How to build your dental practice to attract top talent

Building your dental practice is easier said than done. Read more here.
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A successful practice depends on attracting the best possible staff members. Dentists perform complex dental procedures with precision each day and lead a team of dental professionals to succeed. Ultimately, the practice's success depends on more than the success of the crown, implant, or root canal. Each person on the team must prosper in their particular role for the practice to thrive and grow. When this occurs, the work environment becomes attractive to five-star dental hygienists, dental assistants, and administrative staff.  

The attractive culture

The culture of your practice is the unique environment that surrounds every employee each day. As the dentist and team leader, you have the most influence on the office culture and its many components, including:

  • Integrity. To attract five-star talent, the dentist must demonstrate integrity as a leader. Integrity creates trust and commitment to the goals of the practice. Developing and displaying integrity involves:
  • Honesty. Always treating patients and staff truthfully is essential to maintaining integrity. Five-star professionals value integrity more than adding another dollar to their profit.
  • Responsibility. Mistakes happen in dental treatment and practice management. The tendency is to cast blame, but the leader with integrity assumes responsibility for errors. Responsibility creates a safer environment for all employees.
  • Vulnerability. A healthy level of vulnerability is essential to leadership and integrity. Showing vulnerability and authenticity regarding struggles within the practice can promote creative solutions. 
  • Fairness. Employees highly regard fairness in leaders. An effective leader practices the art of fairness by appropriately awarding successes and confronting failures. 
  • Directness. Directness is not the same as brutal honesty. Approaching staff with compassionate directness avoids conflict, resolves problems, and earns respect.
  • Communication. More than half of all employees report a lack of receiving clear communication and directions. The successful practice that attracts excellent RDHs and dental assistants communicates goals, instructions, and vital information to all employees promptly and thoroughly. Effective communication benefits the practice in many ways, such as:
  • It prevents confusion.
  • It promotes harmony.
  • It increases productivity.
  • It creates accountability.
  • It improves crisis management.
  • It enhances team building.
  • It builds trust.
  • It improves relationships.
  • Balance. The best dental hygienists and dental assistants work hard while at work but enjoy a personal life when away from the office. Respecting this work-life balance is critical to creating an attractive office culture. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance in your office culture requires constant attention since we tend to move to one extreme or the other. Below are some ways to achieve this delicate balance.
  • Begin with your work-life balance.
  • Help everyone focus on personal health.
  • Encourage staff to take vacations.
  • Support staff in family responsibilities.
  • Provide a flexible work environment. 

The attractive leader

The dentist plays a significant role in creating an attractive culture, but this takes time and the entire staff's participation. Each person’s values, goals, beliefs, and work ethic contribute to the culture. As the leader, the dentist coaches, leads, mentors, and influences each team member to achieve greatness. This type of leader attracts the best RDHs and dental assistants to join their team and build a successful practice. The leadership qualities that premier RDHs and dental assistants look for in practice leadership include:

  • Competence.

To attract five-star talent to your staff, you must seek competence in the delivery of dental treatment. Dentists who take shortcuts and don’t go the extra mile in treating patients create an inferior office environment and attract substandard team members.

No team delivers ideal dental treatment to every single patient. But your staff knows if you seek to improve your competence by taking advantage of continuing education to build your skills.

The best leaders perform at a high level and motivate everyone around them to do the same. Relations skills coupled with dental skills create an optimum environment to attract your staff's best dental professionals.

  • Commitment.

Commitment reveals itself in all you do. Staying committed to the best crown margin, implant orientation, or complete plaque removal contribute to dental excellence. However, commitment is vital to other areas of leadership in addition to technical skills.

RDHs and dental assistants need to see your commitment to more than their ability to take perfect x-rays, use an ultrasonic scaler, or turn over an operatory in record time. The best leaders are genuinely committed to the happiness, well-being, health, and fulfillment of the people around them.

  • Character.

Character is foundational to every other aspect of excellent leadership. It begins with identifying and living out your core values and goals, personally and professionally. A leader with character ensures loyal, diligent, and dependable team players.

  • Confidence.

The best RDHs and dental assistants have confidence and want to work with a confident dentist. Confident leaders:

  • Are not afraid to confront issues or problem employees quickly and professionally.
  • Are not afraid to fail. Improving a practice requires taking chances, and sometimes things don’t work out, but confident leaders keep moving forward and taking necessary risks.
  • Are willing to listen to the ideas and suggestions of others without feeling intimidated.

The attractive contact

One of the exciting trends in dentistry is the opportunity for five-star RDHs and dental assistants to take more control of their careers as freelancers with Cloud Dentistry. Freelance dental professionals offer many advantages over the traditional temp staffing agency. As more people seek flexibility in their careers, the Cloud Dentistry option will attract an increasing number of five-star RDHs and dental assistants.

When interviewing these professionals and potential team members, there are several best practices to consider, including:

  • Ask open-ended questions. The contact should be a dialogue, not a monologue. Inquire about their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Be clear. Clearly describe your practice culture and expectations of the staff. 
  • Be honest. Don’t describe a two-hour lunch when everyone routinely works through lunch. Honestly describe a typical workday and the compensation you offer.
  • Focus on the job. Don’t wander off into personal topics that might lead to problems, including legal issues.
  • Be willing to negotiate. Five-star RDHs and dental assistant freelancers are confident. They may tend to negotiate their schedule and salary more than you expect.

Cloud Dentistry offers advantages for practice owners, RDHs, and dental assistants that help create successful dental practices and careers. Learn the differences between Cloud Dentistry and staffing agencies that help attract five-star dental professional talent.

Written By Dr. Steven Tuggle