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Inside Dental Technology
May 2022
Volume 13, Issue 5

Outside-the-Box Thinking to Attract Good Talent

Executive Editor Daniel Alter, MSc, MDT, CDT | dalter@aegiscomm.com

As we emerge from the pandemic into what has become the new normal, many dental laboratories and other businesses alike are finding themselves experiencing a significant challenge recruiting and maintaining their technical talent pool. It is no secret that employees' expectations have changed over the past 2 years, whether it be from working remotely at home, having a hybrid situation, or simply finding this time beneficial to retire or change career paths. The bottom line is that dental laboratories are challenged with attaining and retaining talent. Speaking with many business owners and recruiters in various geographical locations, I have observed that we are all feeling the pains and consequences of what the world has just experienced. 

Recognizing those changes, prudent dental laboratory owners and managers need to be cognizant and position themselves to accommodate the needs of their business, their employees, and their clientele by reflecting on those desires that necessitate viewing from a different lens or perspective. Nationally, there seems to be a boom of work, but as businesses struggle keeping up with the workload, it becomes necessary to establish new and unique workflows, hours, and compensation scales to fulfill the workload and properly service their clientele.

Employees are now seeking more flex time whereby they can come into the laboratory on differing schedules, or hybrid arrangements, or even simply remaining remote. Approaching this challenge with previous expectations may not correlate to great realizations and may cause a loss of opportunity in attaining talent. Listen to what the employees need and want, and then consider whether or not that would fit your business organizationally and whether it is feasible and could work. Some laboratories are finding great success in staggering their employees or departments, where some may come in as early as 6:00 AM and leave around 2:00 PM, while others may come in normally, and then more may come in for the afternoon shift. Again, if it works for the employee and allows your business to effectively complete the necessary workload, it may be worth the effort.

While working toward a scenario that accommodates all stakeholders' needs, dental laboratory owners and managers should consider examining efficiencies within their laboratories—specifically in labor and processes. Are there ways to consolidate departments or personnel, and is there any technology—emerging, new, and old—that may alleviate the pressures of significant labor bottlenecks and concentration? In other words, are there any measures to alleviate the labor-intensive tasks that consume a large amount of your laboratory talent's time? One such example expressed by several laboratories was changing their laboratory departmental workflow, which deviates from the traditional step departments. So, rather than the conventional model, fixed, or removable departments, laboratories found great benefits in utilizing the same talent to design implant-supported prosthetics, digital dentures, and cosmetic restorations, as well as the same technicians to finish those restorations. Challenging times such as these require outside-the-box thinking and a reflective assessment to find amicable solutions to continue to thrive.

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