February 4, 2022
by Dr. James Younger
The pandemic has completely transformed the dental job market landscape, as indicated by the turnover rates reported in the industry. We hear of hygienists, assistants, and administrative staff have been let go due to lack of patient volumes and inconsistent income, forcing owner dentists to reduce payroll.
In seeking viable alternatives to fill the holes left by declining staff numbers, owner dentists and their practices have been turning to dental temping. Dental temping allows dentists to fill roles within their respective practices with interim dental professionals who can take on many tasks and step in at the last minute to cover absent staff or take on immediate appointments. But, how does a temp agency work? And what value do they add for dental leaders going forward?
Temping services act as outsourced HR departments that help dental leaders to identify talent that can help their practices in many meaningful ways. The best temp agencies are the ones that can help practices address specialized worker needs, filling roles with specific skill sets whenever necessary. The agency helps leaders weed out unqualified candidates, streamlining the hiring process to bring in the candidates that fit most of the criteria that owner dentists seek for various roles. Dentists can hire temporary hygienists, assistants, administrative staffers, and dental associates when they need to buffer their teams.
Dental leaders can access large candidate pools through temping agencies, giving them plenty of evaluation choices. The temps they hire have a chance to gain experience on the fly during the short-term period; they work for the practice, potentially increasing their chances of permanent employment at some stage.
Dental temping comes as a great convenience to owner dentists looking to increase their dental team capabilities during busy periods. This is especially necessary as patient volumes are returning to pre-pandemic levels for many practices across North America. We’ve heard dental leaders expressing their concerns about meeting client demand with a limited team. While some owner dentists have been able to rehire those laid off during the earlier pandemic stages, others haven’t been as fortunate, turning to dental temping services to help them find quick solutions to their staffing challenges.
Considering how technical and sophisticated dental work is, it’s not easy to find temporary solutions for specific roles, especially temporary dental professionals who are qualified to do the necessary work.
Dental temping services are value drivers for dental leaders because they help them cut their spending on advertising, recruiting, and interviewing.
Looking for workers requires significant investment; with income generation proving to be an issue for many practices throughout the pandemic, dental leaders need to shave costs when they can while trying to improve employee hiring and retention. Plus, it’s not feasible for practices to draft up advertisements for temporary positions that only cover a handful of shifts. Temp services provide the kind of short-term cover that dental leaders are looking for without spending exorbitant amounts when turnover occurs.
Additionally, temp agencies allow owner dentists and other dental leaders to save money on training programs. Running a training program for new employees is costly and time-consuming as you try to help new team members acclimatize to their new surroundings and hone their skills.
Additionally, there are costs to being understaffed. When a dental practice doesn’t have a full team to cover demand, owner dentists may have to pay overtime for those members staying on for longer periods to cover multiple responsibilities. At the same time, understaffing leads to more mistakes on the job, fewer tasks getting done properly, and a greater potential for people getting hurt on the job. Temp services cover some of the employment headaches that dental leaders face, allowing them to bring in people to improve productivity while reducing potential payroll costs. In times like these, cost-saving is a huge priority, and temp services allow dental leaders to optimize their hiring process while reducing key expenses.
In a post-COVID world, dental temping services have a lot of value to provide to dental leaders and is a solution that looks set to grow for the foreseeable future.
About the Author
Dr. James Younger is a practicing dentist and Founder/CEO of TempStars – Canada’s largest and #1 rated dental temping and hiring service. Connecting over 5,000 dental offices with more than 14,000 dental hygienists and assistants, Dr. Younger has a constant “finger on the pulse” of the dental employment industry and job market, and is passionate about sharing thoughts and insights with his fellow dental professionals.