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New Hiring Strategies for Dental Offices

February 25, 2022

Everyone wants to find the right employees—the individuals that want to work hard, collaborate, learn, and help grow the company. This is no different in dentistry. Dentists and dental owners wish to find the best talent with a passion for making an impact, commitment to the practice, and the ability to adapt to fit the needs of the patients. In other words, they must be team players and teachable.

In May 2020, the American Dental Association (ADA) polled owner dentists to see how the pandemic affected their dental practices. They asked about their staff, their patients, and the hurdles they faced due to social distancing, staffing shortages, reduced patient visits, illness, and more. The ADA found that over one-third of dental owners were currently hiring, and these staffing shortages were the most significant concern. After all, dental practices can’t operate without enough hygienists, office staff, assistants, and associates.

Hiring, especially postpandemic, is exceptionally challenging. Often, it feels like the same talent is being recycled as employees value their paycheck over loyalty. That said, don’t fret. We’ve got some excellent ideas to break the mold and secure new talent that will boost your dental practice. The best new hiring strategies to build a successful dental office include looking outside of dentistry, prioritizing retention over recruitment, and investing in yourself, your office, and your employees. Let’s discuss this in further detail.

Prioritize Employee Retention

In today’s market, employees themselves call the shots. You heard that right: Employees call the shots.

Why? The COVID-19 pandemic flipped the world upside down. The government sent employees home, and stimulus checks allowed them to stay home for many months. However, instead of flocking to return to the office once the steady income stopped, employees took their time. Many of them found that working from home was preferred, and they discovered new hobbies, passions, and professional pursuits.

To bring this full circle, many existing dental employees left their job for more pay or flexibility. Others decided that they didn’t want to return to the office or were empowered to find a company culture that better fits their needs and desires. Whatever the case, employees didn’t return. And now, many dental offices are struggling to find excellent new hires or loyal employees.

Employers are bleeding talent. This is because employees are choosing to join a dental practice to reap the benefits of a well-paying job while also keeping their eyes open to other opportunities. Ultimately, once they find something that fits, they’re jumping ship. And the cycle continues ’round and ’round.

The biggest mistake here is that employers focus their attention on employee recruitment over retention. You can’t expect to find new employees without building an already positive company culture in which your current employees are happy and thriving. Loyal employees and leaders in your organization grow and develop over time, not in a single day. To do this, you need to invest, invest, invest in your employees and your dental practice.

Invest, Invest, Invest

Investment in your employees, office, and yourself comes in many forms:

  • Creating an inviting and supportive company environment
  • Creating a positive company culture
  • Implementing educational offerings
  • Offering competitive salaries
  • Incorporating new technologies and software solutions
  • Implementing a transparent and fair raise structure with potential bonuses
  • Providing quality benefits and health insurance
  • Having paid maternity and paternity leave
  • Granting a fair amount of PTO, bereavement, and sick days

When prioritizing these benefits, it’s best to ask your employees what is most important to them. An excellent way to do this is to share an anonymous survey with them, asking them for feedback on the current office environment and benefits, which areas they’d like to see improvement in, and how you, as the dental owner, can help them grow, succeed, and accomplish their goals.

This is all to say that the principal skill required of a dental owner and dentist is to listen. Once you understand your employees and what they value, it’s time to act. Don’t waitmake it happen for your employees, office, patients, and yourself.

Look Outside of Dentistry

The first tip to building a dental office with talent is to look outside of dentistry. While this tip seems wild, we mean it. The problem right now is that the same talent is being passed around the industry. While this is great for the employees, as their salaries often go up with each job transition, this is highly detrimental to the dentists and dental owners. Hiring new employees and training them is expensive and certainly not worth it if that individual turns around and leaves just a few months later.

To retain employees and break this vicious cycle, you must offer something better—something your competitors are not. Additionally, look to hire young talent outside of the dental industry. Consider your employees, both current and future, as investments. After all, it takes a team to run a successful practice. And each team member is vital to the success of the operation.

By looking for new talent in other industries, you will find that many individuals excel in communication, leadership, and other hard skills. As long as they’re teachable, enthusiastic, and willing to learn, these individuals will become your best employees. Likewise, your investment and strong relationship with them will make it so they never want to leave. Do this, and you’ve cracked the code to hiring the best employees for your dental office.

The best new hiring strategies to build a successful dental office include looking outside of dentistry, prioritizing retention over recruitment, and investing in yourself, your office, and your employees. By considering each of these elements, listening to your employees, and having an open mind, you will ensure your dental practice finds the right talent and reaches new heights.