Tackling the Recruitment Crisis in Dentistry

Practical steps to help attract the best candidates and retain valued staff.

Washing line with pegs on it, with a latex glove and a face mask attached to the pegs. A sign reading 'HELP!' is also pegged to the washing line.

Almost all practices are feeling the pain of staff shortages that’s impacting our whole industry and patients. Recent research conducted by Dentistry (The dental recruitment crisis: what you need to know – Dentistry) this year has highlighted that the recruitment crisis is due to two factors.

Firstly, there is a shortage of dentists in the UK and secondly many dentists have chosen to leave the industry as well as many dentists leaving the NHS to work in private practices.

The issue isn’t just affecting dentists, as many dental nurses have also opted to leave the profession, and many have left the NHS to work in private practices where they can earn more money and have more choice of flexibility in their roles.

Therefore, it is paramount to focus on how you attract the best candidates and retain valued members of staff.

Let’s start off by looking at attracting the best candidates, and keep in mind that today’s candidates can afford to be picky.

Top Tips for Recruitment

Getting the Right Job Description

Once happy with the JD & job title, you move on to marketing the vacancy.

Maximising Your Brand

Bringing the vacancy to life

Having a recruiting page on your website to attract candidates, even if using an agency, can make all the difference. This is where you can set yourself apart from the competition, as candidates should have a good feel for what it would be like to work for you. Make it easy for them to apply with click-to-apply buttons in several places on the page.     

To give you a head start on building your recruiting page, here’s a handy outline:

You have spent a lot of time and effort attracting the perfect candidate, let’s look at how you can keep them.

Photo of Roxanne Gibson, Senior HR Advisor at Agilio
Roxanne Gibson, Senior HR Advisor at Agilio Software

Top Tips for Retention

Communication is key

Maintaining an open-door policy lets employees know they can come to managers with ideas, questions and concerns at any time. As a manager, it’s your job to ensure your team feels a connection to the company and each other. That feeling of belonging and being heard can go a long way toward retaining employees.

Create an engaging onboarding process

During the onboarding process, take the opportunity to make a positive first impression on a new employee. Create a process where new employees get comfortably acclimated to the workplace. Do this by creating straightforward training materials, offering support and guidance and explaining how the company operates. Introducing new employees to others in the office can help them feel like they are a part of the team right away. See the Induction policy in iComply to support you with this (M 225A).

Schedule employee performance reviews

Employee performance reviews are a great way for employees to grow in their roles. Meet periodically to discuss their strengths, development areas and career goals. By learning their goals, you can help them continue to advance in the company. Offering positive feedback during this meeting can help employees feel valued and more satisfied at work. If the budget allows, use the performance review as a time to offer the employee a raise or a bonus. There are appraisal tools in iComply to support this process.

Show your appreciation

When an employee is doing a good job or has recently earned a big achievement, recognise their hard work. You can show your appreciation by saying it directly to them or making a company-wide announcement. When employees feel their efforts are noticed, they are more likely to continue to work hard and stay with the company. Could you consider introducing an employee of the month, where colleagues can nominate each other and the monthly winner receives a small prize?

Flexible working/Encourage a work-life balance

A healthy work-life balance is when employees can effectively manage their work and home lives and feel like they have enough time and energy for both. This element has become increasingly important to many employees. You can help employees achieve a more balanced work-life experience by giving staff more flexibility with their schedules. 

Consider allowing employees to come in late and make up their work if they need to leave for an appointment. Helping employees maintain a work-life balance shows that you value their well-being. They are more likely to stay with the company when they feel like they have a manager who cares about them. Please see the flexible working policy in iComply (M 233-FWA)

Support professional development

Helping employees meet their professional goals may influence them to stay with the company because they see it as a place with many opportunities. You can help them by spending time coaching and mentoring team members. Offer your team additional training or education opportunities, such as CPD learning with Agilio iLearn (formerly Isopharm), funding certifications, sending them to conferences or providing education stipends. Update equipment so workers can learn using the latest technology. When possible, promote from within. By investing in your team, they can develop their skills and take on more responsibilities, both of which can lead to improved employee retention.

Provide competitive compensation and benefits

In a competitive job market, it’s essential that you reward your employees with adequate compensation and benefits when you can. It is even more important to accommodate flexible working requests where possible if it is not feasible to increase your reward package.

Team building

Help everyone get to know each other better by facilitating team-building activities. Plan team lunches or optional after-work events for your team. The more people learn about each other, the better they can work together.

Ask for employee feedback

Send out anonymous surveys to learn what your team members like and dislike the most about working for your company. Ask them what changes they would like to see in the workplace. Have them also list any incentives that would help them feel more satisfied and valued and stay longer. By directly sourcing team members, you can customise employee retention strategies more effectively.

Work culture

Promote wellness and kindness to create a better work culture. When people feel you value their well-being, they may feel more comfortable coming to you when they feel overwhelmed at work. Let them know it’s acceptable to take a break when they need it.

Hopefully this has given you a few ideas to think about for how you can attract and retain staff members. If you want any further advice about attracting and retaining staff, then please contact the HR experts at iTeam.  [email protected]