Monthly Archives: June 2019

How to Use a Self-Review to Ask for a Raise

If you’re a dental hygienist and you think you deserve a raise, odds are you probably do, writes Carly Scala, RDH, in her DentistryIQ article “The right to ask for a raise: A hygienist’s self-review can initiate a pay review.”

“Putting up with the situations that hygienists deal with day in and day out Putting up with the situations that hygienists deal with day in and day out (while totally loving helping people overcome said situations) is exhausting,” she writes. “Sticking with one employer through the good days and bad days is tough.”

Scala knows hygienists deserve more pay because of the things they put up with on a daily basis, however, at the end of the day it’s still a business, and a business should reward stellar employees with merit increases and recognition.

And the key to that recognition, she says, is outlined in the categories of:

  • Numbers
  • Patient happiness
  • Personal investment
  • Team building

Below, Scala breaks down these categories and spells out what hygienists should be keeping tabs on when making their case for a raise.


“Production is significant,” she writes. “Somewhere, sometime, someone said a hygienist should be getting paid 33% of his or her hygiene production. Where are you on this spectrum?”

Scala writes that you should consider these questions:

  • Are you trying to grow production by implementing a strict perio program, or are you stagnant?
  • Are you offering fresh ideas to make patients find joy in hygiene so they schedule production?
  • Are you offering the adjuncts you use on yourself to patients?

Patient happiness

Because there’s nothing better for business than happy customers, having patients submit reviews to your boss is a great way for him or her to learn how significant you are to the dentistry.

Scala created what she calls Smile Cards, which she gives to her patients to encourage them to leave a review on social media pages such as Yelp, Google and Facebook.

“Incorporate your positive reviews into your potential wage growth,” she writes. “Many times, these positive reviews say, ‘Ashley is the reason I keep coming back to ABC Dental!’ This lets your boss know you are worth investing in.”

Personal investment

Scala recommends hygienists show that, although the dentistry they work at isn’t their business, they want it to succeed.

Investing in the dentistry is making sure no one needs anything before you leave for the day instead of running out the door the second your last patient is out of the chair. It means showing up early and rarely calling off of work.

“You don’t need to pick up shifts for others to deserve a raise, but things like that don’t go unnoticed,” she writes. “Having a career should mean there is an effort on your part to make it a better place to be every day. It is not just the CEO’s job to have a successful company. We should all be invested.”

Team building

This, Scala writes, goes hand-in-hand with personal investment.

At least once a day, Scala recommends asking, “Is there anything I can do for you?”

“I am well aware that everyone in your office probably doesn’t do that,” she writes. “There’s even a chance you will be the only one who asks. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.”

After all, helping others is what hygienists do for a living, she writes and everyone—regardless of their position—could use a hand sometimes.

“When a coworker helps me I feel so thankful and immense relief,” she writes. “Be the change you wish to see in your practice, seriously! You usually see your team more than your own families. You want to like each other!”

Meeting with your boss

Now that you’re keeping tabs on doing the above things Scala mentioned, it’s time to schedule a meeting with your employer regarding job performance and wage increases.

“Come to your review equipped with all the information explained above,” she writes. “You must have a legitimate reason to ask for a raise.”

Scala said to be prepared to hear “no,” but she also said if you deserve it, you should fight for it.

“If your employer says no, there’s always room for improvement. Ask your employer, ‘What would I need to do in addition to this amazing list of things I already do?’ ” She writes. “If by the end of the meeting it remains (a no), that’s fine. Perhaps that means looking for a new job, or requesting that another review be scheduled in three months to evaluate your progress after goals have been set.

Reducing Summer No-Shows and Cancellations

According to the recent Dental Economics article, “Minimize your Summer No-Shows and Cancellations,” dental patients are often inclined to cancel their summer dental appointments. However, there are some tactics your practice can use that increase the possibility of your patients showing up for their appointments.

Lois Banta, dental practice management consultant, writes that because summer is a time for families to get outside and enjoy fun in the sun together, failed appointments during this time are more likely.

“When patients fail appointments, you’re temporarily unemployed,” Banta writes. “I’ve found that one unfilled $200 hygiene appointment over an average of 210 days of production loses $42,000 for a practice. Operative appointments at an average of $500 an hour over 210 days are another $105,000 in lost production. So the costs of no-shows and cancellations to a practice are huge.”

Minimizing no-shows and cancellations in summer starts when patients are diagnosed and appointments are made, and by turning cancellation calls into confirmation calls, and Banta writes that all of these things require exceptional verbal skills. How your team schedules and confirms appointments can impact whether or not a patient cancels.

“I’ve found that patients need to hear things three times and feel motivated in order to comply with your desire for them to make appointments, whether it’s for operative or continuing care,” she writes.

Banta suggests the scheduling process should start with the hygienist.

