How to Manage Your Dental Staff During a Transition

stethoscope next to laptop

Transitioning a dental practice is difficult for many reasons. One reason selling a practice can be difficult is the emotional strain it causes. For many doctors, the thought of leaving patients and employees and not knowing exactly how a new doctor will handle their continued employment or care can be stressful. Most likely, this is your first practice transition, and all these issues are new to you. Here are some common questions regarding employees during a dental transition and ways to help you better manage your staff during this time.

What will happen to my staff?

This depends entirely on the situation. At Professional Transition Strategies (PTS), we are seller and buyer representatives. We try to align a buyer and seller with similar values and goals for the practice. That being said, the final decision of what happens with current policies and employees is up to the buyer. However, the transition of staff does not always depend on the employer. Some employees decide they no longer want to work for the practice or there is a better situation for them elsewhere. In most cases, successful practices have great employees, and many buyers decide to retain these employees.

When should I tell my staff?

There is no one “right” answer to this question. When you decide to tell your staff all depends on the relationship you have with the staff. Typically, it’s smart to wait until the process is almost finished so your staff feels confident everything is under control and they are not nervous about the potential transaction. It is important to talk to patients, as well, allowing them to meet the new doctor and feel confident their level of care will remain the same through the transition and in the future.

What should I tell my staff?

Transitioning a practice can be difficult. In many cases, you have worked with staff members and patients for a long period of time. The best way to handle a transition is to be honest with staff and patients. If you are moving toward retirement or have a personal situation that is motivating your sell of the practice, many staff members and patients will understand this and support the transition. For the successful sale of your practice and transition to the new buyer, being open and honest with employees and patients is the best way to approach a transition.

Can I guarantee my staff will keep their jobs?

The goal of having a peaceful transition is to find a buyer that has the same values and goals as the seller. However, even if most goals and values line up, not all do. The final decisions about what will happen with the practice will be up to the buyer when the sale is finalized. At PTS, we suggest to all buyers a three-month transitional period. This helps ensure the practice runs smoothly and gives patients time to become used to the transition. Having all new staff can be disconcerting to patients and cause a lot of turnover. We try our best to support the success of the practice, which normally includes present employees; however, the ultimate decision about staff will be up to the buyer once the practice is fully transitioned.

What’s next?

Regardless of where you are in the process of selling your practice, we are here to help. Contact us anytime.