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a blog by Chris Barrow

More on recruitment and retention

10 practice owners sat around the board room table last Friday in Bristol and every one of them was asked "what are the top 3 challenges facing you at the moment?"

All of them included "recruitment and retention" in their list.

The majority are struggling to find new people to work in any capacity within their businesses and to cope with increasing demand from patients (there is no evidence amongst my clients of any slow down in demand due to the economic conditions).

Some of them are also challenged by existing team members whose performance and/or behaviour are off brand. That, unfortunately, is frequently similar to being a bomb disposal expert - one false move.....

I've given a lot of thought to the issue of recruitment and retention and I'm wondering if it's a combination of post-pandemic burn out ("I just don't want to work that hard anymore") and a seasonal fluctuation ("I'm going to enjoy the summer and start thinking seriously again about work when the Autumn begins").

It is counter-intuitive that everyone is complaining about their increased cost of living and yet motivated employees are harder to spot.

Maybe the media have actually just beaten the majority into submission with their tirade of "crises".

To repeat - I have clients who are succeeding at recruitment (in spite of Friday's feedback) - the common denominator being a CULTURE that attracts the right people.

Here's a simple example from one of those clients, a team page on a practice website designed by Rachel Barrow. Neil and Bex Cooper at Crossbank have built a world-class dental business in Cumbria, creating an environment in which people are doing their best work.

Don't get me wrong here - team members aren't just showing up in Kendal, there is still plenty of hard work to do in finding them - because recruitment is no different from new patient acquisition:

  • Internal marketing (asking your patients to refer candidates for jobs);

  • Inbound marketing (becoming the place that people find when they are searching for a job online);

  • External marketing (selected digital recruitment advertising);

  • Good first digital connection;

  • Good first human connection;

  • An excellent interview process;

  • Presentation of a compelling vision of the difference that working with you will make;

  • Conversion - getting the candidate to "yes";

  • Delivery - onboarding the new team member and mentoring.

Recruitment and retention are as important as new patient acquisition and require the same degree of systemisation, process, consistency and resilience.

You also need to be a disruptor - doing things differently.

I have a sneaking suspicion that, come September, things are going to get a little easier.

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