As the recruitment and retention of staff continues to prove a problem for many practices, for this guest blog, Practice Plan Head of Sales, Zoe Close, spoke to Dental Business Coach, Lucie Simic and Mark Topley, Business Coach and CSR specialist to try to get some advice on how practices can overcome their difficulties.
ZC: Lucie, what do you think is the most important thing practices should be doing to improve their prospects of filling their vacancies?
LS: What I see in practice is that it’s really important that the focus is on the team that’s already in your practice currently. They’re going to be the biggest ambassadors for you when you are out there looking for top talent and looking to recruit new members of staff.
For me, that really boils down to a practice that has a great culture and an environment where they want everybody in the practice to succeed. Also, a practice that understands that it is a business at the end of the day, where everybody is looking for this win-win situation where patients are coming in and being looked after really well and the team is feeling nurtured and supported. Somewhere they feel they’re working in an authentic practice that has a clear vision and mission of where it’s going.
ZC: Mark, I know what you do is quite a new approach to a lot of people. It’s not something they’ve had to think of in the past. From your point of view, what do you think people nowadays are starting to look for in job descriptions or adverts?
MT: I think they’re looking for some sense of what it’s like to work there, and not from the point of view of just pay and terms and conditions. They want to know what it’s going to feel like. Do I fit in with these people? Are they my kind of people? Do we get to do the sorts of things that are important to me?
So, they’re looking for an indication of your values on the outside. And there are different ways to show that because most people, after they’ve seen the vacancy on the job app, they’ll go to the website and they’ll go to the Facebook page or the Instagram feed. And so, that’s a great place to show what your practice is like because I think what people are looking for nowadays, is they want to be part of something.
And so, the most successful clients I’ve seen over the last couple of years have been those that have created a story about where it is they’re going and what it is they’re doing. Also, about what they stand for, and then they invite people into that. Rather than “come and do a job for us,” it’s “come and be part of something that we’re trying to achieve.” And if that resonates with candidates, then they find success with it.
ZC: Just thinking about the younger generation, Mark, you have some stats about millennials and younger people. So, can you share them because I think they’re really thought-provoking?
MT: It’s on the rise, but the most recent stat that I have says that 76% of millennials are looking for good CSR in an employer. They’re looking for a commitment to people. They want to see a commitment to sustainability. So, am I a business that’s just going to be riding roughshod over the environment, or is this going to be a place that’s going to be doing its bit for the environment and do they connect with the community?
As I said, 76% of millennials are looking for good CSR in an employer and millennials are around three quarters of the working population now, or they certainly will be in the next couple of years. It’s a big chunk of people, and that’s not to say that boomers and people older than that aren’t interested in this. They are, and the generation behind that even more so. We’ve seen a real shift post-pandemic towards values of business being even more important because of the role that work plays in people’s overall lives.
ZC: I’ve worked in and around the dental industry for more than 30 years, so I still have a lot of friends and contacts who still work in it and I was asking them recently about their experience of what people want from work. What came across was the feel of a practice was really important. And there were some quite simple aspects that made practices stand out from the crowd.
Practices that were committed to working hard during the day so that everyone could get away on time, were really appealing. They made this a priority so they could spend time with their family and friends and have a life outside of the practice. Because there are some places where people can be made to feel guilty about wanting to get off on time.
There seemed to be a genuine desire to have a good work/life balance. So, practices that actively practise getting this balance right are likely to be very appealing to someone looking for a new job. In dentistry the hours can be unpredictable, but if there is a genuine commitment to letting people finish on time and to having a proper lunch break, those are great selling points for a practice.
I can see the wisdom of what you’re saying. There does need to be a change in mindset, doesn’t there? By sharing the caring side of your business you’re not only making things better for the people who work there already, but you’re likely to attract good candidates for your vacancies. Win-win!
Lucie Simic is a Dental Business Consultant and has worked in the dental industry for nearly a decade, helping practices increase their turnover and deliver exceptional customer experience.
Lucie managed a strategic business plan which transformed a three-chair practice into a seven-surgery referral hub in three years. Lucie has assisted many practices around the UK with their own journey and now works alongside Ashley Latter, delivering his training courses.
Mark has wide experience designing, implementing and developing CSR programmes and partnering with companies, from single-handed dental practices to global corporates and everything in between. Over the past 23 years, he has worked with charities and businesses on four continents.
Mark was the CEO of Bridge2Aid and was part of the founding team that grew it to become the UK’s foremost dental charity. In 2017, Mark made the decision to take his experience and passion into a new role, inspiring businesses to maximise the benefits to be gained from CSR and work productively and meaningfully with charities.