By Mark Wright, OD, FCOVD,
and Carole Burns, OD, FCOVD
Sept. 12, 2018
A new employee training program ensures your new hires get up to speed fast, so patients are well served, and the new employee stays with you long-term. Here are the key points to keep in mind when creating a new employee training system in your practice.
Create a Structured On-Boarding Program
According to a study by Stanford Graduate School of Business Professor Larissa Z. Tiedens and Emily M. Zitek, an assistant professor at Cornell University’s Industrial and Labor Relations School, people sometimes actually favor hierarchical relationships over equal ones.
“Why do people create hierarchies when they say they don’t want them? One answer is that it makes thinking much easier,” says Tiedens. Anything that makes our lives easier is something that makes us like it better. Organization is useful beyond just hierarchical relationships. Keeping this in mind, consider a structured approach to an on-boarding program. Your on-boarding program should have at least these two components: general on-boarding and job-specific on-boarding.
The goal of general on-boarding is to make sure the new employee has a clear understanding of what the practice does, who the key players are, why the practice does what it does, and how it does it. Therefore, your general on-boarding program should contain at least the following information:
• The company’s vision, mission statement and values.
• The history of the company.
• Key employee bios.
• Department on-boarding, in which each department provides a high-level overview of what they do.
• An explanation of what the practice does, sells and provides.
This part of the on-boarding should cover all the key topics, skills, education and technologies that the new hire needs to be successful in their job.
Your on-boarding program should also have the following components:
The best way to be consistent is to create an on-boarding checklist. This makes sure that every new hire has the same on-boarding experience. Don’t forget to train staff making sure everyone involved in the on-boarding experience is working together as a team giving the same overall messages.
Assign a Mentor
On-boarding is a team function. It’s a good idea to assign each new hire a mentor. The mentor has responsibilities beyond just making sure the new hire masters the new job. The mentor should also take them out for coffee or lunch and be the person who has answers to any questions they have.
Provide Ample Time
Most on-boarding programs last 90 days. Your program should be flexible enough that some people may complete it in 60 days and a few in 120 days. The central idea is that the new hire should show consistent progress. The on-boarding program should not be rushed and it should not be so slow that the new hire becomes bored.
Check in Frequently
At a minimum, there should be formal checkpoints at the end of week one, week two, month one, month two and month three. These meetings should be designed to make sure the new hire is progressing positively and to get feedback about the overall experience.
Don’t view your on-boarding program as completed and, therefore, never needing to be revisited. As each new hire moves through your on-boarding program, the feedback they provide should be used to make adjustments to your program to make it even better. Don’t forget to ask your current staff about the process as well. They may have insights that can be used to modify your program in even better ways. Be sure to share with the new hire and with your staff how you’ve implemented their ideas.
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