Ask Heather - wisdom from AADOM president Heather Colicchio

Throughout this year, most dental office managers have had to navigate their way through topics like PPP, having team members tested – and retested – for viruses, team members taking off due to illness, working through unemployment benefits, and even played “therapist” to scared, disgruntled, and confused teams.

Before 2020, most dental managers found issues like payroll, holiday pay, and health benefits some of the more confusing financial areas to navigate.

But with shutdowns and mandates, we entered unchartered waters when it comes to employment laws.

How AADOM members became HR specialists during COVID

One of the great things that AADOM has been able to do is to provide that geographical support to dental offices in each of their respective states.

So, in areas where state-issued health mandates or payroll rules went into effect, there was an opportunity for practices to come together and navigate the information as a team.

“No one left behind” turned into a vision of sorts.

And still, national AADOM forums made it easier to discover the ins-and-outs of federal employment laws and interpretations, sometimes by learning through the experiences (or mistakes) of others.

Who knew that 2020 would transform dental office leaders into self-taught human resource professionals?

What one person was about to research had already been looked up by someone else. And the AADOM TRIBE made it possible for all of that HR information to be accessible at the click of a mouse or tap to a touchscreen.

Building leaders (who can fly solo)

At some point this year, a large percentage of AADOM members became one of the only employees in their respective offices to work during the shutdowns.

This phenomenon involved remote work, emotional support to their teams, and working closely with their doctors to establish proper protocols.

At times, it also meant playing the role of a mediator as teams came together again with different information, fears, and feelings.

Fortunately for office managers, HR laws — at least once established — are fairly firm and easy to implement. That means once the research is done, you can be confident about leading your team into the right direction, even if you’ve never been there before yourself.

Strength in numbers

AADOM CARES made it possible for non-AADOM office managers to also tap into a wealth of information when it came to making decisions about payroll and paid leave.

The complimentary limited-time membership brought together office managers throughout the United States and Canada, essentially doubling the number of our existing AADOM Tribe.

Experienced managers who never knew AADOM existed suddenly found themselves in one of the most important support groups of their career, at a time of crisis.

Together, we all found ways to provide the best for our teams and support our doctors.

Even though dental practices are, by nature, small businesses, they employ hundreds of thousands of professionals across the country. The intricate details of practice constraints, paid leave, unemployment, and furlough affected nearly every single one of our practices, some of us sooner or later than others.

As we entered unknown territory, new and seasoned AADOM members alike were able to pour their information back into our professional organization, furthering the HR knowledge (and confidence) of the industry as a whole.

Training for new and experienced managers

If you’ve not taken advantage of the AADOM Management Series… This text opens a new tab to the series link…, online training is available for new and existing office managers in areas like HR, as well as other office leadership topics.

The on-demand learning units provide detailed information on the ins-and-outs of human resource responsibilities and best practices as they pertain to the dental office team.

AADOM also provides free access to e-guides related to legal hiring practices and has relationships with organizations that allow our members to reserve complimentary HR consultations.

Working collectively preserves the uniqueness of our individual businesses, but it also strengthens the access we have to resources in the dental management and HR industry.

Access to commercial support

Dental office managers can get just about anything done! But even a pandemic can stretch us a little thin.

Fortunately, you don’t have to have all of the answers.

When there are unique situations at play or you need legal advice pertaining to HR issues, there are several companies that specialize in serving the dental community.

CEDR… This text opens a new tab to the CEDR website… is one example.

Throughout the summer, AADOM worked closely with Paul Edwards of CEDR to deliver continual live sessions to discuss the changing HR considerations and laws as they pertain to the dental industry.

If you haven’t had a chance to watch them, each one is linked from our AADOM CARES page.

Employment laws are always changing. And this year, we’ve – albeit grudgingly – learned more about unemployment regulations than we’ve ever wanted to know!

Fortunately, AADOM members can do so confidently, thanks to the unique network of our partners and TRIBE.