Stressed About Employee Salaries?

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Sky High Hygiene Salaries


Dear Sharyn,

Like so many other dentists, I’m looking to replace a hygienist who is leaving. I am stunned by the salary demands of the hygienists we’ve been interviewing. In order to pay them what they’re asking for, I would need to increase the number of patients they see to 9-10 per day. That doesn’t really fit the way I want to practice. Are dentists really hiring hygienists at these outrageous salary demands?

L.L., CA

Dear L.L.,

Absolutely hygienists have sensed that it is an employee’s market and have upped their salary demands. But interestingly, many hygienists have indicated that the major reason they leave practices or ask for high salaries is because they are fundamentally unhappy with how they are treated. So, we have two comingled issues: unhappy hygienists who want to alleviate their unhappiness with higher salaries and hygienists who are responding to market forces.

When you interview a candidate who asks for more money than you budgeted, use the salary request as a part of the interviewing process. Here are questions you can ask.

  • Hmm, that’s interesting. What led you to asking for that specific amount?
  • That amount is much higher than I’ve paid other hygienists. If I were to offer you that, what would you do in my practice to merit it?
  • Hygiene salaries are typically about 30% -40% of their production. What specifically would you do in my practice, so that your salary was within that norm? (You can walk the candidate through the math. Share your typical hygiene fees and ask how she would produce the amount required to keep her within range norms.)
  • Aside from the salary, what are other reasons you would accept or not accept a position in our practice? What else are you looking for?
  • How willing are you to consider a lower salary?
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Inspired Us to Dream Bigger, and it Works

“As an Office Manager, I’ve seen a great difference in my practice since starting with Sharyn. Three years ago our staff was in turmoil with a lot of infighting and gossip and some jealousy directed towards me.

I had given up because everything I did was judged. Now I have learned to have more one-to-one communication and by being more vulnerable with individuals I found my leadership voice. As a team, we’re all focused on the same goals.

Last year, in August we produced $88,000. This year we’re on track to produce $111,000 this month. I know it’s because we learned how to follow through with patients and communicate our expectations while building our systems.

Sharyn has gotten us out of our comfort zone and inspired us to dream bigger and it works.”

–Sharon St Pierre, Sperbeck Dental Care

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