Successful integration: The Dentist

Dentist Aug 18 Dental Elite Article Luke Arnold


As more and more practices struggle to fill positions and levels of staff dissatisfaction continue to creep up, onboarding is arguably becoming one of the most important aspects of a practice’s recruitment process. Firstly, because integrating a new employee into the business and helping them to feel settled helps to increase staff retention and prevent quick exits – which is critical in the current climate – but also because it can save you a lot of time and money in the long run. It takes a lot of valuable resources and effort to recruit a new employee, after all – why waste them?

Back to basics
Whether you’ve recruited 100 members of staff before or one, it’s never a bad idea to go back to basics with recruitment onboarding. Remind yourself why it’s important and look at processes you can incorporate into your practice to induct a new employee into your business successfully and get them up to speed. It may be that you could be doing more – or perhaps there are techniques you hadn’t even thought of. Below are some top tips to help you get it just right!

Before their first day, the terms of the contract should be discussed with the employee in detail and collectively agreed upon. Any hidden surprises or changes will only get their back up, so be sure to have everything set in stone early on. What’s more, if legally everything is crystal clear from the off, you are less likely to have the contract come back and haunt you later on down the line.

Whether you have available spaces for all your members of staff or limited parking, you need to let your new employees know what to expect for the duration of their employment so they can make the appropriate arrangements. They don’t want to be turning up on their first day only to find that they need to park down the road next to a parking meter or on double yellow lines so that they’re not late. It’s stress they don’t need and can be easily avoided. Equally, if you have gated facilities that require a fob key or access code, be sure to sort that out for them in advance!

Feel good factor
A positive first-hand account from current or past staff about what it’s like to work for the business can go a long way in keeping your new employee’s confidence and eagerness high during their transition into the practice. Saying that, in order to have an enthusiastic, happy team your practice has to be a nice place to work in, so look after your staff and they’ll look after you!

Be welcoming, be social
Don’t forget to make sure that your team A) knows when a new member of staff is starting and B) what their name is. Being asked ‘who are you?’ on day one is a sure-fire way of making someone feel unwelcome, so send out a memo or call a meeting to notify your staff in advance.

Arranging a social gathering such as a lunch or night out with the team is also a great way to welcome a new member of staff into the practice family, and will help you to get to know them – and vice versa.

Ready from the off
Having the right log in details and passwords for computers and software, access to a practice email address, and correct equipment is essential for any new employee to be able to hit the ground running. Plus, it can be extremely frustrating coming into a role only to find that the right information and tools aren’t available. Not only will they not be able to do their job properly, but it also looks like you’ve spun them a line, which hardly gets your relationship off to a good start! Make it easy for them to get started and have the right support system in place so that they know where to go should they have any questions.

Recruitment onboarding is an ongoing process that should continue well beyond the initial starting period. Check-in with your new employees after their first day, first week, first month and so on to see how they’re feeling and if the practice can do anything to help them feel more settled in their new role.

If you can do all of the above, you should not only be able to greatly increase your staff retention rates, but improve your employees’ well being and productivity – so next time you recruit, be sure to consider your onboarding strategy.