HIRING FOR SUCCESS: Part 3 – You’re Hired, Now What?


In Part 1 and 2 of this series, I reviewed the importance of practice culture and the intricate moving parts of interviewing from both the candidate and employer perspectives. In the series final part 3, I share with you ways to successfully onboard a new hire so that both employer and new employee enjoy a mutually rewarding relationship that lasts.

First, the disclaimer ~ I’ve gathered these tips from my own personal experience, research I’ve done and resources I’ve explored.  This is not meant as an all-inclusive list, but rather a spark to ignite further exploration with your own team on how you can create onboarding success in your own practice.

Congratulations!  You were chosen to fulfill the position you interviewed for and accepted the offer.  Now all you need to do is show up and follow along, right?  Not so fast.  Hopefully, you did your homework and discovered that this practice is different, which is one of the reasons you wanted to be a part of this team.  And what makes them different than a majority of dental practices across the country?  This practice actually has a New Team Member Onboarding Plan that consists of the following elements:

The Offer Letter ~ there’s no denying the excitement when you receive the call and hear, “You’re hired!  Report to our office on Monday to fill out paperwork, be sure to bring your license and social security card and we’ll see you then!” Now I want you to imagine getting an exciting offer call AND receiving a letter the next day with the offer in writing, clearly spelling out what you, as a new employee, can expect in the way of salary, benefits, expectations and an onboarding plan.  This is a sign that you’ve joined a practice that wants you to succeed and means it.

As an employer, you want to welcome your newest team member in the best possible way that will benefit you both in the long run.  A simple and straightforward onboarding plan can ease the anxiety of the new hire as well as eliminate the questions that inevitably arise such as ‘where do I park?’, ‘where should I put my things?’ and ‘who do I ask for on my first day?’  It will also minimize the stress on the current team because everyone will know what’s happening in the first 90 days.

Orientation & Training Schedule ~ According to Leah Branham of The Center for Association Leadership, about 35 percent of workers quit in the first six months, and 6 out of 10 turnovers begin with some sort of post-hire discovery – such as the job or the workplace wasn’t what they expected or were led to believe.  You can avoid this statistic by having an onboarding plan that includes a detailed schedule and checklist to create a seamless integration from new hire to engaged team member.  Here are some tips to incorporate into the plan:

  • Orientation ~ Orientation is exactly what it means, orienting this person to her new surroundings. Prepare for this session to be about one work week to get the person comfortable.  Assign a mentor who will guide the new hire throughout the orientation and training process.
  • Training Schedule ~ Notice I didn’t call this a “Probationary Period”. That language has many different HR implications, not to mention a negative connotation. This part of the process is where the person begins to understand and function in her new role. This includes clearly defining expectations and specific responsibilities with regular one-on-one check-ins with a mentor to avoid the dreaded response of “but this is how I always did it in my old job”.
  • Formal progress meetings ~ traditionally, these are on days 30, 60, 90.   From experience, I find Day 14, Day 45, and Day 75 to be better indicators of progress and can confidently say you will know before Day 45 if this person is a good fit for the team, provided there has been sufficient training and corrective action taken along the way.  Determine a progress schedule that works best for your practice.  A detailed training plan will also keep the employer and the new hire on track so there are no surprises if it doesn’t work out.
  • Remember, communication is a two-way street. If you’re a new team member, you owe it to yourself to fully understand what’s expected of you and ask for help when you’re not sure.  And doctors, it’s your responsibility to praise what the new person is doing right as much as identifying where corrective action can be taken.  As human beings, we all want to know how well we are doing in our jobs.

And what happens after 90 days?  Here’s a hint: the best practices know that onboarding never ends.  Many team members I’ve met over the years had never had an annual review, let alone any formal sit down with their doctor during or after being hired.  “I guess if [the doctor] didn’t tell me I was doing something wrong, everything is okay,” was the most common reason given.  Not helping the situation was the doctor’s reluctance to have such a meeting.  “It’s just not my thing. I never know what to say,” was what many doctors told me.  Those excuses are no longer acceptable to highly engaged and performing team members.  It’s also the dividing difference between extraordinary teams and average ones.  Doctors, if you’re not comfortable with annual performance reviews, seek out resources to get comfortable!  I promise you it’s not that difficult and the return on your people investment will be tenfold.

The bottom line: don’t let your practice be a statistic! Create a culture that attracts high performing team members through a shared vision and values.  Involve the current team in the hiring process to ensure multiple opportunities to make an assessment.  Once you find a good match, protect your hiring investment by having a clearly defined onboarding plan to create a seamless transition from new hire to highly engaged team member.  And last but not least, continually seek out opportunities to encourage and inspire your team to be the extraordinary people you know that they are.  After all, you hired them.

Here’s to your hiring success!

For sample onboarding plans and checklists to get you started, email me at robyn@yourdentalpracticecoach.com

Robyn Reis

Robyn Reis

Robyn began her dental career in 1998 as a marketing and communications director for a large group practice, and instantly fell in love with the world of dentistry. She has spent every waking moment since learning, growing and collaborating with dentists and their teams utilizing her expertise in all aspects of dental practice management, marketing, communications, HR, continuing education, and laboratory sales. Robyn's personal goals are to make a difference in someone's life every single day and to give the best of herself to those around her. Robyn and her family live and play in Northeast Ohio.