Dental practice management is hard - especially when you’re first starting out. If you choose a start-up, you have to build your practice from the ground up, and starting a business is unfamiliar territory. If you choose the route of buying an existing practice you have the stress of earning trust and continuing to grow a patient base, as well as, retaining the talent in your practice. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many doctors face this ongoing challenge. So how do you attract and retain top talent to establish a successful dental practice?
Well, first off, unemployment rates are low. That’s why it’s crucial to build a pipeline that will feed you top talent, as well as, set up a system for retaining talent for years to come.
Although your focus isn’t on the end game yet (selling your dental practice), remember that what you are building now will impact your practice’s worth when you decide to sell later. How do we know this? At JPA, we guide doctors through dental practice transitions, whether they are selling or buying. We know what goes into the value of your practice and want to make sure that you follow the best practices. This way, you will learn how to attract and retain talent in your dental practice, leading to less headaches, a rockstar staff, and ultimately, a valuable practice.
#1 Before you start hiring talent, do your research.
To attract the right talent, look at industry benchmarks to meet candidates’ expectations. Do your research online to see what competitors are paying. There are many avenues for finding this information out. (Payscale, Glassdoor and dental sites like DentalCareersEDU, just to name a few.)
By doing this initial research, you will find the information you need to attract candidates who are worth investing in. **Quick note: If you build a great practice, your hygienists and assistants will refer other like-minded individuals to you. Therefore you get an efficient, cost effective way to find top talent in a market where it is difficult.
#2 How to find talent for your dental practice
Finding top talent for your dental practice can be challenging. That is why it’s important to be innovative with your tactics. Ultimately, what you are trying to do is attract future employees. Just like you would try to find new patients for your dental practice, you need to market to them. This involves knowing what benefits or perks they would get at other practices, pains that they have, and what they are missing. Once you know this, provide that for them!
To understand your staff’s needs better, send out a employee satisfaction survey. Ask them what they like, don’t like, and give them opportunities to provide information on what they want moving forward.
Here are some places to find talent for your dental practice:
- Partner with dental hygienist schools.
- Partner with dental assistant programs.
- Find associates on job boards.
- Dental hiring technology like Cloud Dentistry, an interactive platform that allows you to connect with dental staff in real time.
- Partner up with vocational schools and host externships at your practice. This gives you the opportunity to evaluate the student’s skill set, mold them into the staff member you need, and also helps them get on-the-job experience. Benefits, all-around!
- Pay staff to give presentations at schools and professional dental organizations.
- Set up a booth at a dental job fair.
- Promote your practice culture through social media. When a candidate looks at your social media channels or practice’s website, they are more inclined to work for a practice that showcases employee happiness, personality, and success.
- Reward staff who refer colleagues for employment at your dental practice. For example, A doctor may set up a referral system that gives the referring staff member $1,000 after the first 90 days that the new colleague works at the practice.
- Hire a dental recruiter to attract and identify the right candidates.
#3 Evaluate the talent
Does the applicant have similar values and ethics? New applicants tend to have similar skill sets, therefore, you want to assess them through a values-based approach. Why is this important? By doing this, you will improve retention, increase employee engagement and form better relationships with patients. For example, if you work with pediatrics, make sure they like children.
#4 Now, foster a culture that retains.
While these tactics get the talent in the door, you need a culture that keeps your staff happy. This means creating an environment that provides room for growth, continued education, competitive compensation, and work/life balance. Here are a few areas that tend to work well for retention:
- Create opportunities for mentorships. By giving your staff an opportunity to work with senior clinicians, they will gain fulfillment in expanding their capabilities and learning from peers.
- Offer training through the front and back office staff. This will give your employees the same kind of satisfaction. Realistically, they will gain experience in the operations and business aspects of your practice and could even gain experience in the marketing side (depending on what responsibilities or roles you have in your practice). Just remember, don’t stretch your staff members too thin. If team members already have additional responsibilities consider hiring full-time, part-time, or hourly employees but avoid overstaffing. Ensure that you ask for feedback from staff and make it easy for them to approach you.
- Offer incentives and benefits. Incentives like long term disability insurance, life insurance, and pet insurance are a zero cost way to increase a compensation package and it may even set you apart from other practices.
- Finally, create an awesome office culture. Always talk to your staff and ask them about the culture. Your culture is everything from your personality to your values to your practice website (even decor, believe it or not). Not only is your culture apparent in hiring, but it’s an aspect of your practice that can keep your employees there for a long time.
Overall, these 4 steps will allow you to attract and retain top talent at your practice. Once you have a stellar team, continue to make efforts to increase retention and improve staff happiness. Doing so will help you create an awesome culture and build a successful practice.
At JPA, we’re here to help guide you through the process of selling or buying dental practice.