We gather complete information for our new patients, but why not for our new hires?
The hiring process can be an arduous one. But hopefully my previous posts have helped to give you some new insight and direction pertaining to the many struggles this “drill” can cause. So once the background checking, “proper” reference checking, and possible drug clearance has been accomplished it’s about preparing for launch day!
Few employers consider the very first week, or even more so, that very first day for the new hire as an important time. There is some preparation involved and I have observed few who even think about it. It’s simply something many choose to overlook.
If you haven’t already presented the new team member with a thorough job description (something I stress to utilize right at the interview itself), then this must be created ASAP. Not only should it be comprehensive and thorough, but areas should be clearly defined and understood by the new employee. I even recommend that they sign off on it so that there are no confusions or misinterpretations later down the road.
An Office Manual is another important piece that should be presented no later than their start day. It should be filled with all the information that they need to enable them to move forward with a clear understanding of policies pertaining to the team and how they interface with the operations of the practice. I also highly recommend that it is closely reviewed by the dentist/owner prior to presenting it, assuring accuracy and currency.
That very first day can be awkward and uncomfortable for the new incoming team member. The patients can be bewildered wondering who this new person is. The high-anxiety and fear-based patient is often so nervous that anything new or altered can tend to make them uneasy, even if it is simply a new face. The team should be ready to warmly welcome and support the new hire immediately at the huddle.
If the group has not had ample time to learn a little about this new person, then this meeting should serve as an introduction. Perhaps you might extend the time for your gathering this first day, and I even recommend a little token of “welcome” such as a small cake, cupcake, or even a Starbuck’s for the new person. As the day begins, everyone should be aware of the fact that “Suzie” is new, doesn’t know your patients, vendors, etc. Make sure everyone is ready and prepared to introduce her personally to all that come to the office.
Another really nice touch is to post a bio of the new team member in a prominent area of the office (reception/lobby is best). I’ve actually had a practice or two create a poster-sized announcement and place it on an easel for all to see.
Taking the time to integrate team members with a process will really pay off in numerous ways. The newbie will be more comfortable and more likely to perform at her/his top, the feeling of acceptance will rise and you will find there will immediately be a bond forming within the group, encouraging them all to work efficiently and harmoniously together. Your patients will immediately accept the change, without any possible remorse for the employee they replaced.
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