Practice Management: Onboarding for New Employees

Onboarding Processes

You’ve wrapped up the interviews and extended an offer of employment to your top candidate. But the hiring process isn’t done yet. Now, you need to help integrate your new employee into your practice or organization through a process known as “onboarding” (also called organizational socialization).

Onboarding, which begins before the new hire arrives and continues for the first several weeks of employment, helps new employees learn about their individual job duties as well as the practice’s rules, policies, expectations and unique culture. The goal is to provide the support and training needed to ensure that stellar jobseekers turn into confident and contributing team members.

Before the Start Date

Prepare your new hire’s workspace, set up their computer system and email account, and let existing team members know that a new employee is joining the practice. Select a staff member to act as the person’s mentor or “orientation buddy.”

Prior to the start date, reach out to your new employee and provide the following information:

  • Start date and time
  • What to bring on the first day
  • Where to park (if a parking pass is needed, provide it ahead of time)
  • Whom to ask for upon arrival
  • Meal breaks (how much time is allotted for lunch, whether there is a refrigerator and microwave available, locations of cafeteria or nearby eateries)
  • Dress code (if you use uniforms, make sure the employee’s size is available)
  • Name of immediate supervisor
  • How payroll and timesheets work (when and how paychecks are distributed, how to record hours, whether paychecks are mailed or direct deposited, etc.)
  • The First Day

    On the employee’s start date, the owner or manager should be available to greet the new employee, introduce the orientation buddy and give a tour of the practice, including where to find supplies and equipment. Introduce your newest team member to their work area, as well as the email, computer and telephone system, if appropriate.

    Provide a printed “welcome packet” that includes the job description, a welcome letter, your employee handbook, a list of contact names with email addresses and phone numbers, mission statement and any other pertinent information. If keys, keycards, IDs or business cards are necessary, they should be provided at this time as well.

    The orientation buddy should introduce the new hire to all staff members and plan to take him or her to lunch on the first day.

    This is an overwhelming amount of information for a person to absorb (especially a new hire, who is likely to be nervous), so put as much in writing as possible for future referral. Videos, training resources and software guides are also helpful.

    Providing new employees with a way to contribute from day one is a great way to help them build confidence and feel like part of the team. So give new employees a first work assignment, along with a clear explanation of the expectations and a contact to reach out to with questions. Then schedule a time to check in the next day.  

    Beyond Day One

    Over the first few days of employment, discuss and schedule any required training. Schedule meet-and-greets with managers or team members from other departments that the employee will interact with on a regular basis. The manager and/or orientation buddy should informally check in with the new employee several times each day for the first week or so to make sure things are going well, then scale back to touching base less often. At each check-in, encourage them to ask questions.

    Continue to provide work assignments with achievable, short-term goals to build confidence and help your employee become more comfortable in their new role. To reinforce your practice’s culture, explain why you do things in a specific way. For example, “We do this to make sure the patient is comfortable,” or “This helps us maintain the quality of our products.”
    At the end of the first week, the manager should take the employee to lunch to check in and see how they are faring in their new position.

    Implementing an effective onboarding program takes time and effort, but the rewards to the practice in terms of team performance and employee retention are well worth the effort.

    Cheryl Whitman is founder and CEO of aesthetic business consulting firm Beautiful Forever. Contact her at 561.299.3909, [email protected].

    Image copyright Getty Images

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