Improving Your Human Resources Department

By Dee Fischer and Gregory Mokotoff

It takes a lot of moving pieces to make a dental group successful, all working together to grow and improve the business. The human resources department is a critical piece of that puzzle, providing your employees with the resources they need to be engaged and productive team members of your organization.

Without a healthy HR department, your organization will lack the fundamental tools it needs to maintain a healthy atmosphere for your employees. Everything from your company culture to your hiring initiatives to employee engagement to providing a comprehensive benefits package will suffer. While there are plenty of systems and processes that you can put in place, you will need humans to implement those systems.

Gregory Mokotoff, the Regional Director for North American Dental Group explains his approach to improving the culture at his organization, saying, “In The E Myth, they talk about hiring ordinary people, but why don’t we try to hire extraordinary people? What are we looking for in our staff members? Well, I want them to be humble. If you have a big ego, that generally does not survive in our type of environment. You’ve got to be hungry. I want you to want more than you have today. I want you to need to improve yourself.”

Improving your HR department will not only benefit your organization, but you and your employees as well. Ignoring an unhealthy HR department, or even foregoing an HR department altogether, will ultimately harm you and your employees and make it harder to hire new recruits.

Continuity across the organization

Continuity and communication across the organization is a critical part of operating a business. Your employees need to see daily communication to understand what is happening in the office, what is happening with their coworkers, and sometimes to remind them what is expected of them.

Dee Fischer, CEO of Fischer Professional Group, said, “You could use Slack, you could use Teams. The thing I like about these tools is they bring awareness of what is going on in your organization. It is also accountability. People are seeing what is going on with the organization and with their peers.” At Fischer’s Professional Group, Fischer and her team use a consultative approach to understand the challenges that your dental practice is facing and how you can overcome those challenges.

Fischer’s Professional Group uses score cards to track business objectives to provide accountability to businesses about what is happening within the organization on a daily basis. Fischer said, “Are you tracking unscheduled hours in your practices? That is one of the things we have on our scorecards at Fischer Professional Group. We should be tracking unscheduled hours and how many unscheduled hours you had for the year. I showed a practice the other day, they needed two less hygienists and one less provider, because there were so many unscheduled hours.”

Using tools to improve communication throughout the office will greatly improve communication and continuity among your employees. A shared experience can also improve continuity, like a corporate retreat or reading a book. The focus is to get everyone on the same page. Mokotoff said, “Slack is a great way to get continuity across your organization. Another great way is to have people read a book together. What you want to do is look for a book that everyone could read from the janitor all the way up to the CEO and understand.”

Leveraging leadership development

Developing leaders and training associates is another crucial component of HR, as well as another way that your organization will suffer if your HR department is unhealthy. “Leaders need development,” Fischer said. “They need to be challenged. Build that into the budget. Is there a budget for culture? Is there a budget for team meetings? All those kinds of things need to be built into the budget.”

Provide opportunities for your leaders to take that next step in their role, improving their professional and personal development as an employee of your organization and a member of the dental industry at large. Giving your leaders every opportunity to succeed will only help your team to achieve business goals and grow. Fischer also says that investing in the future of your company means budgeting for acquisition and growth. “There also needs to be a budget for succession planning, an acquisition team and transition team that costs money.”

Recruiting new team members

One of the most important parts about HR is finding new talent and recruiting the right people for your dental group. Improving your HR department will not only simplify the internal hiring process for your team, but it will also make your organization stand out in the sea of companies looking to hire people.

Hiring and training new employees is hard enough, but the actual casting of the net and the search might be even more difficult. Writing a job description is sometimes considered a lost art form. It requires very specific ingredients to write a good job description.

“We need to think about what goes into a job description and how clear the job description should be,” Fischer said. “It should tell you what the working conditions are. Are you standing up? Are you sitting down? What are we doing? It should include the core values of your company. We want culture. We want trust. We want togetherness. We want generosity.”

Finding good candidates is one thing but hiring the right one is something different altogether. Carefully review the candidate’s qualifications, ask engaging questions about their experience and what they’re looking for, and clearly outline the expectations for the role. If you do all the hard work on the front end, you might just minimize the chances of hiring the wrong person.

Mokotoff says, “If you are a doctor, I want you to be able to think you want to produce more tomorrow than you did today. Maybe you want to learn a new procedure. If you let people into your organization who are ok just being comfortable, then those are the results you are probably going to get.”