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Inside Dental Technology
November 2017
Volume 8, Issue 11

ClearChoice Invests in Technical Talent

Five key ways ClearChoice is preparing laboratory technicians for success

Sit down for a few minutes with Rob Linder, VP of Dental Services at ClearChoice Dental Implant Centers, and you will get a view into how much ClearChoice thinks about their laboratory technicians and how important they are to the company. Pointing to a mission statement on his wall, Linder says, “ClearChoice is in the business of delivering hope, and laboratory technicians play a key role in our network. As we invest in our laboratory technicians, we invest in hope.” As part of that investment, ClearChoice is preparing laboratory technicians for success in five key ways.

1. Leveraging Technology and Innovation

ClearChoice laboratories embrace new technology, providing pathways for laboratory technicians to leverage their existing experience and build new skills.

Technological innovations are changing the way dentistry is delivered. Design, capture, prototyping, and manufacturing processes are evolving, resulting in better products, delivered faster and at lower costs, with improved patient and employee experiences.

“There is no better time in our generation to be a laboratory tech,” says Scott Adams, Senior Director of Dental Services and head of the ClearChoice laboratory R&D program. “We have found our technicians are excited about technology. With the volume of work they handle, they are excited to leverage new tools and techniques to help them deliver the dentistry on their bench. Take CAD, for example. We are piloting digital workflows that will help our technicians repurpose their time from lower value processes to higher value technical tasks and increase productivity. They can’t get it soon enough.”

2. Dedicated Training and Support Facility

Look in any ClearChoice center and you will see a plaque on the wall listing seven key values. One of those values is a passion for learning—evident by the new 7,000-square-foot laboratory and training facility, called the Master Academy™.

New and existing laboratory technicians learn and hone their skills with job-specific, hands-on training in both classrooms and implant centers. Development plans are tailored to build on individual skills and help new technicians launch successfully into their new positions.

Andy Kimball, ClearChoice Chief Performance Officer, says, “Our performance programs are designed to help technicians prepare to make an immediate impact in the field, both as technical experts and leaders.”

Kimball adds, “Our most effective technicians have solid technical skills, plus they have passion for achievement, passion for continuous learning, passion for helping others, and passion for high-quality communication.”

Courses range from entry-level classes to week-long manager courses dedicating an entire week to leadership development, with on-site residence in implant centers.

3. Laboratory Manager Opportunities

With 38 dental implant centers, plus six to eight new centers on the way, laboratory technician opportunities are constant. “We continually scan the country for the best and brightest laboratory technicians to join our team,” says Marco Gonzalez, Director of Talent Acquisition for ClearChoice. “Our greatest need is for laboratory managers and experienced fixed removable technicians to service our immediate growth. We also think deeply on building our pipeline of future laboratory managers, who will be groomed and developed through our Master Academy. At any given time, we have five to 10 open laboratory positions across our network—all to support our growth!”

Oscar Galvis is one of those new laboratory managers. Galvis says, “While working as an instructor in a New York City restorative dentistry program, I received a phone call from a prosthodontist who was looking to fill the laboratory manager position in the Roseland, New Jersey, office. I decided to take the chance and apply for the position. ClearChoice flew me out to Denver for a working interview, followed by a local interview with the doctor. After my interviews, I was excited by all the company had to offer. A few days later, I received the job offer. Today, I work side by side with an amazing prosthodonist, surgeon, and staff. The skills and relationships I have developed within the office and the ClearChoice network in less than a year prove to me that I made the right decision.”

4. Leadership Training and Development 

Looking at a group photo of laboratory technicians taken at a leadership teambuilding event, Linder says, “More than a third of these managers are former laboratory owners, who for one reason or another were attracted to opportunities in ClearChoice laboratories.” Linder continues, “We have very low attrition in our laboratories. It’s not just the four-day work week or the chance to work on complex cases with prosthodontists that attracts technicians to join ClearChoice. Techs join—and stay—because of the culture and the opportunities for development.”

What type of growth and opportunities exist? Just ask Area Lab Director Eric Manzone. “One day I came home from work and my wife suggested I look at a position she noticed on the Internet. At the time, I was the owner of a small dental laboratory in the Pacific Northwest. I loved my job, but I wanted to spend more time at the bench, less time managing the finances, and still realize the income potential I knew I could generate.” Manzone says with a smile, “So my wife applied for me.”

Shortly thereafter, Manzone sold his laboratory and joined the ClearChoice Dental Implant Center in Portland as the laboratory manager. Manzone continues, “Five years later, I received a phone call from a VP encouraging me to apply for a director position. Again, after talking with my wife, I decided to apply. Today I manage 11 laboratories with 35 amazing technicians. Next to marrying my wife, joining ClearChoice was the best decision I have ever made.”

5. Regional and National Conferences

It is a familiar sight to look across a room, a beach, a baseball game, or Times Square in New York City and see groups of ClearChoice laboratory technicians sharing best practices, swapping stories, and smiling as they socialize and catch up on family and friends. Several times each year, ClearChoice laboratory technicians gather for regional training and national conferences. Technicians get to spend individual time with the executive leadership team, hear technical updates from vendors, and share best practices with each other. Visit a ClearChoice conference, and you’ll discover it’s no surprise to hear from Navy SEALs talking about teamwork or world-class athletes discussing performance, and then end the day with a beach party. Events are purposeful, engaging, and just plain fun—and thoughtfully scheduled when laboratories are closed, so techs can truly relax and focus on their individual development and professional relationships.

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