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a blog by Chris Barrow

The strange world of associate recruitment and retention (and a word about lab techs)

We certainly do live in interesting times.

The recruitment and retention crisis deepens and, as it does so, produces some extraordinary stories:

  • The associate interviewee who finished by asking the Principal for a written reference from any former team member;

  • The associate interviewee who sent in a list of preferred materials providers with a request that stocks were ready for their first day;

  • The associate interviewee who insisted on a full diary from day one PLUS a front-facing surgery that would be permanently allocated for their use;

  • The associate interviewee who forwarded their own contract before the meeting;

  • The established NHS associate(s) who refuse to see patients once they have hit their 60% threshold "because they aren't getting paid to do any more" and tell the patients that they will only treat them privately.

Let me balance this by saying that I hear many stories about local heroes, associates who go the extra mile in everything they do.

However, it's part of my job to spot trends and, as a new cohort of dentists enter the landscape, it is important to note that expectations amongst the general associate population are on the rise.

You had better be ready to pay more for the best people - equally to bite your lip when some of the requests for pampering come in.

p.s. changing the subject - I was told yesterday that 30% of dental labs did not reopen after lockdown and will never reappear. In 1958 there were 47 places in the UK where you could learn to be a lab tech - there are now 3 (and not one of them teaches digital).

Associates, nurses, lab techs - you name it.

Scarcity creates demand.

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