“When the hygienist is finished with a patient and ready to make the next appointment, it’s important to know whether that patient is a good candidate to preschedule,” she writes. “Some patients travel a lot, work irregular shifts, or have unpredictable schedules.”

If the patient is a good pre-schedule candidate, ask him or her if they would like to come in at the day of the week as the appointment they’re currently at. Don’t ask if the person wants to schedule or what time of day is preferred. Let patients know what you have available and expect them to comply.

“If a patient is not a good preschedule candidate, say, ‘I see that you’ve got a really busy life and you’ve had to change your appointments a few times. What we’ve found works best is to send you a notice a couple of weeks before you’re due so you can call to schedule your appointment. How does that sound?’ ” she writes.

Banta goes on to write that failed appointments usually happen during confirmation communications.

“When you contact patients to remind them of their appointments or to confirm their appointments, you can inadvertently prompt them to fail because it opens the door for them to cancel,” she writes. “Instead of reminding or confirming, let patients know you are merely informing them and assume they’re going to show. “Mrs. Smith, we’re calling to let you know you’re on the doctor’s schedule tomorrow at nine o’clock. We’re looking forward to seeing you.’ “

If the patient has previous failed appointments and you want to make personal contact to ensure the person will show up, ask the person to call you back because you have important information to share about the upcoming appointment. That information could be about traffic, weather, or current promotions, anything that creates curiosity, Banta writes.

In order to save the appointment, every effort should be made to uncover the barrier between them and making the appointment.

“During summer, patients often prioritize other activities, such as vacations, graduations, and reunions, above their dental appointments,” she writes. “To learn the barrier, ask, ‘Is there anything we can do to help you keep this appointment?’ If they say, ‘I’m going on vacation in a few weeks,” ask, “Why would your vacation in a few weeks cause you to cancel your appointment tomorrow?’ Often, when there is an out-of-pocket investment, money could be the real issue. That’s when you can let them know they can have both the trip and the appointment by introducing flexible financial arrangements.”

Banta writes that she’s a big fan of taking partial payments before the appointments if the appointment is a big procedure, as this cuts down the chance of cancellation because the patient is already invested.

She also says that if a patients wants to cancel, you might not want to make it so easy for them to reschedule.

“Ask patients if they want to reschedule and offer two appointment options four to six weeks out,” she writes. Many times they’ll say, ‘What? You can’t get me in for four to six weeks?’ When you respond, ‘I know. We’re so busy. But if I get a change in the schedule and an earlier appointment becomes available, I’ll give you a call.’

Banta says some patients may reprioritize their schedules and keep the appointment if this tactic is used. If they don’t, she suggests not offering an immediate open appointment.

“Place them on your priority list, which is not a list of all patients who need to come in for hygiene or incomplete care, but is only for people who have told you that if you get a change in your schedule, they will come in,” she writes. “Here’s the caveat: if you call a patient twice and they say no two times, take them off the list.”

Banta says she understands that no-shows and cancellations cannot be eliminated entirely, but she’s found that practices can get them down to 5 percent of their schedule time.

“As a last note, when open time does occur, use it wisely,” she writes. “One way is to make sure the entire team has healthy and beautiful smiles so you can show off the doctor’s clinical skills to patients. That’s great word-of-mouth marketing.”

Seven Excellent Ways to Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day

Over the last two decades, more and more companies have observed Employee Appreciation Day on the first Friday in March. Research is clear on the importance of recognition and acknowledgement for engagement and morale, with a major impact on the quality of the customer experience. One way to observe Employee Appreciation Day is to create opportunities to volunteer in the community. Games and social activities can also be a great way to recognize employees and have fun in the process. Even a lunch experience or happy hour can be beneficial.

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Four Simple Words to Help You Live Well

In order to live well we must do four simple things, Move, Nourish, Refresh, and Connect. Moving is always better than sedentary, and eating real food, instead of the process over-sugared packaged food will make a big difference. Refresh through sleep, meditation, and focusing on your well being. Connecting to family and friends to improve your well being is vital. Small tasks done through out the day can relieve stress and refresh your spirit as well, and a good piece of chocolate falls into a few categories, such as nourish and refresh.

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These 5 Management Practices Create Uncommonly Successful Workplaces

David Hassil attributes his company’s unprecedented sucess to breaking with managerial norms. For example, he espoused the need for a
shared company culture long before the term was a buzz word.

Hassil proposes that between being and doing, being is ultimately
the key attribute to look for and connect with in people, because those invisible “being” things; attributes such as moral philosophy, lead ultimately to what people choose to do.

Hassil also believes that separating work life and home life from one another, as if one does not impinge on and even occasionally bleed onto the other is also a mistake. Lives are whole entities, not chambers, and we need to see the whole of people, including all their challenges.

Hassil also found having a growth mindset was an important factor for all people. Those with a growth mindset believed that their qualities and abilities could and do grow and shift with time and effort, whereas, those with a fixed mindset believed whatever skills and attributes they had at an early age were destined to be set in stone.

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