease in the United States, “47.2 percent of adults aged 30 years and older have some form of periodontal disease.”

With that data alone, we know that many patients need regular periodontal charting to screen for periodontal disease. Once you categorize where your patients truly lie on the spectrum of oral health, you can create a hygiene protocol for your practice. This means you can provide non-surgical periodontal therapy/SRP as well as frequent re-care, as patients actually require. The dentist will be happy that the patients are receiving the best care and are being treated frequently.

 

4. Keep score and report

Keep a separate notebook where you write down, on a monthly basis, all the positive things that the patients have said during their hygiene appointments. Record the production that you have made for the office on a monthly and yearly basis. Show how your productivity is helping the practice grow. Ask the dentist to meet monthly and review things that worked and constructively mention things that can improve. Offer a solution so your concerns are received from a place of good intentions. As a practice owner, receiving valuable input for the practice is invaluable. This will ensure to the dentist that you take your position in the practice seriously and compensating you will be worth it.

 

5. Be a team player

A full schedule of hygiene patients can be tiring. The trick is to get the entire dental team on board. If the dentist has a patient waiting, then seat that patient. The assistant will take notice and you can certainly have them seat your patients when you are running late. When the entire team moves as a unit, the office will run like a well-oiled machine. Of course, it is important to call overdue patients and remind them to schedule an appointment, but also allow yourself an extra couple of minutes to walk around and support the team. This is valuable to a practice owner. Ideally, most dentists want the hygienist to be fully booked, but if there’s an opening, get on the phone! Taking a few extra minutes, in addition to phone calls, to walk around and support the team speaks volumes!

Today’s practice owners will give raises, but most want their hygienist and team to grow with the practice and show that they genuinely care. Stand out by doing these five things and you will get a raise.