Developing an effective orientation process for a new dental associate is critical to the short and long term success of your team. The objective is to make sure the new hire feels welcomed, valued, and prepared for the challenges of his or her new role. On a deeper level, it’s important to understand the new hire is also forming impressions of your practice, staff, and how he or she fits into their new role as part of your team during the onboarding process. Making a positive first impression goes both ways when it comes to new hires, so make sure your practice is up-to-par with a well thought out onboarding process that achieves the above goals and sets your new hire up for immediate success and productivity.

Not sure where to start? Here is a checklist of items to help your new dental associate hit the ground running:

  • Between the acceptance and start date of your new associate, be sure to reach out regularly by phone or email and share any important updates or new practice initiatives.

  • Also be sure to invite them to social events your team may be attending. Having your staff interact with the new hire in a relaxed setting before they officially start working for you is a great way to break the ice and make sure everyone is more comfortable on the associate’s first day.

  • Be sure to convey to the associate how excited you are that he or she will be part of your dental team by:

    • Sending an email to your employees/close colleagues/vendors announcing the start date of your new hire. Include contact information for the new associate (with their permission) and be sure to copy him or her on any correspondence

    • Having others in the practice call, email, or text the new employee to congratulate and welcome them and to share contact information.

    • Sending a welcome packet of items to the new employee. A welcome packet could include a company shirt, branded notepads, pens, or role-specific tools and resources. Call to follow up and make sure the new associate received it.

    • Sending a gift to the spouse/family/significant other welcoming them to the new practice ‘family.’ Call to follow up and personally welcome them.

    • Assigning a mentor or peer to call the new employee before his or her start date for questions big and small. Ensure they’re available for the new hire post-start date for any follow up questions.

  • The mentor assigned to them should share information about the community by:

    • Furnishing all the information that relates to family activities, schools, churches, sports activities, etc. in the area

    • Taking your new hire and spouse/significant other out dinner to connect on a personal level before the start date, even if they live outside your area. A plane ticket is much cheaper than starting the process over.

  • If the new associate is relocating for their new job with you, make sure:

    • They have access to all the information and services they need to make the move as smooth as possible

    • You offer assistance in helping them find temporary housing in the area during the transition period, including recommendations on good neighborhoods and area amenities?

  • Finally, help the new associate feel prepared for their new role. Before the new associate walks in the door on their first day, be sure to:

    • Give them an agenda of what their onboarding plan will look like, including their start time and exact location. Ask for their input and make revisions as necessary.

    • Have HR send the new hire paperwork, including their benefits.

    • Update your website and make any industry-related announcements (local newspaper, industry publications, or trade magazines).

    • Have the new associate’s desk set up with supplies, business cards, logins for email, voicemail and other related technology, pass codes, etc.

    • Show the employee their new work space if the new employee is local.

    • Notify payroll of the new hire and copy the new employee to ensure signing or relocation bonuses are available on day one.

    • Have the entire office sign a welcome card that is waiting on their desk.

    • Offer to take the new employee to breakfast/lunch on their start date or send them an invitation to their welcome party scheduled on their first day of work.

With a little planning and preparation, a practice can play an incredibly instrumental role in helping a new associate feel prepared, settled, and welcomed into their new practice family.

ETS Dental is a Dental Recruiting firm specializing in finding and placing General Dentists, Dental Specialists, and Practice Leadership professionals throughout the United States. www.etsdental.com

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