To continue where we left off on the previous article two days ago (Part 1 of 2):
Who is responsible for how much you get paid?
The answer is that every single member of the practice helps to generate their own pay and bonuses in a practice. To have a successful practice there must be a strong and effective leader (practice owner) and a super team of caring, efficient and dynamic staff. Everyone pouring their heart and soul into delivering ideal care to every patient or client who comes into the practice from day to day will result in a highly productive practice.
One of the keys to this is having all members of the team understanding that the practice’s production levels and success or failure are caused internally, not externally. Sometimes practice owners and the team start to feel that the practice is being tossed to and fro by external causes such a sagging economy, more practices opening around them, and so on. However, in our experience with more than 1,500 practices over the last 26 years, well run and efficient practices continue their growth despite all external causes.
In other words, do NOT buy into external “reasons” for the practice being down. Team members starting to think or say “Well, the reason that our stats are going down is because…” is a very dangerous slippery slope that you do not want to accept. Instead, as a team, each member needs to work out ways and means to increase production. It’s not “just a job” where you show up every day and do the routine and if it isn’t going well then too bad and “it’s not my fault”.
A job is a trust and a responsibility. Shining stars are often well remunerated for the amount of responsibility they take for the overall success of the practice. Letting things slide and developing an “I don’t care” attitude may result in the practice not being able to keep the doors open any more and therefore no job. Practice owners are often very open to bonus systems if they see that a highly responsible team are helping to grow his or her practice.
Vacation times can be incredibly disruptive to a practice and very stressful to those left holding the fort while others off if it not correctly and strategically planned out.
In a smaller practice, shutting it down for 2 weeks is an option that many owners have chosen. That means everyone is required to take those 2 weeks as their holiday time. If the staff member is entitled to more than 2 weeks, that will have to be worked out to the benefit of the practice as well because it is the remaining staff and the patients who pay the price of lack of adequate staffing during those periods.
Should the practice owner want to take another 2 weeks during the same year and does not choose to have a locum fill in and has no associates working for them, the staff who are not entitled to any more vacation time can do “housekeeping” duties while the owner is away (such as preparing future email newsletters, going through past charts and finding people who haven’t been into the practice for a while and either calling or writing to them, etc. – no shortage of things marketing-wise to do). Or they might opt to take the 2 weeks off unpaid as extra vacation time for themselves.
In a larger practice, very strategic and careful planning needs to be done in order to prevent disruption of the whole practice. This is where having cross trained “spare parts” like floaters comes in handy as they can fill in on the temporarily vacated positions. However, this is not always possible. And staff cannot expect to just take a vacation whenever it suits them personally to the detriment of the patients or clients of the practice who are paying for perfect, ideal care.
There are legal requirements by each province if you work over a certain number of hours per week and sometimes even how many hours in a day you can work. You can look those up for yourself.
But going past that issue, some practitioners pay the little bits of overtime for end of day wrap ups and some don’t. If there is a good bonus system, staff are not going to nickel and dime the owner for an extra half hour or hour to give a patient the full care they are paying for. A happy, productive team is doing what is needed in order to give ideal care to the patients and if it means staying late a bit once in a while to really accomplish that level of service, the bonus system will be their compensation for the extra special commitment shown to the practice.
How much is fair pay?
An easy answer to this question is to consult wage surveys done for the various professions (i.e. often done by associations or outside companies they have hired). If available, a practice owner can use them to determine if his or her staff are being fairly compensated.
Most bosses have it as one of their goals to pay their staff well, and when they see the appropriate production levels, they are often willing to do so. Just keep in mind that you are you are all on the same team and are working in the practice for the purpose of giving the patients or clients the ideal care they are paying for and deserve.
If you have questions or want more specifics on any of these issues, please communicate them to us and we’ll do our best to answer them.
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