An ND looks over the onboarding process with a new staff member in the practice.

How's Your Onboarding Process?

New employees thrive when you set them up for success from the very beginning. Here are some steps and thoughts you may want to consider when you're creating (or tweaking) your onboarding process.

One of your best retention strategies is to start new employees in a way that helps ensure their success and your satisfaction. It’s important to develop a solid onboarding process that gives new staff the knowledge they need and the security to ask questions when they have them. Providing appropriate resources and giving sufficient time for a new employee to learn the ropes will help your new hire be successful, because they will better understand their job responsibilities.

Onboarding Schedule

The first few days:

  • Prioritize the responsibilities of the position.
  • Review the written job description.
  • Prepare a training schedule, including time with each member of your staff.
  • Include time to review the employee handbook, policies, office procedures (these should be written out).
  • Schedule training time during non-patient time.
  • Include a timeline of expectations. For example:
    • On day 1 you will meet the staff, tour the facility, read and sign paperwork, and get comfortable at your workstation.
    • On day 7 you will be able to greet patients and answer the phone.
    • On day 30 you will be comfortable with our computer systems.
  • Conduct performance evaluations during the training process. This will allow you to measure the new hire’s progress and help them correct any issues before they become insurmountable.?

As your new employee begins work, conduct on-the-job training:

  • Explain what needs to be done
  • Explain how to do the job
  • Show how it must be done
  • Let the person do it with a trainer
  • Explain and show what was right, wrong, and how to correct
  • Repeat until mastered

Evaluate As You Go

Set up a schedule and evaluate every employee on a regular basis, at least once every six months, but more often if possible. Each evaluation interview should include a self-evaluation by the employee. Ask them to discuss their strengths and weaknesses on the job and have them provide goals and objectives for upcoming months.?

Performance evaluation reminders

  • Follow the same format for each employee
  • Include a written component. For example, you may want the employee to fill out a self-assessment on how they think they are performing.
  • Be honest and candid regarding all aspects of the job. If an employee is frequently late, say so. If they have trouble communicating with patients, don’t hesitate to discuss this.
  • Provide an opportunity for feedback by the employee, specifically comments about the evaluation by scheduling a meeting. Document in writing your performance evaluation of the employee and feedback.
  • Include a signature of both you and the employee. This will go in their file and show that you have discussed their performance and they agree with the evaluation.?
  • There should not be any surprises in an employee evaluation. If you are having an issue with an employee, address your concerns immediately. Don’t wait until a performance review to correct the problem. Keep track of when you address these concerns.

Motivating and Paying Employees

After you have employees hired and trained, your next step is to keep them motivated. This is difficult when you have few advancement opportunities and little room in your budget for pay increases. The best way to motivate employees in this circumstance is to provide them with opportunities for personal and professional development.?

Strategies for motivating and compensating employees

  • Involve employees in decisions regarding office procedures and policies. Emphasize fairness and equitable policies and administrative practices.
  • Hold regular staff meetings, at which you give employees the opportunity to discuss problems and prospects for improvement.
  • Seek professional or job-related opportunities for employees to attend local lectures and seminars. Pay for these seminars and give staff paid time off to attend. Once a year, send all staff members to a continuing education seminar or state association meeting.
  • Hold a quarterly goal-setting session for the practice and solicit employee goals. Tie achievements to monetary and other rewards.
  • Review employee performance on a quarterly basis. Have employees set individual goals that tie to your practice’s goals.
  • Find opportunities to celebrate on a regular basis. Events that involve patients and employees are morale-boosters for all.
  • Set up a team atmosphere in which all contribute and all benefit. Consider yourself the team leader. Encourage creativity within the team.

The first few days of an employee’s time with you really are key to their success; a successful employee is much more likely to enjoy their work and stay with your practice.

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