Written by Jeff Russell, Author of Secrets to a Successful Practice & Executive Director of the IAPAM
Whenever someone joins your team it’s critical that they are embraced by the team and feel valued from the very beginning by following these onboarding tips. It’s important that before they start you have an opportunity to chat with them about why the practice exists, the importance of teamwork, and to review your core values and emphasize to them how everyone is an integral part of the fabric of the practice. You succeed or fail as a team.
On your new team member’s first day, you want them to feel welcomed and special. If you have a “swag bag” of logoed items (i.e. shirts, pens, cups, water bottles, etc.), get those prepared. You also need to be prepared with their needed essentials. Ensure you have ordered their scrubs, lab coat, and name badge. You want them to feel part of the team when they start, not look different from everyone else.
Have a training plan in place. Don’t expect them to be able to absorb everything in a week. Break down the operations of the clinic into different categories, such as consultations, charting and administrative, and procedures. Sometimes hiring someone with experience in the procedures you offer is great, but often they may also come with some bad habits. Be patient and be prepared to spend time re-training them on the way you do things.
Your training plan should have a checklist for both the new hire and the trainer to complete so that you have documented their training. This is not only a best practice but may be required by some malpractice insurance companies. In addition, it helps you remember everything for which they should be trained.
Create a Team Member Manual/Guidebook
This manual should include a summary of your history, mission, vision and core values. If you are not very creative, think about using an online service like fiverr.com to make it look pretty. I also like to include the following article in the new hire handbook:
5 Keys to Providing Exceptional Customer Service
Patients today have a very low expectation of customer service when they go to a doctor’s office or hospital. This gives us an excellent opportunity to create a “Wow Experience” for each and every patient that comes to our practice. Here are five tips to keep in mind, which will help give our patients that “Wow Patient Experience.”
- Smile! I know this may sound a bit corny, but when you smile at someone, they automatically feel connected and welcomed.
- Be Present. With all the distractions in today’s world, from social media announcements, text messages and calendar reminders, it’s more important than ever to be present and give the patient your full attention.
- Be Calm. Some patients may be a bit worried and unsure of the program or treatment. When you are being calm, the patient will become calm.
- Be Confident. A patient is coming to you because you are the expert. Part of your responsibility is to fully understand the procedures and services we provide
- Be mindful. Remember, the patient probably has a busy day, so be cognizant of their daily activities and ensure they are in and out of the practice quickly.
Day 1 – Start Day
With a new hire, some practices put out a red carpet, put up balloons, and have a welcome poster signed by the entire team in the break room.
You are going to need to do the usual administrative tasks, like giving them a tour with formal introductions to the team, having them complete hiring and/or benefit forms, give them a team member manual, teach them how to use the phone system and retrieve voice mails.
Get to know them. In Patrick Lencioni’s book, The Truth About Employee Engagement, he says that people cannot be fulfilled or engaged in their work if they are not known. People want to be recognized as an important part of the practice, so it’s important to get to know them and make sure they feel understood and appreciated.
Find out what they want to personally achieve. The personal goal doesn’t need to be about the job, but often it does tie in. If someone wants to learn how to horseback ride and it makes them happier at home, they will be happier at the practice. You both win! Find out what their big goal is, and if they don’t have one, get them to think of one.
Give them a 90-day plan with expectations.
They should know they are on probation for 90 days, so you will want to set up a training schedule with your existing team members and/or any vendors you use (i.e. lasers, skin tightening, makeup, chemical peels, etc.). You also want to give them an outline of self-learning that you expect them to do on their own. For example, there may be vendor, association and/or YouTube videos available on the procedures and services you provide. Include links for those training materials. In the first week, tell them they should shadow one of your team members and that you expect them to perform their first patient consultations the following week.
There needs to be a clear measurement so that everyone knows if it was done or not. For example: Did they do a consultation on their own in the second week—yes or no? Did they watch the five videos I sent them—yes or no? Both of these have clear measurements. They should also be aware of the current annual and quarterly goals of the practice and be able to see how they can help the practice achieve those goals.
You will also want to give them a plan where they will be job-shadowing each of your team members. Every nurse and aesthetician need to understand the patient coordinator’s role, and your patient coordinator must understand the procedures they are going to be explaining to patients. Your new hire may also be able to offer some best practices that they have learned at other practices. Follow all these onboarding tips to succeed as a team.
If you are ready to grow your practice or are preparing to start your first practice, check out the IAPAM’s Practice Startup Workshop.