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March 6th, 2023

Episode 148: How to Hire the Best Dental Team

“My preference is to hire people based on personality. With the right personality, the skills and systems can be taught.” ~Dr. Bruce B. Baird

What criteria do you use to hire people in your dental office? Do you hire people who have a lot of experience? I used to do that. But if you’re the type of practice that has solid systems, you may need to look at your hiring a different way. 

In my early career, I almost always looked for people who had a lot of experience in the front office or as an assistant. But then I noticed something. Over time, the excellent systems I had in place were slowly changing, even though I didn’t want them to. It turned out it was the people I hired – who had a lot of experience – who were changing my processes. 

In his book The E Myth, Michael E. Gerber says your business should be set up so that every system is so solid that you could franchise your business and someone else could replicate it. I wanted my dental office set up that way. I wanted every system so streamlined and solid that it was able to be taught to anyone. 

So I had to reevaluate the criteria I used to hire a team. It’s only natural that people with experience would bring their past experience to my office. But because I had very specific ways I wanted things done in my office, I realized that to be successful, I needed to hire people with the right personality and then train them exactly how I wanted things done. 

Today, I’m going to talk about my experience hiring, training, and empowering my dental team, including:

  • The role solid systems play in this model
  • What to look for in job candidates
  • How I had to improve my training and education skills

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Hi, this is Dr. Bruce Baird with the Productive Dentist Podcast. I first have a little thank yous to go around. We were voted, the Productive Dentists Podcast, was voted the number three-rated podcast out of 69 podcasts in the dental industry, and I’d really like to say thank you. I enjoy sharing my experiences over the last 40 years and I’m just super stoked, I couldn’t believe it. What was really cool is the Productive Dentist Academy, we had three of the top five podcasts, along with Everyday Practices with my buddies, Chad Johnson, and Regan, who runs all of the marketing, Regan Robertson runs all the marketing at Productive Dentist Academy and does pretty much everything else and my partner Victoria Peterson, who is, has started the podcast called Investment Grade Practice. So thanks again, for those votes that you guys did. I’d also like to say thank you for all of our new listeners. We’ve got a lot of new listeners out there now and so today I wanted to talk about something that, oh, I want to tell you one more thing. We are coming out with a brand new book that should be out by June of this year. It’s called Legendary Leadership and I’m excited about it. I think it’s something that can help any business any, any industry, and it goes into the good, the bad, and the ugly of leadership, which if you’ve been listening to my podcast, you know that there’s a lot of good and there’s a lot of bad about my career, and I share a share that in the book about how I overcame some of my difficulties to become a better leader, becoming a legendary leader is not something that is totally attainable, but it’s something that we should always be working for is to become a legendary leader. So thank you guys for the votes. Thank you so much and, again, coming out with a book, I’ll give you guys the first shot at it when I when it’s coming out. So today what I’d like to look at and to talk about is how do you hire people? Do you hire people based on experience? Is that what you’re looking for? Are you looking for somebody to be working at the front, a front desk that has had a lot of experience at the front desk? Or do you look for people, dental assistants who’ve had lots of dental assistant experience? Is that your way of looking at it? Well, it was mine early in my career I almost always looked for people with a lot of experience and what I began to realize is, if you’re the type of practitioner, if you’re the type of dentist who has solid systems and has really you know, for collections, for greeting people for answering the phone for how you bring patients back how you do everything in your office should be set up, as you know, just like the E Myth.

The E Myth tells you that everything has to be done in a certain way in a business as if you were going to franchise that business, which is kind of interesting and I read that book back in the early 80s, and it was one of those books that kind of changed the track of my career. It didn’t happen overnight, but I wanted to have the system so solid, that every system was tradable every system was something that not anybody could do, but somebody with the right personality could do it, and so what I would find is I would bring somebody in with a lot of experience and what they would do is they would bring their previous experience, which you would think is always good. They would bring that into the practice, and in a short period of time, and I’m not saying don’t hire people experienced by us, in a short period of time, what we would find is, they would bring their past experience, what was successful for them and what was unsuccessful for them in their past office, and they would bring it to the new office, and even though it was something that I wouldn’t be, I wouldn’t be asking for, some of the systems in the office would begin to slowly change.

Have you ever done that where you, you’ve got a situation where you decided this is how we’re going to take care of our, this is how we’re going to take care of, let’s say, recare, we’re going to do it a certain way and you have your team meeting once a month, or once a week, or however often you do it, and you’re not paying attention on a daily basis and we’ve talked about this quite a bit. If you always inspect what you expect, but as human nature is we forget to do that. And now we’re two months down the road, three months, four months, six months a year down the road, and we start asking about our recare system, and the recare system is not even close to the way that you started that recare system and the way you wanted it, you know. We wanted to send out, you know, for recare, we wanted to always pre-appoint and then we wanted to call them 72 hours ahead, and then we call it with a reminder, we sent a text, and then we call with a reminder a day before the appointment and what I found was, well, that system was totally different, and why was it different?

