SELLOUT: How to Build a Thriving Dental Practice in the Suburbs

Kris Dunn Benefits, Kris Dunn, Profiles

This story on how (some) male employees are pigs is true.  The names have been changed…well… because I’m sharing it here.

We changed dental providers at Kinetix.  I was due for a checkup and a crown, and had to cancel the last couple of times out.  I got that feeling (no pain, just gut instinct) that if I didn’t take care of it, I’d been looking at a #rootcanal.

So – first step in scheduling an appointment two weeks ago was to look up my dentist and see if he was part of the network of the new dental provider at my company.  For some reason, I checked the dentist website instead of the provider directory, and BAM!  I was immediately reminded of a story from a company I worked for as an HR pro between 5-15 years ago.

Here’s the little story I’ve got to tell, about 3 Financial Analysts you don’t know so well:

Me: (walking into an office where 3 Financial Analysts I know are huddled around a monitor):  What’s up Girls?

Tim: You don’t want to know – walk away.

Me:  Really… You know I can’t walk away when you say it like that. (I walk around to see the screen)

Me:  What’s this you’re looking at?

John:  It’s the dentist we all go to.  The website lists pictures and names for all the dental hygienists.

Me:  Unusual, but if you go there and are looking at the site, it must be good marketing.

Tim:  That’s not all.  We go through the site every January and stack rank them on attractiveness level – then we do a spreadsheet to do the cumulative rankings.  Then, all 3 of us put $20 in a pot for each 6-month checkup, and whoever has the highest score of the hygienist that is with the dentist at our appointments (the highest total based on the cumulative rankings of attractiveness) at the end of the year wins the pot.

Me:  Two observations and one question.  First, you’re pigs.  Second, you’re geeks – a spreadsheet for this?  Question – how do you know someone wouldn’t lie about who handled them on the visit?

John:  We send one of us with the guy to confirm.  The hygienist has to come out and call the name and is visible for about 5 seconds.

Me:  (Stunned at what listing dental hygienists on the website has created in the field) Then a statement – “You guys are idiots”.

So that’s it.  Finance jockeys running a march madness pool around trips to the dentists.  Madness.  Perhaps an evil form of marketing genius by the dental practice.

Does this:

a) encourage great dental care,
b) serve as an early indicator what’s going to happen to these guys later in their careers related to harassment charges,
c) do exactly what the suburban dentist wanted it to do, even if it went a bit further than most of us would go, or
d) do all of the above?

I got the crown on Friday.  For those of you wondering, as luck would have it my hygienist was named Tom.  Not by request.

Kris Dunn

Kris Dunn is a Partner and CHRO at Kinetix, a national RPO firm for growth companies headquartered in Atlanta. He’s also the founder Fistful of Talent (founded in 2008) and The HR Capitalist (2007) – and has written over 70 feature columns at Workforce Management magazine. Prior to his investment at Kinetix, Kris served in HR leadership roles at DAXKO, Charter and Cingular. In his spare time, KD hits the road as a speaker and gives the world what it needs – pop culture references linked to Human Capital street smarts.