Staff is one of the largest practice expenses. Studies on the cost of employee turnover vary greatly. According to a Society for Human Resource Management study, every time a business replaces a salaried employee, it costs on average six to nine months of that position's annual salary. For instance, an office manager making $50,000 a year will cost a practice $30,000 to $40,000 in recruiting and training expenses. Due to the cost, onboarding should be a critical component in the ongoing effort to manage a healthy practice.

Success Tips

Before hiring a new employee, practice leaders should take ample time to outline exactly how they will onboard the new staff member. There is much more involved in a comprehensive onboarding plan beyond the basic office tour and a quick overview of the employee handbook. A practice's onboarding goal is to reduce the potential for employee turnover and make sure its good reputation remains intact. Here are eight tips to assist practices in making their onboarding efforts a success.

1. Start the Onboarding Process in Advance

To ensure the onboarding process goes smoothly, take action prior to a new employee starting work. Place the mission, vision, and values of the practice on the clinic's website. This will allow potential candidates to learn about the practice before submitting a resume. It also allows those interviewing for the job opening to be better prepared. Once a hire is made, make sure he or she knows the start time, where to park, and who to ask for once at the practice.

2. Inform the Entire Staff Via Email
of the New Hire's First Day

Prior to the new hire starting, send an email to the staff that highlights where the new employee is from, marital status, number of children, pets, hobbies, education, and experience. Make sure the email has some personal and professional background on the newbie to help staff build rapport with their new coworker. A harmonious relationship can be quickly established through mutual experiences and interests.

3. Ensure the Tools and Resources the New Staff Member Needs for the Job are Readily Available

For the new employee to hit the ground running, make sure the equipment he or she needs (e.g., computer, phone, email) is set up before the first day. Also, include a plan on informing the new hire of practice procedures. For example, if the new hire needs supplies, who should be contacted? If the employee has computer problems, what is the proper channel to obtain assistance?

4. Assign an Orientation Leader

As soon as the new employee enters the practice on the first day of work, be sure to have someone greet and show the newcomer around the office, introducing staff members during the tour. Make sure the orientation leader is warm, welcoming, and has a positive outlook regarding the company. Even consider having this person provide the new employee with a small welcome gift such as a company T-shirt, coffee mug, padfolio, etc.

5. Review the “How I Want to be Managed” Document with the New Hire

Asking the employee this question upfront ensures a much better chance of getting started on the right foot. It allows you to understand the new hire's stress triggers and what motivates him/her. This is a great time to let new hires know how their performance will be measured. Also, this is a perfect opportunity to share the goals of the organization and how his/her contribution is important to the practice achieving its goals.

6. Provide a Calendar that Highlights What the New Hire will be Doing Daily/Weekly/Monthly/Quarterly

Give the hire a 90-day plan on day one. The plan should highlight the responsibilities and duties of the new employee. Also, this would be a great time to introduce the hire to a mentor and provide a “shadowing” checklist and timeline, noting the skills you want the newbie to observe when shadowing the other staff member. If the newcomer is a provider, you should set expectations for his or her schedule, including days and hours to work per week and month.

7. Hold the New Hire Accountable for Reporting Activities Back at the End of the Day/Week

This will allow you to know what the new hire accomplished. It can also help identify what duties the newcomer is struggling with—and may need further training on—and is excelling at with ease. Make it known that you are not a mind reader, and you hire capable people who understand how to assess areas of improvement and ask for help.

8. Do Something Fun

Try to schedule a team building exercise/event in the employee's first few weeks. Maybe consider hosting a lunch or happy hour where everyone has to present a few fun facts about themselves along with the new hire. Insights/Colors training has proven to serve as an ice breaker that helps the new hire integrate more quickly by learning his or her coworkers favored communication style. Whatever activity is selected, the goal is to make the new hire feel part of the team.

Happy Employees

Your new hire is going to get oriented whether you plan for it or not. If you fail to properly plan, you can likely expect to spend additional time and money finding yet another “new hire.” Remember, happy employees are more likely to be retained and take better care of customers. Aren't those reasons enough to get onboard?

Kim Blackwell is a senior management consultant with the Allergan Practice Consulting Group of Allergan, PLC, a global pharmaceutical company headquartered in Dublin, Ireland.

Ms. Blackwell consults with medical aesthetic practices in areas of financial analysis, human resource issues, online marketing, leadership training and team building, sales training, compensation, and development.

Ms. Blackwell has more than 15 years of successful field-based sales and management experience in the Pacific Northwest, Southeast, and Mid-Atlantic. She has served in a number of sales, training, and management positions in the pharmaceutical industry, including senior sales representative, national field sales trainer, and sales manager. Ms. Blackwell has participated in corporate marketing initiatives that included planning and strategizing the launch of several new products and indications in the field of aesthetic medicine. In addition, she has been published in Modern Aesthetics® and Practical Dermatology® magazines.