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A Connecticut dentist is taking a tech-enabled approach to helping dental practices find temporary staffers.
Imagine it’s 5 a.m. and the fifth day in a row of bad winter weather. You awake to the find in the staff SMS chain that someone’s car has broken down, or they’re calling out sick, or whatever. The reason is not important.
What is important is that the scramble now begins to find someone to cover, on short notice, for the absent staff member. And there’s no comfort knowing that the pain of that scramble is universal throughout the dental practice world.
That’s the exact scenario Daniel Faber, DMD, experienced in February 2015. It was a horrible winter in the northeast, and his Connecticut-based practice was spared no mercy. He contacted the usual temp agencies and crossed his fingers. He also found himself asking, “Why isn’t there a button for this?”
From that angst, Faber developed Fillinz.com.
“It’s more than a company or a service,” Faber explains. “It’s a movement that is changing the way practices view and hire their valuable team.”
Filling a Need
Faber describes Fillinz as an instant, online, temp-staffing platform. It’s simple to use, and enables dental offices to conveniently search for and request available temps based on the time needed and the candidates’ detailed profiles.
“Staffing is by far the most difficult part to manage in a dental practice,” Faber says. “This is always a problem that comes up. Someone calls in sick, someone just leaves one day and you need to replace them. And the traditional agencies, temp agencies, or even permanent staffing agencies, are kind of antiquated.”
He believes the Fillinz concept is catching on because we live in a day and age of instant gratification. It’s about the ability to have choice; the ability to do things easier simply because you can. And he believes that most of the people in dental practices who are responsible for finding a fill-in at a moment’s notice are younger staff members who are well attuned to using technology to accomplish tasks.
“People just feel this is a better way to do things compared to a traditional temp agency,” Faber says.
Both Sides Now
Faber says that what sets Fillinz apart is that it allows both sides of the equation, the dental office and the temp, to experience advantages they are not normally afforded. For example, when individuals register on the Fillinz site they have unprecedented autonomy, control and opportunity to be available for every job they want, where they want, and for how much pay they want.
“There’s no agency middleman to play favorites and block an opportunity for a job,” Faber says. “I had a hygienist who signed on with a local temp agency. She was very qualified, but she never got a job. And the reason is because you had a human being at the temp agency playing favorites.”
That left the hygienist, and likely many others, out in the cold. But Fillinz, Faber explains, creates an equal playing field. And it does so with a process that happens effortlessly on a computer or mobile device for about one-half the typical cost dental offices pay agencies. That cost is a $25 per day fee to the dental practice for every temp brought in. There is no cost to the temporary personnel to register.
“We believe that temps represent a valuable tool for dentists and other businesses where a permanent part-time employee is not practical or logical,” Faber says.
But his goal for Fillinz is much broader than the temp marketplace. Faber hopes to give dental practices and other businesses a resource to discover permanent employees.
“They can, for lack of a better term, ‘try before they buy,’” he explains. “We see Fillinz as a career move for a fill-in worker providing ultimate career control and flexibility. And it’s definitely a service for the office to have control, to have choice, and to see everyone who’s available.”
It’s also an opportunity for individuals to make a career for themselves as a fill-in.
“If you want flexibility in your life, if you don’t want a permanent job five days a week, you can work in this fashion,” Faber says.
Just By Chance
Faber says he came upon dentistry as a career almost by chance. He originally went to college for architecture and became more interested in the sciences. He began exploring medicine and volunteering at various hospitals and other locations. But it was a dental residency close to his school where he fell in love.
“I love the interaction with patients and obviously all the other things I can do with my hands and just the whole vibe of what dentistry had to offer versus medicine, which seemed a little more impersonal,” Faber explains.
Together with partner Rich Malek, DMD, they started the Harmony Dental Group in Norwalk, CT in 2005. But in August 2015 Faber began to sell his shares in the practice.
“I still practice dentistry,” Faber says. “I still do it a few times a week, but I wanted to dedicate a lot of time to Fillinz. I really felt strongly about what we were doing and wanted to make that transition. There were a lot of other things I wanted to do, and Fillinz gave me that.”
Faber says that Fillinz has the ability to spread out nationally because, as opposed to a traditional agency with a large infrastructure, Fillinz can grow more easily.
“We really have the ability to expand, to touch every business, every dental practice,” he says. “We have that ability because we do not have a high overhead compared to the traditional business model.”
How is Faber spreading the word? He says it’s a trade secret—simple, but not typical.
“It’s kind of a secret sauce that we developed,” he says. “We’re already in 22 states across the country and we’re expanding rapidly. And our goal is to have more people learn about us. Because I haven’t met anybody yet who said this is stupid.”