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Onboarding for New and Veteran Employees

Just Focus on Goals and Expectations

The way you set up the initial relationship with your new employee will directly determine how well they perform in the first year of employment.

I don’t think that this is given enough consideration. You are in a rush to fill a position, and once you have done so, you are now just happy that it is done so you can get back to seeing your patients.

The new employee is given some training, but since everyone is busy, it is very brief and short-lived. As a result, the productivity of the new hire is held back.

New employees are not like plug-and-play appliances. Everything is new to them. The staff, the patients, the jargon, the flow of traffic, the procedures -- all these which you take for granted, are to them, new.

The prospective new staff member never really knows what they are walking into. Is this going to be their best or their worst work experience? So, despite their smiling cooperation for the first few weeks, underneath, they may be worried that your business is not for them.

It can take 8 to 12 months for a new staff member to gear up to full capacity and performance. But the critical period in my observation is the first three months.

Orienting, training, and acclimating the new employee to their new job, new team, and new business is called onboarding.

Onboarding – the First 3 Months

You want each team member to be happy working with you and operating at close to their full capacity. This is what you want for yourself, right?

Once you make the decision and the new person is hired, your management work just begins.

A systematized onboarding procedure helps the new employee feel safe, that this is where they belong, and that they are important to you and your office.

As a result, a deliberate onboarding process will “increase new hire retention by 82% and improve the productivity by 70%.” (

I have seen this in action – both the right way and the wrong way!

We provide an onboarding checklist for our clients (which we are updating), but here are some fast tips:

1. Checklist. Assign the new employee a list of actions to be completed over the first 3 months that include orientation, study, and training. The checklist should also be assigned to a veteran staff member to help the new employee get through the checklist.

2. Ongoing meetings with the owner/doctor. You want to have the new employee have a good understanding of you and your history, goals, and plans to achieve them. Do this over lunch or coffee.

3. Relationship with goals. You want the new employee to have a relationship with the goals of the office. Go over:

a. The mission of the clinic and why this is the mission.

b. The clinic and team’s values. Who we are and how we are. (For example,

we are care-aholics!)

c. The outcome of the clinic’s services. For example: happy, healthy patients.

d. Mission and outcome of their specific role.

4. Expectancy. They need to know that achieving the goals for their specialized role is what is expected. How they do it is important, but that they achieve them is most important.

5. Regular (weekly or biweekly) coaching reviews.


You can do a version of this every 12 months with your key veteran staff. Why not?

Next to your skills, your reputation, and your patients, YOUR PEOPLE are your most valuable asset in your practice. Take care of them, especially when they begin, and they will help you take care of the practice.



If your practice building efforts aren’t taking you to your goals,

there are reasons -- many of which are hidden from you.

Find out what they are and how to sail to your next level by getting and implementing my new book, The Goal Driven Business.

The Goal Driven Business By Edward Petty

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