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training a staff member

A Training Plan Can Create a Smooth Transition, Has Long-lasting Impact and Reduces Stress

A well-designed training plan creates a smooth transition for everyone involved. Successful training is more than reading manuals and learning where the copier paper is stored; it should also include creating a safe space for the new employee to learn and grow into their role.

You’ve hired a new employee, and now you need to train them. How long and detailed should training be? Certainly, an employee can be a "self-starter," but you must provide direction so the job is performed the way you want it to be.

Accountabilities, Expectations and Goals

You probably discussed job accountabilities, as well as expectations and goals, during the interview process. Now that they’ve joined the team, expand on these topics. Discuss specific responsibilities and what you expect. Help your employee become part of the team by sharing your goals for the position and for the practice.

Provide a document that lays out who the employee will be reporting to, what training will occur, and when the training should be completed. For example, if you want your employee to be able to perform certain functions by a specific date, state that clearly, and explain how they will be supported as they learn those functions through reading or hands-on training, for example.

Additionally, be sure to clarify the roles and responsibilities of other staff members so it’s clear who does what, and who the new employee can turn to with questions about a specific business topic or task.

Complete Paperwork

Make sure your new employee receives all the necessary paperwork on his or her first day, and provide them with a deadline to complete the forms (a week is reasonable for most forms). These may include tax withholding forms, patient confidentiality agreements, and paperwork to initiate benefits, if you offer them.

Explain any important practice policies, such as those relating to patient confidentiality and compliance with HIPAA.

New employees should also receive information about required sexual harassment training – how it’s handled and when it must be completed.

Review Office Manuals

During a new employee’s first few days, set aside time to review your office manuals. These manuals help alleviate confusion and conflict in the office. Employees can refer to the written materials and will be less likely to have unanswered questions about the details of the job. Ultimately, this will save you time, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your practice.

Most offices have these manuals:

  • Employee Manual
  • Office Procedures Manual
  • HIPAA Compliance Manual

Meet Regularly with New Employees

Each person is different, so be flexible in the amount of guidance the new hire needs. Though it may seem like the new employee is catching on, plan to touch base with him or her every day for the first two weeks. The time you spend now can save hours later.

After the initial two weeks, check in once a week. Ask not only about his or her job responsibilities, but also how they feel they "fit" within the office.

Within 90 days, your new employee should be comfortable with essential responsibilities, and within six months, fully up to speed. Provide ongoing training and resources to help your employees maximize their potential contribution to the success of the practice.

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