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The freelance economy is changing how Americans work and the dental industry is no exception; dental temps are becoming an increasingly popular way to solve complex scheduling challenges. Hiring temps is great for when everything happens at once. When your dental hygienist needs time off for vacation, or a sick kid calls them away from work.

As a practice owner, it’s crucial to develop professional and friendly working relationships with your dental temps. Here are some tips to keep your dental temps happy, productive, and willing to fill in when you need the help.

Before they begin, make sure they’re the right cultural fit.

  1. Hire right. Carefully interview your temp candidates to ensure compatibility with your salaried workers and your practice’s core values. Do your research on the candidate, check their social media, and check that they have the proper licenses and eligibility to work.
  2. Honor the time of your temps. Flexibility is a core element of dental temping, so it’s important to set expectations around punctuality and work hours. If your practice tends to take a longer lunch, opens later in the morning, or keeps late hours in the evening, be sure to communicate that to your temp.

On the day they’re scheduled, set them up for success.

  1. Put the temp in a well-equipped room. The room your temp will be in for the day should be well stocked with instruments and well-functioning equipment so they can do their job with no major holdups.
  2. Inform patients about your temp. When it comes to healthcare, nobody likes a surprise. Inform your patients of the name of the person they will be receiving treatment from to keep from preventing anxiety for the patient.
  3. Be available to answer questions. Processes and workflows are different in each office; don’t assume your temp knows how everything works in yours. Have team members that are readily available to help with the little things.

Go the extra mile to bolster temp retention.

  1. Acknowledge their work. Dan Ariely, a social scientist and New York Times bestselling author, found that a lack of recognition in the workplace can be detrimental to morale and productivity. Compliments are an inexpensive—yet highly valuable—way to keep dental temps excited to work for you.
  2. Surprise and delight. Grabbing coffee in the morning, providing breakfast or lunch, or handing out gift cards around the holidays are great ways to reward your temps for their great work. Your temp will feel accepted and appreciated by these random acts of kindness.
  3. Keep compensation competitive. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly rate of a dental hygienist in the United States is $36.30. While this can vary depending on a professional’s experience, certifications, and skills, it is in your best interest to agree to fair payment terms. When a temp knows they will be paid fairly for their work, they’ll be more loyal and refer their friends.
  4. Beware of your state employment tax laws. Dental temps are given certain protections under state and federal laws. Paying attention to these will make life better for you and your staff and especially around tax time. Nobody likes paying more taxes, but the penalties for misclassification of employees can be very expensive. It is always better to check your state laws on hiring temps before you get started.

It’s all about respect.

At the end of the day, developing a great relationship with a dental temp is simply about creating mutual respect. Respect their time, skills, and compensation and you’ll generate a list of highly-skilled temps to pull from whenever you need it. If you’re ready to fill your roster, create a dental temp job posting now and find your next great employee in minutes.


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