dental staffI was talking to a colleague the other day about issues with their dental staff.

This person knew that I had been involved with buying practices in the past. The dentist asked me my thoughts on dealing with dental staff members that were inherited from a practice sale.

First off, I strongly believe in doing one's due diligence when buying a practice. A prospective buyer should look at all the appropriate information before buying a practice. I would suggest using an advisor to assist in this process. An area that needs good information is information concerning the dental staff.

Getting the Details on Your New Dental Staff

Personally, I would like to know how long each dental staff member has been with the office. I would also like to know what is their compensation package. It would be wise to meet with the seller and hear from that person how they rate each employee. I also believe it would be important for the buyer to meet with the dental staff without the seller present. This will allow the staff to be relaxed and be willing to share any concerns about the practice. You could also use this time to encourage the staff to ask questions about the new owner.

There is one thing I would NOT do. I would plan on not changing ANYTHING within the first six months of buying the practice. And this especially pertains with the dental staff.

It is my opinion that staff is critical in the success of the practice during the transition period of practice sale. The staff is an important constant from before the sale until after the sale and everywhere in between. The dental staff can help with patients accepting the new owner.

Like I mentioned before, hopefully the buyer has done their due diligence. Right after the sale is not the time to spring surprises on the dental staff. The results can be disastrous. Attempt to stay the course for a period of time and enlist the staff as ambassadors of goodwill.

Mark J. Fleming, DDS, Spear Visiting Faculty and Contributing Author.

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