Topgrading has been an invaluable tool for DenTek in recruiting and retaining high-level performers. Over the past 6 years we have blossomed into a world-class Consumer Goods company with explosive growth and great opportunities, due largely to the hard work of A Players recruited through the Topgrading process. The performance of new hires and the performance of the overall company can very much be attributed to the success of Topgrading.  It was the major change right before we started our strong growth curve of 25% annually.
- David Fox, President

Company: DenTek

No. of Employees: 75 Globally

Industry: Dental Equipment


  • Improvement from 0% to 100% hired turned out to be A Players in management.
  • 10% to 92% hired turned out to be A Players in staff jobs.
  • Small company Topgrades globally.
Topgrade at the top of the company first.

Company History: DenTek Oral Care, Inc., develops and markets oral care products sold in retail stores around the world. It is a privately held company, founded in 1984 and was owned by John Jansheski until December 2010, when John sold a majority portion to TSG Consumer Partners, a private equity firm. The company originated when John’s father, a dentist, invented an at-home tarter removal device, known to many as the dental pick. DenTek is a leader in US retail sales of manual dental tools and accessories. David Fox has been CEO since 2006.

Topgrading Methods: Four costly managerial mis-hires in a row led to Topgrading being embraced, beginning in 2005.  The emphasis has been on managerial hiring, although in 2009 Topgrading methods (such as Topgrading Snapshot) were rolled out for all employees.

Topgrading Results:  Talent reviews have indicated that the percent A Players hired has improved from about 10% to 92% for non-managers.  Managerial hiring improved from 0 out of 4 to 4 out of 4 A Players, or 100% As.

Three A Players were fired.  How did that occur? They were hired using Topgrading methods and performed as A Players for a year or longer, but eventually the company outgrew them.  Efforts were made to find a position in which they could once again perform at the A Player level, but no positions could be found.

Employee turnover has declined every year, from 37% in 2003 to 6% in 2010 and 2011.

Best Advice for Would-Be Topgraders:
1. Topgrading can seem like an overwhelming process to begin within an organization. It did to Dentek. You have to start somewhere, so begin with the most senior level hires and work your way down the organization.

2. There is no substitute for having A Players. No coach can win without them. Don’t be intimidated by the time it takes. It is far less time than you will waste if you make bad hires or have the wrong people on the job.

3. Adapt the elements that work best for your company. Get started and watch the results.

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