Do's and don'ts for staff compensation

2016 11 18 14 42 01 206 Practice Success2 400

We believe there was a staffing shortage to a small degree even before the pandemic; however, the pandemic has significantly accelerated and exacerbated that shortage. Practices are competing for a small number of available team members, and one of the go-to strategies for attracting candidates is to offer higher compensation.


Consider a new approach. Consider offering dental hygienists a package where 80% of their compensation is guaranteed base salary and 20% is based on commission, providing motivation to identify additional treatment for patients, keep x-rays and fluoride up to date, sell products, or contact patients who are overdue for appointments. We have seen hygienists increase production by 30% to 40% using these techniques. The key is to make sure the hygienist can earn an unlimited amount on the theoretical 20% commission in this example for going beyond expected performance.


Don't forget to use systems to offset overhead. Practice overhead will rise as you increase staff compensation to attract and maintain team members. However, having documented, proven, step-by-step systems will not only offset the increase in staffing cost but also contribute significant growth in revenue and income. This will keep the practice financially successful and provide the proper return on investment for owners and doctors.

Dr. Roger P. Levin is CEO of Levin Group, a leading practice management and marketing consulting firm. To contact him or to join the 40,000 dental professionals who receive his Practice Production Tip of the Day, visit or email [email protected].

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

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