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November 15th, 2022

Episode 40 – The Ultimate Guide to Dental Team Recruitment with Dr. Maggie Augustyn

“I don’t know how many will agree with me, but I will stand up for every one of my team members. I will put them ahead of my patients because they’ve earned it.”
– Dr. Maggie Augustyn

Team turnover is devastating to your practice. It undermines team morale and can wipe out any financial gains you’ve striven hard to earn. In fact, it can cost $100,000 of your hard-earned profits to replace a good team member. 

I get it. Attracting and retaining top talent in today’s marketplace is hard but, if you can hire and keep top-tier team members, then you’ve taken a huge step in protecting your financial gains and the long-term value of your practice.

The most fertile ground for Investment Grade Practice dental owners today is your reputation as a fantastic employer. My guest today, Dr. Maggie Augustyn has discovered this secret…and is joining me to share the innovative ways she hires and keeps the best of the best.

If you’re interested in removing drama from your practice by attracting and retaining top dental team talent, then tune in to learn:

  • What today’s employees are looking for today in an employer
  • How to write help-wanted ads that attract the best (Hint: It’s not about how much you pay!)
  • Ways you can retain top talent once you’ve hired them

Want to know if you have an Investment Grade Practice? Click here to use the completely free Investment Grade Practice calculator: What’s my IgP Freedom Number?

Want to have a conversation about your Investment Grade PracticeTM? Contact Brent at
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Victoria Peterson
Hello, everyone, I’m Victoria Peterson and today I am with the indomitable Dr. Maggie Augustine. Now, if you don’t know who Dr. Maggie is you have literally been living under a rock. I can’t open a publication without an article, I thought I was a prolific writer until I met you and you’re like 20 Publications a year. You speak on everything from emotional intelligence and depression and putting one foot in front of the other and the mental struggles and how real that is particularly in this pressure cooker industry we all live in into empowerment and living your dreams and breaking through those demons and limiting beliefs. Maggie, you have been inducted into the female Founder Collective, which is a group of women business owners, supporting women and empowering that. So I am here to celebrate you, one for being a dentist two for being an entrepreneur three for being a woman and for for really riding the wave of the new paradigm. We’re Welcome. Welcome. Welcome, Dr. Maggie.

Dr. Maggie Augustyn
Thank you so much Victoria and you have, you’ve just been so tremendously important in my own journey you and I have met was three years ago, two and a half years ago, and some of the conversations that you and I have had privately, have really moved me and I remember them almost every day, it’s it’s you’ve just allowed me to understand myself in a different space without the pressure of doing things for the wrong reasons. So I am so so grateful and I’m so honored to be speaking with you and I just have a huge grin on my face. If you can’t hear it, but but I am just so excited to talk to you.

Victoria Peterson
Well, one of the things we’re going to do multiple interviews and everyone you’re going to see why in just a moment but today, Maggie, there has been a huge shift in the world, right? Me too movement, millennials are now 40. They’re not even the young people. So the generations behind the millennials, you know, when you talk to them, they have such a different expectation about work, and life and career, and who your boss is going to be and how they show up and we hear a lot of the downside of it but you have found just a rainbow of opportunity with your team and I think it is the most fertile ground for business owners today is to really take stock of what is my reputation as an employer, not just as a dentist or as a clinician, but as an employer? What is my reputation? And what is my focus? So I would love to dive into that. What are you doing differently today to attract and retain top talent compared to even three years ago?

Dr. Maggie Augustyn
So we’re experiencing a paradigm shift, right, not just in the way that breed necessarily attempts to find employees, not just in the way that we see patients because of COVID and the temperature taking and the asking the COVID questions. We’re seeing a paradigm shift in terms of, you know, where has everybody gone after COVID? Why are they or aren’t they applying? What are they looking for now, back in the day, the way that I grew up, just because you’re a boss was a reason to be celebrated. Right? You’re put on a peasant pedestal and you you deserved accolades and respect because you wrote that paycheck, this new generation, maybe it’s the millennials, maybe it’s a little bit of everybody.

That’s no longer the case. Whether they left the field and are coming back or they’re new to the field, they’re looking for something different. They’re looking to live out their purpose. They’re looking to live out their passion, they’re looking for a reason to wake up in the morning, not for the paycheck but for the sake of living for the sake of you know, being a better person and moving us forward and if you can appeal Oh, to that part of the potential employee, yeah, then you’ve got them, right but the most important part in here, and we can talk about all kinds of things, because this is investment grade practices, right?

The most important part here in my book is people over profit, not patients over profit, not just, you know, production as profit, but people over profit and I say this, and I don’t know, how many people would agree with me, and I don’t necessarily know that this is the right thing but I, I will stand up for every single one of my team members and I will put them ahead of my patients, not ahead of my patient’s health, right, but ahead of my patients, I will always stand up for them, because they deserve because they’ve earned it because they’re my family because they’re here for me, they’re here for them, for my patients and so one of the things that I do, when I am trying to look for the best, money isn’t going to do it anymore. Right? The golden handcuffs are not going to keep you because everybody’s offering a lot of money, benefits, all of that.

