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How to Onboard New Dental Practice Employees: A Dental Office Manager Daily Checklist

By Planet DDS
August 24, 2021

“Welcome aboard!”

Those two words (or something similar) create a good vibe for a newly hired dental team member. But that “vibe” is sustained by how effectively you onboard your new dental practice employees.

No doubt, you feel relief having a position filled. And the new team member feels relieved and full of anticipation for doing their job effectively.

That gap between relief (at being hired) and the anticipation of job performance is where onboarding makes a difference. And this dental office manager daily checklist will help!

A “magic moment”

“Onboarding is a magic moment when new employees decide to stay engaged or become disengaged,” says Amy Hirsh Robinson, principal of the consulting firm The Interchange Group. “It offers an imprinting window when you can make an impression that stays with new employees for the duration of their careers.” [1]

Onboarding is a moment that cannot be wasted or relegated to a brief conversation with your dental practice manager or DSOs HR department.

In fact, the “magic” of onboarding requires a well-crafted path that introduces your new hires to your dental practice culture.

Speaking of “culture” that’s one of the core parts (among three others) of an effective onboarding process according to Talya Bauer, PhD, author of Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing Success.

Bauer highlights “four distinct levels of onboarding” (in order of effectiveness):

  • “1-Compliance—Examines legal and policy-related issues
  • 2-Clarification—Ensures new employees understand their new roles along with related expectations
  • 3-Culture—Exposes new employees to the organizational values and norms
  • 4-Connection—Connects new hires with personal relationships and information networks” [2]

Don’t miss the “moment!”

Even though you’ve filled a vital team position and you want them to get rollingit’s essential to prioritize onboarding within their daily workflows for a designated season (according to your onboarding process).

How to create an onboarding process that produces long term team engagement and effectiveness

Prioritize onboarding

Successful hiring, engaged employees, and long term team member loyalty are the results of making the onboarding process a priority. Those outcomes are difficult to achieve if onboarding is haphazard.

Studies reveal that onboarding quality is in alignment with an employee’s tenure with an organization. It’s not surprising that a new hire can sense if they’ve made a good decision to join your team by how you onboard them.

Plan your onboarding timeline

The question of how much time is required to onboard your new dental team member(s) depends on three factors.

  • 1-Their role/position
  • 2-Their experience
  • 3-Your organization (culture, workflows, etc)

” Quality onboarding for a new employee actually starts before their first day and typically lasts 90 days, but it can go as long as a full year in some circumstances. Again, it depends on various factors, so the measure of success needs to be the outcome rather than the timeframe. First, answer this question: What does an effectively onboarded, well trained, fully acclimated employee look like for your office? Then, plan accordingly to get your hire prepared to that degree of readiness for their new position.” [3]

There’s a strong level of intentionality with onboarding. Again, it’s not something you merely find time to do. Rather, it’s a process you strategically plan for.

Phase your onboarding process to cover all areas of your solo dental practice, group dental practice, or DSO

Give attention to the “small” details

Daily routines can seem trivial. But for a new employee they can create anxiety (something you want to help eliminate as soon as possible).

The details have to do with a variety of routines:

  • Storage space for their personal items
  • Their desk, workstation, specific op/exam room, etc.
  • Who will “shadow” or mentor them and for how long?
  • Will they have training videos/materials to help them learn about their role?
  • What supplies, PPE, equipment, etc. will they need to do their job?
  • Who is their direct-report, supervisor, etc.?

Keep track of their questions and stated requests. One new employee’s list might be shorter or longer depending on their role or initial interaction with you/your team.

Grow their potential as you help guide their journey

This can be a simple outlined document, a 30, 60, 90-day checklist, or a dated timeline document. Accountability is a two-way street in this instancethey’re accountable to your new employee process but you’re also accountable to provide leadership to them (not micro-manage them).

  • Review and work through all employment related documents
  • Provide a clear role description
  • Clarify their areas of responsibility and discuss expectations
  • Attach a priority to each area of their role
  • Give them positive and proactive feedback on a daily and weekly basis throughout the onboarding timeline

Remember we’re talking process here. Step by step they will assimilate into your team as you provide good leadership.

Get them acquainted with your team

Of course, not everyone is involved at the hiring level. And most have less to do with the onboarding processwith the exception of establishing affinity within the team.

  • Let your team know (via internal communication) that a new team member is coming onboard.
  • Assign a department lead or designate a team member to walk them around for personal introductions within the workflow of their first day on-site.
  • Roll-out-the-welcome-mat during their first regular team meeting (you do have those, right?). Allow team members to briefly introduce their role, etc.

Onboarding is key to setting your new dental practice employee(s) up for success. They will roll-up-their-sleeves and get to work with more confidence as you help them align with your practice’s culture.

Onboarding new dental practice employees relies on effective dental practice management resources

Planet DDS has experience with the ins-and-outs of how to run a successful dental officeincluding onboarding your team members. Our dental practice management software, Denticon, provides a streamlined system for the success strategies we just shared.

Denticon is the proven cloud-based Dental Practice Management Software in today’s market among solo private practices, private group practices, and top DSOs.

Contact us for more information about how Denticon can streamline your workflow systems and operational tasks that can help you (and your team) stay productive and successful.