Private Practice vs. Corporate Dentistry: How Does HR Differ?

Posted by on Apr 27, 2022 9:00:00 AM

Human resources focuses on the hiring, training, and administration of a dental practice. It's typically designed to make sure all of the aspects of the practice operate smoothly behind the scenes. 

As the size of a business changes, HR scales with it so they have the ability to manage the entire staff. In a small dental office, it may be handled by the owner of the practice. But in a corporate practice, it could be a fully-staffed department and have its own leadership. HR in both of these scenarios differ greatly from each other.

But why does this happen? If you’re a dentist deciding between jobs at a private and corporate practice, what should you know about the differences in HR?

In this blog, we’re going to discuss the importance of HR and the differences of the role in corporate and private practice environments: 


Why Human Resources (HR) Is Important

The HR department — whether a single person or an entire team — generally handles administrative functions like payroll, benefits, and more. They may also provide a neutral perspective for navigating any internal conflict within the practice. 

They can also ensure the practice is following all guidelines for legality, safety, and compliance, including OSHA protocols, HIPAA requirements, and general hiring laws. 

Overall, human resources allows a dental practice to function while ensuring its team is happy, productive, and empowered. 


How Human Resources Works in Corporate Practices

In a corporate dental practice, HR is frequently a full department that may have a director or manager, as well as several employees. 

A corporate dental practice’s HR department operates much like any other large business’ would. This may include: 

  • Managing employee records in a way that keeps everyone — and the overall practice — in compliance with laws.
  • Serving as a neutral, third-party to mediate disputes between employees.
  • Taking on additional responsibilities in order to help ensure that the practice is running smoothly on a daily basis. 

If you’re considering working at a corporate practice, it’s important to note how your role would come into play with HR. You’ll have little to no responsibility for hiring new team members or handling employee issues, but you’ll also have less control over staffing decisions throughout the practice than you would at a private practice. 


How Human Resources Works in Private Practices

In a private dental practice, HR is typically much less formal. The owner of the practice or managing partner may handle most of the hiring, training, interviewing, and administration of benefits. 

Most private practices don't have a dedicated HR representative, but there are a number of reasons to consider hiring one, including: 

  • A dedicated individual can help the practice hire and onboard any new employees while following proper legal frameworks. 
  • They can provide a new perspective on processes to help improve the day-to-day operations of the practice. 
  • They can also help with paperwork and important tasks, such as making sure all the dental information is handled within HIPAA guidelines. 

There's a degree of risk that comes with not hiring a HR representative, such as the potential for lawsuits due to issues like workplace safety and employment regulations. However, there are some insurance coverages that can also help to protect private practices, including employment practice liability insurance

Having this coverage and a dedicated HR professional can provide the most peace of mind for a private dental practice.


Effectively Manage People in Your Dental Practice

People management can be difficult, and it’s likely not something you learned in dental school. 

From the way you think about developing your practice and procedures, to your hiring strategies and the incentives you offer staff, many factors contribute to the creation of a strong team and positive office culture. The more you learn about dental practice people management, the more confident you can feel in the choices you make for your practice. 

Download our guide today to begin effectively managing your dental practice! 


About Treloar & Heisel

Treloar & Heisel offers dental and medical professionals a comprehensive suite of financial products and services ranging from business and personal insurance to wealth management. We are proud to assist thousands of clients from residency to practice and through retirement. Our experienced teams deliver custom-tailored advice through an active local presence, while our strong national network ensures that clients experience the same high level of service throughout the country.

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