Kevin Klagos has a simple formula for success in dentistry: Take care of your employees and they will reflect that same care with their patients.
“The more we engage our employees, support them, provide work-life balance, mentor them, teach them, provide them the tools they need to do the job, the better they are at taking care of our patients,” said Klagos, chief financial officer at First Choice Dental Group.
Started in Madison in 1993 with three clinics, First Choice has expanded to 12 locations staffed by 198 employees.
“Patients don’t go home and tell their spouse, ‘Wow, I had a great root canal,’” Klagos said. “But they will go home and say, ‘Wow, the assistant and doctor that did my root canal were tremendous – what nice people.’”
Leadership encourages employee outings and social events, from after-work dinners to bowling tournaments to cooking and painting classes, dinner cruises and theater productions, said Danielle Turner, First Choice’s director of operations.
“We want our employees to enjoy coming to work, and enjoy working with the people around them,” said Turner, adding that an annual all-staff function gives staff a chance to celebrate the past year’s accomplishments and look ahead to the coming year.
First Choice offers an optional four-day work week and partners with local businesses to provide employee discounts.
Also popular is a dental benefit that grows with an employee’s tenure and includes their immediate family. At a certain point in their career, it also includes extended family on a more basic level, said Tannah Flora, human resources director at First Choice.
First Choice also offers flexibility for employees. For example, Flora said the firm tries to accommodate dental assistants going to school to become hygienists by flexing their hours and providing part-time hours.
Klagos likened work-life balance to trying to climb two ladders, one professional and one personal. “If your work life is up here and your personal life is down there, you can’t make progress,” he said. “We want to provide avenues for people to walk up together.”
In this Series
- 27 updates