That’s gone up tremendously and I’ve written about it, many other people have written about it, but when I write my ad, okay, so this is an ad that I’d written for hygenist. First of all, I don’t, I don’t title it. Looking for a dental hygienist in the western suburbs of Chicago. I titled it a love letter to my dental hygienist and it starts, starts like this, and I each time I’ve posted this, I’ve gotten 600 hits, and it goes as a dentist, I often wonder if I could imagine being a dental hygienist. Just because I could perform an SRP somewhat effortlessly does not mean that I am capable of understanding the role of the periodontal fighting machine. That is my Rdh and Rdh that has recently been unfairly portrayed as a tooth scraper. Let me be one of the first dentists you’ve known to stand up against that statement. I welcome you, I welcome you as a co provider, addressing and assessing the needs of our patients and it goes on.

So what are the chances that someone who is underpaid, undervalued, has little benefits? comes from it from a from a from a culture that they consider toxic, right of there being only one most important entity in the practice, which is the dentist? What if they read that? What do you think will happen? And I have a similar ad that I do for the for the admin person and I’ll tell you, someone could take this and they could publish it as their own but the difference is going to be that I will work every moment of every day to live up to the promises that I make in there and its people, its people over profit. As soon as you start treating people differently, they know what’s out there. That, you know, I have had team members here for 16 years as long as I’ve been in practice, and in many of them more than 10 years, and as long as you treat them like human beings that they deserve to be treated. They’ll stay they’ll stay for a long time for a lifetime. Yeah.

Victoria Peterson
That’s so powerful. Maggie, I have goosebumps and 600 hits I’m I’m surprised you’re not getting more you probably had every hygienist in a 100-mile radius respond or look at your ads.

Dr. Maggie Augustyn
I remember I heard that it’s gone viral on some social media. I don’t know to what extent but I I heard that from one of the IHS that I interviewed.

Victoria Peterson
So what would your ad a few years ago have sounded like

Dr. Maggie Augustyn
looking for a hygienist Monday, Wednesday, and Friday between 9 am and 4 pm. paying as little as I possibly can with no benefits. I look at the ads that are available. Now. There are still ads. They won’t say paying as little as possible, but that’s what they say.

Victoria Peterson
Right? Right. So there is this for everybody listening. You can hear it in Maggie’s language. You can see it on her face. If you could see her face. You can hear it in her voice, that there is this paradigm shift about the responsibilities of what a good employer is and it feels like Maggie, you are applying the same marketing tactics to attract an ideal team. As you are the marketing tactics you apply to attract the ideal patient.

Dr. Maggie Augustyn
Yeah, Yes, very much so and I think, you know, as far as the ideal patient is concerned, it’s much easier to come to work, when you provide care for people that are willing to listen to you, right? Have a similar outlook on life, it’s just not going uphill and that’s just equally important, surrounding yourself with people that are your people. Can you imagine what that does to the joy of your life? You know, there’s always going to be, you know, someone here and there that, you know, you interviewed someone, and they, everything went really well and they responded to the ad, and you’re getting along and sometimes that doesn’t work out. It’s not foolproof and we also change in the cycle over time but yeah, those are surrounding yourself with people that are your people, is the only way to live now. I love that.

Victoria Peterson
I love that and on the flip side of the coin, we actually and practices that we consult with that have high team turnover, we can actually show them what it’s costing, you know, so what do you think. So for a hygienist, for example, it can cost the practice nearly $115,000 to replace that, hi, Janice, even if you replace them immediately, like within two or three weeks, or a month of one leaving and the other one coming on but that turnover cost of learning my systems, learning my team, learning my place, getting in relationship with the patients, again, moving them forward with treatment, being productive, all of that downtime of that education, time really adds up and for one client that we were working with, sweetheart of a guy, great guy but every once in a while his temper would get the best of them and it would flow off the handle and become very unpredictable.

Right and that team turnover when we added it all up. It’s as if he got zero new patients for the entire year. So imagine that team turnover wipes out all gains for new patients. Because the customer service becomes so inconsistent, that you’re not converting callers, you’re not bringing them in the right way. patients aren’t saying yes, it wipes out the entire marketing budget and it’s like, whoa, that’s, that’s what we’re talking about here that it is the engine that drives the train. So what are some of the things now that you’re embracing your team, as you’re like, I hear you I got your back. That’s not just a motivational poster. I hate those by the ways, like the iceberg is up there. And

Dr. Maggie Augustyn
that’s so 90s. Right, every wave

Victoria Peterson
in the Grand Canyon. Like, I used to send those out, but they were all sarcastic. spoofed, so those posters. So getting beyond the motivational poster, what has this internal shift within yourself, like, I am really going to honor and respect the people that are here busting their butt for me every day that are taking care of me and taking care of my patients. What do your team members say to you? How do they show up in your relationship?

