Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Expectations of Dental Associateships


Associateships begin and fail all the time. Why do they fail so often? The simple answer is that either or both sides failed to meet expectations.  Specifically, the expectations were never laid out to begin with, so one side was letting down the other and never knew why or how he/she was doing this.
Some common feedback I get from owners when I ask them about their previous associates is that it didn't work because the associate could not produce enough, the associate did not want to buy-in, or the associate needed more mentoring than the owner was willing or able to provide.
Upfront communication during the interview process could have helped a lot of associateships succeed or simply never start in the first place. It is better to find the right person rather than hire the wrong person and have to repeat the interviewing and on boarding process over and over again.
What the owner/practice should lay out upfront:
(simple examples, not comprehensive)
·         Production goals (even private practices have them)
·         Required schedule
·         Transition plans
·         Associate's leadership role in the practice in relation to staff
·         Compensation
·         Whether the associate will have any say so in equipment, office systems, and staff management
·         Insurance accepted by the practice
·         Particular cases or situations that must be handled by the owner
·         What must be referred out
What the associate prospect should lay out upfront:
(simple examples, not comprehensive)
·         Income goals
·         Transition or practice ownership goals
·         Skill sets
·         Comfort level with various cases and patient types
·         Length of time willing to commit to a practice/area
Remember not to rush into hiring an associate or becoming an associate when you still have a lot of questions or uncertainties.
Related articles by ETS Dental you should check out:
Carl Guthrie is a Dental Recruiter with ETS Dental. He covers the Western U.S. Region. Carl can be reached at or