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a blog by Chris Barrow

"All aboard!" How to onboard a new team member properly - a guest post by Lisa Bainham

As we head into 2022, for the last year, many of us have been battling a constant cycle of staff shortages, recruitment problems and employee retainment. These problems place a huge strain on Practice Management but also the whole team….if you do recruit, then it's so important that we get the onboarding process right and follow some basic steps.

Pre start date

We are all familiar with the mountain of paperwork and checklists that we formally need to process but try not to make it more about the paperwork than the person.

Allow your induction to be delivered by different members of your team. It therefore goes without saying that before a new starter arrives, your existing team should know a little about them.

We need to ensure that existing team members understand the importance of the part they play in the induction and how important it is that we try to onboard the new team member positively.

In the current climate of difficult recruitment and retention, it's in everyone’s interests for the new engagement to be successful.

· Try to get all the essential paperwork sorted prior to their first day

· Allocate a buddy, so they have a “go to” person

· Provide them with an Organisation Chart – I keep mine in the staff handbook. This shows the team as a whole and helps them understand who is who and who does what, and more importantly will allow them to see where they fit in.

How to provide an ideal First Day and Week!

· Have a little welcome gesture…maybe a card from the team, a box of chocolates, bunch of flowers etc. I have personalised branded lunch bags for my team. Or maybe buy cakes or pizza for the whole team to share the welcome and sense of occasion.

· Introduce them to the team individually, don’t overwhelm them with a group intro.

· If they haven’t yet had the staff handbook, give them a copy and their own copy of the induction schedule, but reassure them it’s a guide and we will help them through it one day at a time.

· Meet with them and their manager to explain the expectations of their role.

· Take them out for coffee or lunch or an after-work drink with their buddy or a key person that has been helping them, within the first week or so.

· Reassure them that you will have regular check ins but they can speak to you at any point if they have any worries or concerns.

Finally make sure they understand what their future may look like in the practice, most employees want to know that they can become an integral, valued team member and you will help them progress their career and skill set.

And why do we do this???

Because first impressions count, and while not all recruits will work out, you want to be sure that the keepers are happy, and you retain them.

Shockingly, 40% of of new recruits leave within the first 6 months, and most of these are due to an inadequate induction process or they got off to a bad start and didn’t feel incorporated in the team.

Don’t drop the baton at the first hurdle, nurture, show empathy and get the whole team onboard with the onboarding!!

Treat your new recruits like the valuable assets they are.

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