Dr. Maggie Augustyn
Wow, that’s a really great question, and one of the things that I want to tell you is one of the greatest joys with working with my people here is every now and again, I’ll come into my office and if you could see, they’ll put random photos of random people in random places just to make me laugh and I love it and actually I keep them around like on my phone, I’ve got a picture of one of my team members and every time I pick it up, it just makes me giggle and they’re all over you know taken over my family pictures and they put little pictures of themselves in them and it just it so we do that for each other.

You know, I never ask them to clock out when they don’t have a patient. I never asked that of a hygienist. I think that’s disrespectful. If for some reason myself or my partner go on vacation, they are free to work. There’s plenty of things to do and I will pay them if we’re gone. For listening to podcasts. I will pay them for watching PDA classes. I will pay them for or spear I will pay them for all those things. When they’re down. They have a patient and they’re laughing a little bit in the lab room. I don’t interrupt that. I am great. Every time I hear that. I am so happy that they have that with each other, that they’re there for each other the closer they are with each other.

The smoother, it’s all going to it’s gone. It’s going to run and then, you know, I will, I will listen to them. I, you know, I’m not meant to be their friend but I am more than happy to be a shoulder to cry on and so we gain trust and you know, we do these meetings every 90 days, 30-minute check-ins, while they’re not really 30 minutes, but 90 Day one-hour check-ins and it’s an honor for me to do that to find out what they love about work about life, what suggestions they have and then and then we celebrate, right we and one way that we celebrate it with is when we went to the PDA conference in December, I had five of us going for the tuition, and for the coursework, and then I flew out three other team members just for the night.

So we would go out and have fun and have some dinner together and so they flew from Chicago to Dallas for a night and it was on us and imagine what does that do for the way they work together. What does that do for the way that I work with them and the way that they work with me? We just carry each other and actually, the greatest compliment that came from my, my patient concierge near the end, she said she was talking about some drama in her family and, gosh, there are so many women here. I wonder why we don’t have any drama here but we don’t, we just don’t have drum.

Victoria Peterson
That’s amazing. Dr. Maggie, we could go on for another hour and a half, I’m sure but we’re going to leave on that high note. This is how you create a drama-free work environment and I tell you being a healthcare provider today, building an investment grade practice, we do know that stress is the number one killer of productivity and ad lives. So wherever you can destress and bring joy and bring light and thank you for showing us that simple but powerful switch of how you attract the right people, you know, thinking of it as your opportunity to advertise through core values, not just through days of the week and our hourly rate of pay. Unbelievable. Thank you, Maggie,

Dr. Maggie Augustyn
you’re very welcome. Thank you for having me.

Victoria Peterson
If people want to reach out and connect with you, what’s the best way?

Dr. Maggie Augustyn
The best way for them to get a hold of me is? Doc, Dr. Maggie Ma, Dr. Ma GGIE? Am I happy to start comments, on my email? Or if you just put my name Maggie Augustine into Google. You can find some of my articles on dentistry today and my column mindful moments or you can find me on Facebook. Love it. Thank you

Victoria Peterson
and you could find us both in the dental entrepreneur women’s community. That’s right. It was such an honor to share the cover with you. Last spring that was amazing. That

Dr. Maggie Augustyn
was amazing. It’s framed in my house.

Victoria Peterson
So as you’re on your journey, creating time and space and special moments for yourself and your friends and your team members remember Maggie’s advice of be be the shoulder for your team to lean into. Thank you, Maggie. Thank you.

Hello, Regan Robertson here from productive dentist Academy. Do you ever have that nagging feeling that you deserve more, more case acceptance more time with your family, and more profit without sacrificing excellent patient care? I have great news for you. You can join your favorite PDA podcast hosts Dr. Chad Johnson, Dr. Bruce B. Baird, Dr. Victoria Peterson, and myself at a PDA productivity workshop in 2023. This is a full emergency where we give you the resources and tools you desire. So you can align your team streamline your systems and consistently produce more without raising your fees and without more time in the chair. This is the nation’s number one dental business course and the best part is this program guarantees your dental practice growth. We have two events in 2023 March 2 to the fourth and September 28 to the 30th fair warning these events will quickly March is already half full as I record this so grab your registration today. If you have to have it right now you can email directly Brent To save your seat and hurry these events fill fast.

Thank you for tuning in to this episode of Investment Grade Practices podcast. If you find value in this episode, help us spread the word by passing it along to a dental friend. Subscribe and give us a Like on iTunes or Spotify. Learn more about building your Investment Grade Practice at Today

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