Fighting decay to retain employees

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On-site dry cleaning services. Soccer fields. High-tech gyms. In the Houston market, you have to be competitive and a little creative with your perks to recruit and retain top talent, especially in the energy industry.

Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX) is a master at this game. So much so, that the oil giant is adding an in-house dentist at its campus. Houston-based Dent-Well converted a 660-square-foot conference room on the company’s first floor at its interim headquarters at Pinnacle Westchase with great success, and will also be included at Philips 66’s new building in the Westchase District.

“It opened in mid-February and they have already seen 211 patient at the Phillips 66 Dental Office,” said Charles Lusk, CEO of Onsite Solutions, a relatively new company that sets up and manages full-service dental offices on corporate campuses.

Lusk’s partner in the venture is Dr. Scott Coleman, who has a dental practice on San Felipe Road.
In November, Phillips 66 broke ground on a new 1.1 million-square-foot corporate campus, which includes a rooftop running track, a soccer field, plans for several dining options and space for a 1,000-square-foot on-site dental office.
Dent-Well is the only company in the country to focus on turnkey, corporate dental practices, Lusk said.
“It’s the wave of the future. Some groups offer mobile clinics that set up in the parking lot, but who would want to use that?” said Lusk, a former investor at Goldman Sachs. “Our offices are full-service and very luxurious.”

Dent-Well opened its first office a year and a half ago at the University of Houston for employees and students. Phillips 66 was second, and Technique USA Inc. was third. The group handles the entire program, from determining a location, to hiring dental staff, to providing metrics to the company’s human resources department on how many people are using the service and such.

“Some corporations are just more innovative than others. They are doing it because they know their competitors are going to do it,” Lusk said. “Phillips 66 is very forward-thinking and wanted to get up in front of the trend.”

He is currently negotiating with eight other Houston-area companies. He is also looking to expand into other major Texas markets such as Dallas, San Antonio and Austin, as well as large cities throughout the country. Lusk would not give details on how much it costs to set up or manage a practice.

Having a dental office on site for employees and their families to use is convenient for staff and lucrative for employers, Lusk said.
“The reality of the matter is an employee can spend four hours of his or her day for one dental appointment, when you factor in drive-time. It’s not conducive to a good work day,” he said. “By having an office on site, you’re increasing productivity as well as the likelihood that someone will even go to the dentist, which makes for a healthier person.”

Jenny Agee-Aldridge

Houston Business Journal

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