Tips for Successfully Onboarding a New Team Member

There is a consistent pain point among many dental practices right now which is attracting and keeping new team members. One part of the equation is that wages have skyrocketed, and many good team members have changed teams because their owners were not prepared to meet market-level wages. 

The other reason that there has been turnover in teams is due to the fact that onboarding and training is lacking in many offices. Just because a person knows how to perform the duties of a position doesn’t mean that they know how to do them in your office with your systems. Preparing an onboarding and training plan for each new hire will help ensure success for both the team member and ultimately your office. 

Preparing an onboarding plan for your practice may be something you haven’t done before, once you have completed it for one new hire you will be able to adjust it for any other new hires. Some suggestions for what the onboarding plan could contain would be: 

  1. An employment contract to be provided to the new hire once the position has been offered and the signed contract returned to the office prior to start date. Any licenses or certifications necessary for the position should be provided to the office by the new hire at this time as well.
  1. Have prepared for the team members first day, current copies of your office manual and j job description. If possible have ready any uniforms to be provided by the office, a printed copy of your training plan and another team member dedicated to onboarding and training.
  1.  You will want to have the new team member shadowing for one to two days before “working” in the position. This will allow them to hear the verbiage used in the office when speaking with patients, get used to the flow of the practice and start to feel comfortable before jumping in.
  1. In your training plan you will want to have each, and every task written out as an expectation of what the team member should know how to complete. You will also want to have accountability in place for who provides instruction, comprehension and the ability to complete the task on their own. Have the training team member initial that the task has been demonstrated, have the new hire initial that they comprehend it and then have a team member initial that it can be completed on their own. A common mistake here from employers is that they assume that someone knows how to complete a task so the trainer will sign off on it. You need to ensure that the task has been taught in the manner that your office completes it. 
  1. Check ins should happen with new hires at the end of each week for the first month, and then once a month for the next three months. These check ins, should include a review of the training plan and the progress, as well as any feedback you wish to present. Asking a new hire “On a scale of 1 to 10 how would say this week went?” and then when they answer, ask “What would it have taken to make it a 10?” The information they provide you with will help you see where more support may be needed. You can also provide feedback in the same manner to them, you will find that truthful communication will help with onboarding.

It may seem like a daunting task to set up this type of system for new hires but once you have set it up once it can be repeated over again with just a few minor adjustments. You will find that onboarding is much smoother when you have planned and prepared with accountability built in. 

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