07 May Onboarding a New Team Member? 7 Hiring Tips for Practice Owners
Building a team is about more than just hiring people to work for you.
It’s about building a movement.
If you want your practice to be successful — and if you want to help as many people as possible — you can’t just have a group of employees who come in, punch the clock, and go home.
You have to do more than build a team — you have to build a movement.
Because when all you’re focused on is the immediate need of hiring and getting employees in the door, guess what? Your practice will be like a revolving door.
People will come, people will go, and you’ll have to start from scratch every year or so.
But if you’re focused on being a movement — something people can really stand behind?
THAT’S something your team will want to be a part of. They’ll stick with you for the long haul, and everyone — yourself, your team, and your patients — will benefit.
And where does building a movement start?
During the onboarding process.
When you start things off on the right foot with your new team members, you’re laying the foundation for a long, mutually beneficial working relationship — one that will benefit your practice, your patients, and every single person on your team.
But when you don’t? When you hire someone and don’t set the right expectations? When you don’t define the responsibilities of each role and set up accountability? When you don’t establish the right communication channels and no one knows what they’re supposed to be doing?
You set yourself up for failure, headaches, and a ton of frustration.
But what, exactly, does the right onboarding process look like? How can you make sure you’re laying the groundwork for a happy and productive team and building a movement people can get behind right from the start?
Here are our top seven tips for onboarding new team members that will help you build — and keep — the right team for your practice:
Tip #1: Build Accountability Into the Process From the Start
From the very get-go, you need to build accountability into the onboarding process.
Every single person on your team — including yourself — should know who is responsible for what, who reports to who, and who’s held accountable for different areas of your business.
Without accountability, it’s easy for people to say “that’s not my job” or put things back on your plate. But when you get everyone on the same page from the beginning, nothing falls through the cracks. You’ve set the proper expectations for each role and everyone knows what they’re supposed to be doing, when they’re supposed to be doing it, and who they’re supposed to be reporting it to.
Tip #2: Establish Clear Paths of Communication
Communication is key to any successful practice.
But we’re not just talking about how you talk to your employees (although that is, of course, important). We’re talking about establishing clear paths of communication.
If you don’t have clear, established paths of communication in your business that you train your employees on from day one, anytime there’s an issue — a patient issue, a paperwork issue, an HR issue — they’re going to bring it to you.
But if you have well-documented communication systems in place that break down exactly what to do and say in any given situation — and you get your team on board with those systems from the start — communication in your practice becomes automatic.
Establishing clear paths of communication during the onboarding process sets the gold standard for how you want your team to communicate in the future — and will save you a ton of time, hassle, and miscommunication in the process.
Tip #3: Be the example
It doesn’t matter what you tell your employees when you’re onboarding them…if you’re not practicing what you preach, they’re not going to listen.
When you’re building a team — and, more importantly, building a movement — you need to be the example.
If you want your team to follow your systems, they need to see you following those systems. If you want your team to greet your patients with enthusiasm, you need to greet your patients with enthusiasm — every time, without fail.
When you lead by example, your team knows you stand behind your practice and your movement — and as a result, they’ll stand behind it, too.
Tip #4: Clearly Defined KPI's and KPA's
One of the most important things your new team members need to know is how success will be measured in their new position — specifically, the KPIs (key performance indicators) and KPAs (key performance actions).
If you don’t let your team know their goals and, more importantly, how those goals are being measured, there’s no way for them to hit them. Clearly defining the KPIs and KPAs of each individual role — and explaining why they’re in place — will ensure better patient outcomes, better staff performance, and an all-around better-running practice.
Tip #5: Get Your Team Committed to Your Core Values
Everything in your practice ties back to your core values — which is why, during onboarding, you need to get your team committed to those values.
For example, let’s say one of your core values is teamwork. You need to show your team members what that value looks like in action. That it’s okay to ask for help. That you all support each other to deliver the best care to your patients. That everyone is on the same team and it’s not a competition.
Or maybe your core value is leadership. What does that look like for your practice? Is it making a commitment to sharing your knowledge with your patients? Is it giving everyone an opportunity to step up as a leader, no matter what their position?
The point is, your core values are the DNA of your practice — and if you want those values to come to life on a day-to-day basis, you need to bring them to life for your team.
Tip #6: Get Structured With Your Training
There’s a lot that happens in your practice.
And if you want to successfully onboard your team and get them up to speed on the ins and outs of your practice, you need to get structured with your training.
Every new team member should go through a structured training process (typically between four to six weeks) that breaks down every aspect of your practice from the ground up. So, for practitioners, the training program would include things like how to deliver treatment plans and patient handover. For front-of-house staff, it could include things like how to handle phone calls, file client paperwork, or welcome patients when they arrive for an appointment.
The point is, you can’t expect a new person to walk in the door and understand how you do things. The only way for things to get done — and for things to get done following the systems and processes you’ve set up for your practice — is to take the time to get every new staff member properly trained.
Taking the time to put together a structured training program is time well spent — and will ensure that every team member manages their responsibilities in the same way you would manage them yourself.
Tip #7: Clearly Defining Roles
When you hire someone, it’s crucial that you clearly define their role.
Because if you don’t, they’re going to make assumptions about their role — and those assumptions might not be in line with what you expect from them.
For example, you might hire a physio. And they walk into the role thinking, “Okay, I’m a physio. All I do is see patients.”
But it's more than likely that in your practice there's probably more to the role than that. There might be patient management tasks they need to handle or specific processes they need to follow to pass tasks along to your admin team.
But if that wasn’t clearly defined from the start, guess what? All they’ll do is what they expect from the role — seeing patients — and the rest will fall by the wayside.
By clearly defining each role during the onboarding process you make sure everyone knows what, exactly, is expected of them — and you can save yourself from a lot of misunderstandings and lost productivity down the road.
Wrapping Things Up
Onboarding new team members is your opportunity to connect with your new employees and show them what you’re offering is more than a job — it’s a chance to be a part of a movement. And when you take the time during the onboarding process to really build that movement, it pays off for everyone — you, your team, and your patients.
If you need some more tips on building your practice's movement and developing a team of A players you should check out my mini training on how to do exactly that!