Placing People First

Mauren MacInnis has helped create a people-centered, future-focused culture at Dentsply Sirona

Dentsply Sirona creates dental equipment and consumables that are marketed in more than 120 countries. But according to Maureen MacInnis, senior vice president and chief human resources officer, its products are not the only thing that makes the company unique. Its key feature, according to MacInnis: its people. “People talk about products and innovating products, and those are incredibly important. But great products start with great people,” she says.

Dentsply Sirona’s business model requires a focus on dental professionals and patients around the world, who have a wide variety of needs and require easy access to care. “It’s rare to be part of defining an industry, and our employees are driving that,” MacInnis says. “This means not only offering the best development internally, but also externally by supporting dentists in their ongoing training and clinical education. Everyone grows professionally. Everyone focuses on the future. Our living mission says: “Empowering dental professionals to provide better, safer, faster, dental care.”

Maureen MacInnis, SVP, CHRO at Dentsply Sirona

MacInnis and the other members of Dentsply Sirona’s worldwide HR team know that, as HR leaders, developing talent and leadership brings results. “You have to know what will make your business thrive, and you need to find ways you can build value and grow,” she explains. “At the same time, you need to create and sustain a winning culture that keeps people motivated, collaborative, engaged, and proud.”

Focusing on education, talent, and culture are major work for any organization, but in September 2015, another massive undertaking was added to MacInnis’s plate when Dentsply and Sirona announced their intent to merge. The combined HR teams rapidly went to work to unify the organization. The deal closed on February 29, 2016— a rapid approval process, especially for a global enterprise. Merging two separate cultures and practices could have been a protracted and painful process, but MacInnis says it was just the opposite. “On day one, we came out with a core vision and shared values, and made them part of introducing our new company to the world. We were two market leaders with over one hundred years of experience in dentistry—and we combined in record time. We were driven by the energy of knowing what we could create for our customers.”

“You need to create and sustain a winning culture that keeps people motivated, collaborative, engaged, and proud.”

The expanded global HR team realized an important benefit of an operational decision made six years earlier – the implementation of an enterprise-wide HR software. “This common platform gave us the ability to speak to our leaders in terms of measures that directly linked their people and their business performance,” MacInnis explains. “It raised our credibility as an HR team while also allowing us to focus where we were most needed.” The software allowed connection and access to employees around the globe, and the HR team could recognize and develop talent in a broader, deeper way. “That’s what really started us on the path to creating our learning-centered culture,” MacInnis says.

MacInnis and the HR team don’t just encourage a culture of learning and development: they actively engage in those practices themselves. Throughout Dentsply Sirona, MacInnis encourages everyone to keep three things in mind: encourage people to ask for clarity about their roles; create an environment in which everyone can be successful; and develop a culture of trust. “Everything is based on trust,” she says. “You have to extend trust to get it, and it happens over time.” This empathetic, people-first philosophy has helped make MacInnis the leader she is today. “I’ve learned more from my colleagues than I could ever have imagined,” MacInnis says. “I’m incredibly grateful. I’m a better leader because of them.”