What Dental Professionals Want

by | Apr 4, 2022 | Dental Office, Employer advice, Hiring | 0 comments

In one of the dental facebook groups I follow I came across this post:

“Hello everyone!  I would love to hear from you on what has influenced your decision to join and/or stay at your current practice.

While compensation is important to all of us, sometimes it’s more about the experiences we have in our workplace.  What is important to YOU?

Opportunities for growth?
Professional development?
Community involvement?
Flexible work schedule?

I’d love to hear all of your fantastic feedback on if a practice is lucky enough to hire you, how do they retain you?

Thank you all so much!  Dentistry is better because of YOU!”

Of course, I had to stop and read through the answers.  I posted some of the answers below.

Jennifer A said: “Paid time off and flexibility is very important to me. I love an office that respects that I don’t live to work.”

Tanya A said: “With having a baby and a military husband that is gone a lot- shorter work days are extremely important to me so my child doesn’t live at daycare. Surprisingly, this is very hard to find. I love my patients, but I don’t live to work.”

Paula B said: ” – a skilled dentist that does their best work, is honest & ethical (this is what I bring to the table and want the same with my boss).
– a team that treats each other with respect & communicates
– paid holidays, fair compensation, health ins & retirement
– I prefer a fixed schedule (where I work the same hours, on the same days)
– offices that invest in growth is nice”

Jalitsi R – “For me it’s flexibility, professional development, opportunities for growth & recognition.”

Jennifer S – 

– Support from doctors allowing me to do my job
– Knowledge to do my job properly
– Trust which leads to flexibility
– A steady work schedule
– Clear communication
– And compensation and recognition for the job well done

Summary of wants:

  • Flexibility
  • Paid Time Off
  • Growth and Training
  • Communication and Trust
  • A doctor who is honest and ethical
  • Recognition
  • Compensation

Here are some ideas on how to market these wants to your employees and applicants. 


After reading all the responses, flexibility seemed to be the #1 want, and obviously the hardest thing for a small practice to give.  Usually in a practice everyone has their set position so when someone calls out the whole team struggles.  

So offering flexibility is a challenge.  Here are some ideas on how to offer it. 

  1. Build a temp bench – for each position in your office, have a handful of temps who you can contact at a moment’s notice.  That way if someone needs to leave early or call out sick, you can have someone else there.  This post offers more details on building a temp bench.  
  2. Hire a rover – Make sure your front desk has at least 1 rover on the team.   Or at least train someone in the front to flip ops and sanitize so if your assistant is out you are covered.  
  3. Communicate with your team – Make sure your team knows you understand they have a life outside of work.  Give them an opportunity to update you on their schedules and work with your team to make adjustments.
  4. Use time off as a reward for good work – My favorite employer would reward us with paid afternoons off as a reward for hitting a goal or for surviving a difficult week.  It really made everyone on the team appreciative and jazzed to work.  So if you can swing it and see an empty afternoon on the schedule tell your team to enjoy it off. 

Paid Time Off

This is simple.  Just offer it. 

If you are hiring and it comes down to your office who is offering a week of PTO (on top of sick and holiday pay) vs. an office who isn’t offering PTO, the applicant is going to go with your office for the PTO.  It shows you respect them and want to reward them for their hard work.

Growth and Training  

Help your team cover the cost of their continuing education courses.  Or make sure to offer valuable lunch and learns.  Maybe hire a consultant to come in and work with your team to improve the systems in the office.

Investing in your team is the same as investing in your practice.  Ask your team what they want to learn or what skill they want to improve on and then find a way to make it happen for them. 

Communication and Trust  

Have quarterly one-on-ones with your team members so they have a chance to tell you how things are going in your practice. 

Don’t micromanage.

If you feel like something needs to be improved on, talk about it right away and work as a team to come up with a solution.  

Be very clear about expectations, maybe invest in an employee handbook.    

Honest and Ethical Doctor

I think most employees understand if they are working with a dentist who provides good dentistry vs. a dentist who is in it for the money.  

But, dentistry is a science and an art form, and dentists do things differently. 

If you have an employee that is questioning your treatment plans, instead of being hurt or annoyed, sit down with them and explain why you are doing the treatment this way.  The trust you build by doing this is exactly what your employees are seeking for in a boss/dentist.

Recognition and Compensation

I think bonus systems are the best way to let your team know you recognize their efforts and you want to compensate them for the growth of the practice.  I mean, why else would they work harder for you if their compensation stays the same? 

Research some bonus systems (I’ll make a post on this soon) and then make sure to include that in your job description.  

I hope this post gave you some insight into what dental professionals want other than money.  Make sure to chat with your employees about what is most important to them and then find ways to roll that out as an employee benefit. 


Holli Perez

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