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Dental Staff Shortages: Strategies for Effective Hiring

Staffing shortages are one of the biggest challenges that the dentistry industry faces today. According to 2023 data, about 95% of dentists find it “very” or “extremely” challenging to recruit dental hygienists, while over 87% experience the same when hiring dental assistants. And this is not a new problem. The dental care industry has been grappling with staffing shortages for years, but the COVID-19 pandemic only exacerbated the issue. 

If you are looking to hire an experienced dental professional, you will likely face stiff competition in the labor market due to the high demand and limited supply. That’s why it’s essential to adopt strategic approaches to navigate these challenges effectively. 

Strategies for Effective Hiring

Healthcare staffing shortage is a huge concern in the United States. Factors like stressful environments, an aging workforce, burnout, fewer educational resources, etc., all contribute to this public health crisis. While there are no ready solutions to these problems, there are steps that you can take to ensure your facility has enough staff:

Advertise Open Positions on Your website

One of the best ways to attract qualified candidates is through your practice's website. Advertise any new position on your website so prospects know you are hiring. While at it, ensure that your website has a dedicated careers or employment section where job seekers can easily find information about available positions and how to apply. Include detailed job descriptions outlining the responsibilities, qualifications, and any unique aspects of working at your practice.

 

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It’s also a good idea to add testimonials or profiles of current staff members to provide insights into your practice culture and what it's like to work there. 

Use Your Business Socials to Attract New Staff

Social media platforms are a great place for your practice to attract potential candidates. Use LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram to share posts about job openings, employee spotlights, and behind-the-scenes glimpses of your practice. The posts should highlight the positive aspects of working at your practice, like team events, professional development opportunities, or patient care and success stories. Encourage followers to apply or share with their networks and engage with comments and messages from interested candidates promptly and professionally.

Post Ads on the Major Job Search Websites

Take advantage of popular job search websites, like Indeed, Glassdoor, and DentalPost, to reach a broader audience of job seekers. Craft compelling job postings that capture the attention of potential candidates and communicate what sets your practice apart. Use keywords relevant to the position and location to optimize your job postings for search visibility. Regularly monitor and update your job postings on job search websites to ensure they remain current and reflect any changes in staffing needs.

Ask Your Employees to Refer Potential Staff

Your existing employees can help as well! Encourage them to refer qualified candidates from their professional networks or personal connections. Consider implementing a referral program that rewards employees for successful referrals. 

You can use bonuses or other incentives to incentivize them to actively participate in the recruitment process. However, the most important thing is to provide clear guidelines on the types of candidates you're looking for and how employees can submit referrals.

 

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Keep an Inventory of Potential Employees

Maintain a database or list of potential candidates who have expressed interest in working at your practice or have applied for previous positions. Contact them periodically to inform them about future opportunities and maintain a positive relationship. Building and nurturing relationships with potential candidates over time can streamline the hiring process when positions become available. Use customer relationship management (CRM) software or a simple spreadsheet to keep track of potential candidates, including their contact information, skills, and relevant notes from previous interactions.

Effective Retention Strategies to Maintain a Strong Dental Care Team 

Hiring top talent is the beginning of building a solid dental care team. Retaining skilled professionals is equally vital for your practice's long-term success and stability. Here are effective retention strategies to help you maintain a cohesive and high-performing dental team: 

Compensation and Benefits

  • Offer competitive salaries and benefits packages to attract and retain talented dental professionals. If hiring an assistant, research the dental assistant salary to ensure you’re not underpaying them. Your staff - office manager, dental hygienist, etc. - will all appreciate reasonable compensation.
  • Conduct regular reviews of your compensation structure to ensure it remains competitive with industry standards and accounts for factors like experience, specialization (such as pediatric dentistry or oral and maxillofacial surgery), and geographic location.
  • Consider additional incentives like performance-based bonuses, profit-sharing, or opportunities for career advancement to motivate further and reward your team members.

Supportive Work Environment

  • Create a supportive and inclusive work environment where team members feel valued, respected, and empowered.
  • Encourage open communication and feedback, allowing your team to share ideas, voice concerns, and contribute to practice improvements.
  • Provide opportunities for professional development and continuing education through in-house training programs, conferences, or tuition reimbursement for furthering education at dental school or specialized courses.
  • Recognize and celebrate achievements and milestones, whether individual or team-based, to boost morale and reinforce a positive workplace culture.

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Work-Life Balance

  • Recognize the importance of work-life balance and strive to accommodate your team members' personal and family needs.
  • Offer flexible scheduling options, where feasible, to allow for better work-life integration and reduced stress.
  • Implement policies and practices that promote wellness and self-care, such as regular breaks, access to mental health resources, and support for healthy lifestyle choices.

Career Development Opportunities

  • Provide clear pathways for career advancement and professional growth within your practice, whether through promotions, additional responsibilities, or specialized training.
  • Support team members in pursuing their career goals and aspirations, whether transitioning into roles like dental laboratory technician or advancing to leadership positions within the practice.
  • Offer mentorship programs where experienced team members can guide and support newer staff, fostering skill development and knowledge sharing.

Lastly, it also helps to equip your dental facility with the right tools and technologies. These streamline workflows and help you and your team deliver high-quality care efficiently. They also ensure that you provide a safe and healthy work environment.

Dental Finds carries a large collection of high quality dental tools and equipment for dental practices. Browse through our collection today to find what your facility is missing!