Dr. Bruce Baird 7:20
What was different because that person who came in that had experience in this arena, what to their own way of doing it, because that’s, you know what they were used to doing, and that can be great because sometimes it’s a new system is better than the system that you have. I understand that, but I have expectations of the way I want to run my business. Now, early on in my career, I didn’t know what I wanted, I didn’t understand it. So I hired based upon just about any category. If the person seemed like they were nice, again, early in my career, if you could, if you had a pulse, I would probably hire you. You remember some of the stories I tell about, you know, going through the team, you know, one after the other, and I joked that everybody in Granberry used to work for me. I was such a bad boss, but the truth is, as we began to see you know, as we begin to see these, and office grow grew, and I began to see the people that I was bringing in, were bringing all of their own experiences, and it ended up, I ended up hiring five people, eight people, 10 people remember, we went from a team of about four to 20 in the first year, and what I found was, it was very difficult for me to keep any system in the office because every time I’d hire somebody that the system would change, and so, and again, early in my career, I hired based on experience, and I hate to say it, but you know, if the person was very attractive, and a good communicator, well, they had the job.

Dr. Bruce Baird 8:57
Not even based on experience, and what I found was, again, the difficulty in having what I call the model practice and the model practice. I did a lot of studies, a lot of work on what I wanted my practice to be like, that was what was important to me. This is the way I want my practice to be these are the systems I want to have in my practice. It’s not to say that it’s my way or the highway like it was early in my career, but I wanted certain systems and then I would evaluate each of those systems and I would determine you know, this was not working. I would talk to friends, I would talk to mentors, I would go to courses on different systems in my practice. What we teach a Productive Dentist Academy is these are the systems is this is how, this is what you do, this is how we greet this is the new patient exam, this is how we do everything within the practice, because if things are repeatable, consistently repeatable, and you see success in a system doesn’t mean you will change certain things.

I’ll give you an example in my new patient exam. My new patient exam is always the same until I come up with a new phrase or a new way of talking about something and then I’ll place that into my one-act play, my routine and I’ll try it, if it works, great, I love it. If it doesn’t, well, then I’m back away from that now I’ll try something else in the future as they come about, but I think what became very important to me and we’ve talked about it is, when you’re building an Investment Grade Practice, or you’re building a practice that has value forever, that you want to make sure that your systems are very, very stable. My preference today is to hire somebody and for the last 15 to 18 years, is to hire somebody based on their personality, that somebody that can look in your eyes and say hello with a smile, that has, you know, has that character trait that people are drawn to, that people like, you know, you see it every day. When I go to Dell frescoes in Fort Worth, there’s three or four people there that I look at, and I go like, “Wow, what a great employee.” I go to, go here in town to several of the restaurants or I go to the bank, and I’m talking to somebody and you just see some people just there, they’re positive energy, and I know it sounds crazy, you’d love to, you know, you’d love for somebody like that to have experience, but the experience brings with them the baggage from their previous experiences, route laboratory, who I say is the best lab in the world. I always like to say that because I’ve been using the guys for 37 years. They don’t hire people with experience in a lab business, they train exactly the way they want it done, and I found that that really was very important in my own practice. I had to become a great trainer, I had to become somebody who could teach my employees exactly the way I wanted it done. Most of my team besides hygenist, obviously, but most of my team are people who had very little or no experience in the dental industry. So it to me, it’s extremely important for them to teach it my way. We’re running a play, Our play has lives, our play has certain roles and characters, and I hire for those and we have the systems in place.

Dr Bruce Baird 12:47
Now if I’m a brand new dentist just starting out, yeah, I hired somebody with Dentrix experience because that was the software, and certainly, it wasn’t when I first started because there weren’t computers when I first started, but as we get, yes, I got somebody with that, but you have to be very careful and to really train. Training for an Investment Grade Practice, in my opinion, is probably the most important thing that you can possibly do. Take these employees, teach them exactly the way you want it done, and then take the time, it might be once every month, it might be once a week, take a look at that system, take a look at that front desk, how they do things, and, and evaluate it. Give them feedback, help them become the best version of themselves the best front office person, because my goal is I want to have the best chairside, I want to have the best hygenist I want to have the best across the board, you know, in all those different areas. And is it easy? Well, if it was easy, anybody could do it, and so now you know being in dental being it a dentist and having a team of however many people you have no it’s not easy. It’s very difficult, but this has got to be an intentional activity. It’s got to be something that you do on a regular basis. And what you’ll find is, the better job you do upfront, the less worry you have in the long run, and the easier your practice is going to run and the less stress remember what happens to productivity when you’re under stress? It goes up. Well, I love it when it goes down. I love it when you’re you’re checking the things that you need to check. So anyway, that’s the podcast for today. Do you hire for experience or do you hire personality and how that person is so thanks again for the voting on the podcast and I look forward to sharing the book legendary leadership with you in the future here so next time, I’ll see you soon. Thank you for joining me for this episode of the Productive Dentist Podcast. If you found this episode helpful, make sure you subscribe, pass it along to a friend. Give us a like on iTunes and Spotify or drop me an email at don’t forget to check out other podcasts from the Productive Dentist Podcast Join me again next week for another episode of the Productive Dentist Podcast

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