Niamh has joined Dentex Health recently and in just four months the Practice Manager at Dental Solutions is confident to say that Dentex is not like other corporate groups. We’d like to take this opportunity to talk about recruitment at Dentex and Niamh’s experience so far.
By now, we are more or less familiar with the amount of new safety protocols dental practices have put in place due to COVID-19. However, behind the scenes, many other processes were adjusted to keep the practices up and running. Alongside compliance and clinical challenges, Dentex has continued to support over 80 practices in matters including recruiting staff amid a pandemic. Private Dentistry spoke to Rebecca Higson, Recruitment Manager at Dentex, and Niamh Collins – Practice Manager at Dental Solutions – about their experiences and views on recruitment in dentistry.
Niamh has been with Dentex just a few months as Practice Manager at Dental Solutions, in Cheshire. She joined the group amid the COVID-19 pandemic, so has a valuable and unique experience to share of transitioning between jobs, and also hands on recruitment for the practice since joining Dentex.
Niamh (27) embarked upon her dental nurse apprenticeship in 2017 and completed it in under a year. She then worked as a dental nurse with some treatment coordination responsibilities, and covered emergency shifts in the evenings. Dentex saw her potential and has given her the opportunity to step up into a management position; now in her fourth year in the dental industry she has progressed to Practice Manager.
With the global pandemic and several changes to the way practices operate, Niamh has had a lot to learn in a short time. ‘I have had a lot of Teams calls and webinars and lots of training with the business development manager and the compliance manager face to face’, said Niamh. Typically, a lot of the training and company communication is delivered remotely which made it a relatively seamless process when everything moved online over the last year.
Niamh added: ‘When I first applied, I had no major expectations, and the experience has been fantastic. We’ve been at full capacity in the practice since June last year, as Dentex got the filtration systems we needed quickly, and they sourced all the PPE equipment we would need. The compliance team worked out and understood the new operating procedures, enabling us to operate at full capacity, out with the extra PPE and cleaning and so on.’
Niamh concluded saying: ‘My experience at Dentex has been amazing. Everyone has been fantastic. The response time to issues from head office is very fast. So, I am quite pleased I have put myself in a position to start a career with Dentex.’
Dentex’s culture and values are felt by every member
Dentex focuses on the freedom that practices have. A unique benefit of the Dentex way is that practices retain their autonomy and branding. Upon joining the group, Dentex do not rebrand practices, and are heavily focused on collaboration and transparent communication. ‘That’s why people come to us, as the practice can benefit from the support and infrastructure of an established dental corporate, without losing their identity and ways of working’, said Rebecca Higson, Recruitment Manager at Dentex.
Niamh added: ‘It was the values of the company that initially attracted me to the company. And having worked here now for four months, I can see these values prominently throughout the business. ’I have worked in corporates previously and I know some of the challenges a nurse faces in that environment. I heard good things about the group and have had a completely different experience to what I would have expected from a corporate. There is a stigma attached to being a corporate company in dentistry and I think that Dentex has broken away from that stigma and broken away from how corporates are viewed – and that is very attractive to staff, because it is a different experience to what dental staff are used to.’
Dentex aims to remain competitive in the market. The company pride themselves in offering progression and development to their people. By not being a traditional corporate model, Dentex compete on benefits and culture. Rebecca said about the culture and the Dentex USP: ‘As a young company, the industry is still discovering our special way of working, and once you learn about Dentex, or if you work with Dentex, you can see that the freedoms are clear and really permeate the business.’
Investing in recruitment, training, and development
Rebecca added – ‘Throughout the pandemic, practices were supported not only with recruitment but also matters related to the furlough scheme and staff shortages. The best thing about the dental industry is it is reasonably recession proof; you cannot take dentistry online, indeed, Dentex was able to continue to grow its business during the COVID-19 restrictions’. Due to its business model, Dentex was able to provide all the support needed so practices could reopen when restrictions lifted in June 2020, allowing all the dental practices to get back to business in their full capacity.
Last month Dentex were thrilled to launch a recruitment platform and careers website. The hiring manager can seamlessly upload a job opportunity to the platform and it automatically populates the different job boards Dentex uses for recruiting staff. Applicants are filtered to one platform, allowing Rebecca and the hiring managers to engage with candidates and schedule interviews very easily. From the candidate’s perspective, they will have a candidate portal and can see the progress of their application from beginning to end. The new recruitment platform is an exciting step in the development of the careers function at Dentex, and an opportunity to secure the top talent in the industry.
Dentex is also focusing on apprenticeships. Making the most of the government led apprenticeship levy initiative, they aim to grow their talent from within and give people the opportunity to join the industry and progress their career. As an example, Niamh added: ‘The training programme for my new member of staff is continuing her apprenticeship with the local college to ensure there is no break or duplication of training.’ Many Dentex practices have existing strong links with local colleges and training establishments and following the Dentex core business of enabling practices to work freely, these continue to be used.
As well as the apprenticeship initiative, the group invests in training programs that support the sharing of clinical expertise across the Dentex group and enable dentists to continue to develop their careers and their practices. Dentex is very focused on training and development centrally and at practice level. And, as I have mentioned in previous articles, Dentex has developed clearly defined and achievable career pathways for all different staff cohorts.
Thanks to the Dentex business model and investment in career and development, Niamh felt confident to say: ‘Everyone has been supportive here at Dentex and the career structure is present to help me grow. Going forward, I’m confident enough to say that I do not want to stop at practice manager and I’m in the right place to draw my future.’
This entry was posted in Private Dentistry in May 2021