Informing your team about your practice sale: The Dentist

Informing your team about your practice sale

As practice principal, you depend upon your team members to ensure the highest possible standard of dentistry is being delivered. The role they play can make a difference between a good and bad working day – the team can influence patient perception and, ultimately, the image and success of the business. They are your best investment, and therefore when you’re thinking of selling, there are many things to take into account with regards to your best asset.

The ‘when’

It’s unsurprising that many dental principals feel apprehensive when deciding to sell – it’s a long and winding road, one where challenges may be encountered at every stage. However, with careful planning and consideration, you can make the process as smooth as possible. This includes adequately informing and preparing your staff. When is the right time to tell them? How should you go about it? Every dental team is as different as the next, and so your approach will vary depending on the type of team you have.

There are pros and cons to telling staff either too early or too late – too early and your staff may have time on their hands to spend worrying about the future owner and potential changes. They may be concerned about their job security. The word may get out to patients, too, which runs the risk of them seeking a new dental practice. However, sharing the news too late may frustrate your team – perhaps they’d feel that you weren’t being honest with them, or that you didn’t respect their fears and concerns, which of course would not be the case. Some would argue that the most ideal time to share the news is once the purchase agreement has been signed and the buyer’s financing secured. Ultimately, it’s your decision when you break the news, but consider the risks of doing so either too early or too late.

The ‘how’

When you do speak to your team, there is understandably going to be some anxiety, which you should endeavour to assuage as soon as possible. Conduct a team meeting and have the chance to speak to all members at once to tell them the news – it’s also an opportunity for them to share their queries and discuss whatever may be on their mind about the sale.

You may find that some team members decide to change roles when they find out about your decision to sell, which unfortunately cannot be helped. A change in management may cause some discontentment, but remember that it’s unlikely the buyer would want to make changes to the team. Indeed, in the current climate where recruitment is increasingly difficult, the buyer may actually be quite keen to keep things as they are. Even in light of this, some staff members may still take this opportunity to find something new, leaving you with the task of recruiting a new member of the team to maintain efficiency, and avoid damage to buyer confidence.

Things to be mindful of

Regarding your team, there are several things to be mindful of when planning to sell. Firstly, you may wish to increase your staff members’ pay, perhaps as a ‘thank you’ gesture. However, you run the risk of a re-negotiation of the asking price if substantial pay rises are handed out during the sale transaction. Rather than pay rises, could you implement rewards or incentives to show hard-working members of the team that you have appreciated all they’ve done for you? Additionally, it’s imperative that your employee contracts are all up-to-date, which should be done as part of the checks conducted by both parties. Not only can this help to avoid post-sale litigation, but it can also enable you to see if there is any outdated and/or missing information in the contracts.

Selling your dental practice is often stressful and you need the right support to ensure you’re able to keep everything running smoothly. Informing and preparing your staff members is a huge part of the sales process, and so make sure you work with an experienced dental practice broker like Dental Elite. This can make all the difference when selling your legacy, as we have the know-how to ensure the transaction is dealt with expertly and sensitively.

Supporting your team

You will have likely formed a close bond with your team, and deciding to sell can create a lot of uncertainty. However, with the right people at your back, you can help your team feel more at ease about the sale and ensure the transfer of ownership is smooth and successful