Across the board, ask any businessperson which part of business is the most challenging and one resounding response will come back: EMPLOYEES! It is a general complaint and it covers a multitude of iniquities on the part of the employee and on the part of the employer. When I say the employees cause problems in the hiring process, I mean they must take responsibility for how well and how honestly they represent themselves on paper and during interviews. When I say employers can cause problems in the hiring process, I mean they must take responsibility for how well and how honestly they present the culture of the workplace.
The employees’ part of the hiring equation will not be discussed here, because employers -the intended readers of this blog- cannot control any part of what applicants decide to write in a résumé or to say in interviews. What employees can do is to articulate their businesses’ customary practices and the underlying values of those practices.
Needless to say, what happens in a dental practice is not subjected to the corrosive effects of outsourcing seen in Ford or General Motors, but the industry has been in a fairly precipitous rate of change over the last couple of decades. Consider how much has changed in restorative dentistry based on technological breakthroughs in imaging, making impressions, introduction of titanium and other advanced materials related to just implantation over the last 40 years. It has changed from a rarified and costly procedure to a common offering in a large number of practices. However, the basic need has not changed and neither has the underlying value that a dental practice has espoused by offering the service: a permanently restored mouth that allows countless patients recover from the effects of injury and disease, resulting in a vastly improved life for the patient.
Practitioners need to commit to paper the values on which they justify the existence of their practices, such as the abovementioned one. By articulating these values that form the business culture from the very beginning of the first interview, employers let applicants know what is expected of them in the operation and they will know why the practice does what it does. Employees who are not aware of those values will never truly understand and buy-into the way the office works. Also, if there is something an applicant cannot agree to relating to the practice’s culture, then it is better for the employer know immediately, rather than to find out later.
The last point that I would like to make is that the description of a business’ culture has a way of helping an employer have a point of reference from which an applicant’s potential for success can be assessed. Though the process may slow down how quickly a new person is hired to the team, it will produce better staff members who are better suited for long term satisfaction for both the employer and the employee.
I leave you with a few key questions Brent Gleeson offer his is INC article “The 1 Thing All Great Bosses Think About During Job Interviews” (https://www.inc.com/brent-gleeson/how-important-is-culture-fit-for-employee-retention.html).
- Why do you believe you are the best candidate to work here, outside of your technical expertise?
- From what you have seen, how would you describe this company’s culture?
- How would you describe the culture of your previous workplace? How well do you believe you fit in?
- What’s most important to you about an ideal workplace environment?
Gleeson’s questions cut right to the heart of the question about how aware the applicant is of an operation’s culture, and how compatible the future employee would be working in that specific business culture.
In the end, the articulation of the business culture creates a level of uniformity of behavior, expectation and symbiotic cohesion for all employees. But until these pillar beliefs are written down and understood and accepted by the staff, the practice will remain rudderless and always under threat of internal dissention. Once everyone is on the same page, applicants who do not fit into the system become easier to identify and to avoid.