6 ways to attract dental talent

by | Aug 23, 2021 | Dental Office, Employer advice, Guest Blog Post, Hiring | 0 comments

This week’s post comes from one of DirectDental’s most highly requested Dental Hygienists, Cindy Lasala. Besides her passion for Hygiene, Cindy also has her Master’s in Human Resources, and she was kind enough to put together this post on you can attract amazing talent to your office.

Dental job openings now fill several pages on online job boards and staffing agency websites. It is clear that the pandemic has created a lot of challenges in staffing dental offices. As patients come back for dental treatments after avoiding their dental offices for over a year, the more complex the struggle has been for employers. Although we have more job seekers than job positions nationally (9.5 million people who claimed to look for work against 9.2 million job openings), this may not be the case in the dental industry, at least when the mission is finding good candidates. According to the American Dental Association, the already difficult task of finding qualified dental assistants, dental hygienists, and administrative staff became even more challenging with the pandemic.

The Engagement and Retention Report, released by Achievers Workforce Institute, listed better compensation and benefits and work/life balance as the top reasons for leaving a current job. In general, the lower the wages, the faster the person can find a replacement job (Silleto, 2018). So, if workers are becoming more careful and particular about choosing their next jobs, how do you attract qualified candidates?

Fortunately, acquiring talent is like dating. One must be attracted to another party because of certain qualities. Getting someone interested in you or your company is the initial step in attracting and retaining talents. To have someone be attracted to you and your company, you must ensure that your qualities are attractive, clearly stated, and communicated.

Here are some strategies on how to attract new talents to your dental office:

#1 Identify your Talent Acquisition Strategy

It is important to have an effective talent acquisition strategy to plan out what methods and approaches you will use to identify, source, and secure the best talent in the market. Identify where your competitors are finding talents. Ask your colleagues where they have more success in getting applicants. You can also:

  • Hire a recruiting company to help you find talents.
  • Train and develop talents you already have in your company or ask for referrals from your existing employees.
  • Use a dental temp service to fill the open positions now until you find your ideal candidate.
  • Contract with long-term temporary talents for higher wages and offer retention bonuses.

#2 What is Different about Your Company vs. Your Competitor?

Look at all the other listings your competitors have posted. If you were a candidate, what would make you read a job advertisement? It helps to indicate the compensation range and any benefits you are offering. The recent survey conducted by Achievers Workers Institute reported that 36% of employees leave their jobs for better compensation and benefits.

Additionally, stay up to date with the current labor and state laws. If you are in California, Illinois, Oregon, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, Colorado, Virginia, and Maine, you will be required to offer a retirement plan to your employees.

If you are looking for a competitive advantage, make sure you stay ahead of the current law and do not wait until your deadline (June 30, 2022, for California) to comply with the state mandate. Some dental offices already comply with the mandate and are offering either the state plan or employer-sponsored retirement plans. Make sure you know the differences between these plans and be familiar with the advantages and disadvantages of each plan. Speak with a financial professional who can guide you on which plan will be best for you and your employees.

#3 Establish an Employment Brand

While benefits and compensation rank as top qualities employees look for in a new job, candidates also look for better recognition, appreciation, and values along with strong relationships and positive culture in the workplace.

These qualities can be communicated by creating a memorable employment brand. Even for small businesses like dental offices, establishing an employment brand is achievable. You can communicate your brand through the company website or social media accounts. These are great places where previous and current employees can post testimonials on what life is like every day at work.

Offices can also feature the current employees on their website and include what they like to do for fun outside of the office. Establishing an employment brand enables you to communicate the type of office culture you have. Your website should be able to tell a story of what it’s like to work in your office. This will attract not only prospective employees but also new patients. Have your mission statement and company values consistent with your company and employment brand.

#4 What is your Talent Brand?

Once you have communicated how great your company is, the next step is to whom you want to direct your message? What kind of talents are you looking to work in your amazing office?

Your talent brand should describe the kinds of talent your company seeks and the kinds of talent who succeed in your company.

For instance, if your brand focuses on customer service, your talents should naturally have the personality to meet your customers’ needs. Think back again on what makes your office different from your competitors. If you are an office that truly cares for the well-being of your patients and employees, that can be your employment brand and company brand. You may show pictures of a lunch-hour group walk that your employees participate in with other staff members. From that, you can develop your talent brand by thinking of what kinds of people are needed to make your business strategy successful. From the example given, you may be able to attract candidates who like to be physically active if they see that you value their wellness.

#5 Determine the Most Productive Talent Channels

Nowadays, job seekers have so many options in which they could look for jobs. Make sure you have a comprehensive talent acquisition strategy that uses all the tools and channels available. However, be thoughtful about where you spend your dollars in finding talents.

DirectDental is an affordable option that specializes in dental offices that need to hire, and when you post a job with them, they publish it on Indeed, Ziprecruiter, Google Jobs, and more!

Another way is asking your employees to refer friends and family in return for cash rewards. A more sophisticated approach is providing your employees with referral cards or pamphlets that they can give to any person they come across who gives excellent customer service or demonstrates interest in your company. Another way is to have your current employees list names of talented people they may have previously worked with in the past. Then, the hiring manager in the office can follow up on these contacts.

Job boards and staffing firms are great sources for acquiring talents. However, your ad should stand out from your competitors. If your ad looks just like your competitors, it is more likely it will be overlooked. Instead, write a catchy job description that clearly and succinctly states your brand and what makes you different from others.

Lastly, create alliances with colleges and universities via online and offline connections. Through Linkedin and Facebook, you can find groups and forums for specific fields, industries, and universities. You can search for talents through these networks and invite them to check out your company. If you have a social media presence, prospective talents can follow your social media account and check out your company website. It is important you establish your business strategy, your employment, and your talent brand in order for you to attract the candidates you expect to succeed in your company.

#6 Measure Your Success

Measuring the effectiveness of your attraction and recruitment efforts is important in determining which method works and how much you are spending on your investment. You won’t know which channel and strategy are more effective if you don’t measure.

Here are just some of the ways to measure your success:

  • Know how many applicants apply per job you posted
  • How long it took to fill the vacancy
  • The number of online visits to your career website
  • Cost per hire
  • Offer-to-acceptance ratio

Consistency in your message is the secret to having an effective talent acquisition strategy. Alignment in your company values, culture, branding, business strategy, and talent acquisition strategy is key. As with dating and relationships, you must be able to deliver what is promised. We all know that trust is an important driver in building relationships.  If you establish a great reputation with your employees and clients, they are more likely to recommend your business to their friends and family.

In my experience working as a dental hygienist for the same dental office for over 15 years, we had a culture of delivering the best customer service and the best dental services. The company valued ethical and top-quality service. The talent brand was to attract talents who have the personality and character in delivering the company’s values. This company used only a referral-based strategy on acquiring talents. Consequently, the office was productive and was able to pay higher wages, offer monthly bonuses, medical insurance, and retirement plans to all qualified employees. In this case, the differentiation factor for this company was the type of quality talents it had acquired throughout the years.

Choosing the best talent acquisition strategy depends on what you are willing and able to do. Always consider the pros and cons of each strategy. Most importantly, always think about how you can be effective with each strategy.

About the Author

Cindy Lasala is an independent Human Resource Consultant for Tempfiller.com, Inc., doing business as HR Strategies and Services. She attended the University of Southern California for her bachelor’s degree in Dental Hygiene and for her master’s degree in Human Resource and Management. Cindy is also a licensed financial advisor from Transamerica Financial Advisors, Inc., where she helps individuals and small businesses secure a financial plan in case of unexpected events and through retirement.