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Empowering new employees right from the start
The final step in the hiring process—on-boarding and training—is all about empowerment. Empowering new staff members by making their entry to your practice smooth, efficient, and confusion-free. Empowering them by giving them clear, specific information, guidelines, and goals that enable them to quickly become integrated, productive members of your team.
Too often, getting a new hire started is a chaotic, haphazard process—both for business owners and for new employees. Without systems in place for onboarding and training, confusion and frustration grow, time and money are wasted, and the opportunity to make an empowered, positive start with a new employee is lost.
All that changes when you shift your mindset about training, and take the time to implement systems that enable a smooth pathway for new employees to come onboard.
In an important sense, you began your onboarding at the very beginning of your hiring process, when you shared with prospective employees your company’s vision and goals, and gave them a sense of your organizations culture and values.
Now it’s time to dig into all the details.
The key to onboarding is to use a checklist. Before I began using a checklist in my practice, important steps would fall through the cracks. Once we had a PT who worked for a year without being credentialed for Medicare, because it wasn’t clear whose responsibility it was to process the application. That was an expensive—and entirely avoidable–mistake. Working with a checklist eliminates confusion, omissions, and backpedaling. It also saves time and money.
What belongs on the checklist?
Every single step involved in making your new hire a fully functioning employee. Specific steps will vary. But almost all practices will cover common ground, including:
- Payroll application
- Background/credit check
- License verification
- Personal/emergency contact information
- Benefits enrollment
- Email, phone activation
- Updates to staff directory, website
- Business cards, name tags, company gear
(I’ve included a sample checklist from my practice, below.)
Here are a few tips for using an on-boarding checklist effectively:
Make clear who is responsible for completing tasks. Your employees who are involved in onboarding (typically clinical directors, administrators) need to know exactly what actions they’re responsible for, and how to complete those actions successfully. Getting your staff trained to follow the system is the first step.
Be specific. Use names, contact information, timeframes and deadlines attached to specific tasks.
Don’t assign all the tasks to yourself! Bring your staff into the process. This is a great area to delegate. After I’d been using my onboarding and training systems for a while, I was able to turn over essentially the entire hiring process to my staff. I stayed in the loop, but I had a staff I trusted to hire A-players, and an empowerment process that worked.
It’s critical to recognize training as a process, one that doesn’t come to an end after the first or second week a new employee is on the job. Lack of training is responsible for dissatisfaction among employees (old and new), lost productivity, and errors that can be expensive and time consuming. Remember, your organization’s role at this stage in the hiring process is to empower new team members so they can work confidently and productively right from the start. As a practice owner and team leader, it’s your job to implement an effective training system. Like all other aspects of the hiring process, training becomes easier, more meaningful, and more successful when a system is in place.
What does an effective training system look like? Here are a couple of key starting points:
Training is customized for each position. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all training system that works as well as training created for specific positions in your company. It’s more work up front—but after that one-time outlay of effort, the benefits will pay off again and again.
What goes into position-specific training?
- Responsibilities and tasks
- Systems and processes to use
- Metrics and targets for success
Employees need to know what’s expected of them, what tools, procedures, and systems they’ll need to use to get the work done, and what successful performance looks like.
Training is organized—and measured—over time
Nobody is going to learn everything all at once. Employee training that functions like a crash course followed by letting an employee figure the details out on their own? That’s a recipe for errors and unhappiness, for you and your employees.
A full training period lasts a year. That’s the timeframe to shoot for, for new employees to grow fully into their roles on your team. When creating a training system, set benchmarks for progress and review. I recommend benchmarks at:
- 1 week
- 2 weeks
- 1 month
- 90 days (The first Milestone Meeting)
- 1 year
These benchmarks in time help give shape to your training process. For each timeframe, determine what the employee in that particular position needs to know, what tasks they need to be able to perform, and what targets you want them to hit.
Be specific. The more detailed you can be in describing the work of each position, and the results you’re looking for from employees, the better off you and your employee will be. If you have a specific greeting you want your front-desk staff to use with patients, make it clear.
Work with a checklist. As with onboarding, a checklist is critical to the training process. List all tasks as specifically as possible, and for each one create a place for supervisors to mark whether a new employee has been trained to competence, or needs additional training.
Engage your employees. If you’re working with great people, your current staff knows more about how to do their jobs successfully than you do. Their knowledge and input to creating effective training systems is invaluable. Use it.
Your staff is your most valuable resource. There’s no more well spent time and effort than in attracting, qualifying, and hiring outstanding team members. A strong, empowering training program can help you retain them.
I’d love to talk with you about how to streamline your hiring process. Schedule a free strategy call to discuss new-employee training, right-fit hiring, or any other challenges you’re facing in your practice.
Here’s the sample checklist:
Name:___________________________ Date of Hire:________________
- Application: Completed and Signed by Applicant
- Phone Interview Complete
- Personal Interview(s) Complete
- Reference Checks Complete
- Kolbe Complete (if applicable)
- Job Description Complete
- Employment Offer w/Job Description Complete
- Offer: Accepted Declined
- New Employee Packet Reviewed w/New Hire
- Background Authorization Form Completed
- Employee Personal Information Form
- Signed Acknowledge/Acceptance of Handbook
- Payroll Application Completed
- Voided Check
- Direct Deposit
o Photocopy of Driver’s License
o Maryland New Hire Form Completed (410-281-6004)
o Simple IRA Form Given to Employee
o PT’s: Verify License in ALL States
o Review & Signed Sexual Harassment Form
o Credentialing Process Started: MC & BCBS (PT only)
o S4PT Access/Schedule Completed (PT only)
o Scheduled S4PT Training (PT’s/FDC)
o Completed EMPLOYEE PACKET and scan into secured employee file.
o SPT Email Completed
o Phone Ext Completed (if necessary)
o Updated Staff Contact List Completed
o Updated Website w/Pic & Bio
o Polo(s) given to Employee
o Name Tag given to Employee
o Business Cards Ordered
o Employee Added to Payroll
o Background/Credit Check Completed
o Health Insurance Plan Chosen (30 days after start date)
- High Deductible PPO
- Employee Added to Health Insurance Plan
- EMPLOYEE Hiring Process Completed!