Onboarding For Success

  • February 2013
  • Posted By Debbie Ellard

Onboarding New Employees For Success

Even the most qualified person with the made to order personality can fail your expectations if they are not brought on board with all the tools and training necessary to execute the position.

Hire For Fit Or Personality?
Many offices have the people they need but frequently they are not installed in the right position for their personality style. This is not a deal breaker but can be a barrier to implementing new protocols. When people are applying for an open position the interviewer should be capable of determining the primary personality style. Someone hardwired to be detail oriented and conscientious with the ability and preference to work quietly on a task would be better suited to managing accounts receivable and insurance than answering the phone and greeting patients. Hire for fit over experience. If the candidate is a good fit personally they will have no trouble picking up on the details of the position.

Every employee, new or not, needs to know what is expected of them. They need to have the proper equipment and support to execute their position. They need to have feedback, support and praise for their efforts. If your current team did not have a proper onboarding, it is not too late to take the time to reboot your systems.

Begin With The Paperwork
What comes first? The paperwork. Have the appropriate paperwork available that first day. This includes:

  •  Your state and federal W4 forms
  • Any payroll auto deposit forms
  • The state I-9 Employee form for identification
  • New Hire information form

*New hire forms can be accessed on
They should be told when pay periods start and end and the frequency of payroll.

Knowing your new employee’s strengths and weaknesses will help you plan their goals for growth. The following should be given:

  • Interpersonal skills assessment
  • Computer management skills assessment
  • DiSC Personality Profile assessment*

Provide Your Mission Statement
You new employee needs to know about your practice. The mission statement of the office should come first. What is the culture of this office? Is it a patient centered practice that centers on Always going out of our way to deliver a value added experience? Are you more clinically centered with the main focus being the pride in delivering edification to the doctor, his abilities and commitment to excellence? Both are great! There are others. The important issue is to orient the new employee to your culture.

Introduce The Doctor(s)
Very soon your new team member will be released to their position. They will encounter questions that seem so very basic yet many times we haven’t thought to prepare them. Be sure to go over the basics of the doctor(s) background as well as the hygienist(s). This should include:

  • Where the undergraduate degree was achieved
  • Where the DDS degree was achieved
  • Where the hygiene degree was achieved
  • Any other post graduate degrees
  • What professional associations are they members of
  • Where the doctor(s) was raised
  • Married?
  • Number of children
  • Hobbies

Hardware Orientation
Regardless of the position, there will be hardware and equipment to introduce. All employees will need training on the following:

  • Phone system

*If they are not trained to answer the phone they should NEVER answer the phone. Have your semantics firmly installed with all employees. 

  • Computer access and care
  • Time clock

The position specific equipment and tools should be introduced at this point. Show the locations of the necessary equipment. Care of each should be reviewed and well documented instructions for easy reference should be made available to the employee.

Practice Management Software
Do not make the mistake of on the job training to learn the software. If you rely on existing staff to train the new employee you are losing efficiency. Most software companies provide on demand resources for learning the modules needed for each position. Time should be set aside in your onboarding process to allow for all of the tutorials and webinars to be viewed and practiced prior to releasing the staff member to their position.

Engage The Position
It is now time to engage your new team member in observing the position they were hired for. The best practice is to match them with another person engaged in the same area. No less than three days of observance should be provided. On the fourth and fifth day the new employee should be performing the required tasks with a spotter who listens and watches closely, correcting protocols as errors occur. T

The above process is a five day cycle. Week two of the onboarding process is observing and coaching the new team member in performing their daily duties.

We recommend a 30 day, paid working interview. You will know by the end of this time period if this is a good fit for your team. If not, you have already agreed to part company at the end of this period should either of the two parties not feel this is the right person/practice. The onboarding process reduces confusion and unnecessary mistakes that erode confidence in all concerned.

*DiSC Personality Profile
DiSC is the leading personality assessment tool used by more than 40 million people to improve work productivity, teamwork and communication. For a more in depth description please click HERE.


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