When I was completing my marketing qualification early on in my career at Hive, one of the modules was ‘Internal Communications’. This was something I’d taken on from day one but I’d always felt a bit silly being someone who had ‘cultural architect’ in their job description – especially if mentioning to my eye-rolling, Boomer-aged relatives who would ask me how work was going! During my time at Hive, I know that internal communications are absolutely essential to maintaining a positive culture and it should not be overlooked or deemed unimportant.
One area of internal communications that is vital for any business, is welcoming new starters. At Hive, we love welcoming new members to the team. Over the years we’ve developed a series of emails, meetings and documents to help make the process smooth for the new joiner and make sure we tick all of the boxes at the same time.
Here is a guide to some of the things you could implement in your dental practice to ensure your new team members are on the same page and ready to go from day one.
BEFORE THEY START
There are various HR type tasks you should ensure you have a process for such as collecting references, an offer letter and checking ID etc. Make a list of the things that need doing for your practice and allocate to the appropriate manager to ensure they’re completed in good time.
In addition, I recommend creating a training plan for the new joiner so they can see what they will be working towards in their first few months. To help them get started, map out their first few days for them so they can see how they will be expected to use their time in a typical day.
Finally, make sure the whole team knows you have someone new starting, what their role will be and how they fit in the practice. You could arrange a team lunch on the first day (or just with the department they’re working in) to help them meet everyone and get to know each other.
Keep lines of communication open and let them know what to do on their first day including the time to arrive, where to park and who to ask for when they come in. All of these things will help the newbie feel welcome and more comfortable.
THE FIRST DAY AND BEYOND
First impressions count. We all know this. Make sure you ask the new starter to come in at a time you know you will be able to dedicate to them. If you have a Monday huddle with your team which you know is a nightmare to coordinate, don’t start their day with it. Ask them to come in after the team has been briefed and patients are underway (or the hour before if that works best).
We’ve created a series of welcome emails for our new starters which includes information about our office, how to get paid, forms we need them to fill out and our internal documents/ guidelines for them to download. While this is an excellent tool in making sure everyone is provided with the same information, we ensure the new starter has a series of meetings with relevant people to discuss the content of each email. This ensures that they’ve read the information and you have a chance to answer any questions they may have.
Make sure they have plenty to get on with on their first day and for the following weeks. I mentioned the training plan earlier which we have found to be a really useful tool. It helps guide the onboarding process but it also gives the new starter an opportunity to own their training and development. It is essential that the manager responsible for the new starter meets with them regularly to monitor their progress. I would recommend weekly for the first month and then monthly for the remainder of their probationary period.
To help decide what to include, I recommend breaking it up into phases so that you can ensure all areas of training are covered and not just the bare minimum. For example, here are some phases to get you started:
Technical – This would include any training they would need to get up to speed with how you do things at your practice. It could be dental training or for reception team members it may be how to use the CRM.
About the practice – You could include meetings with various team members so they can learn about the different roles in the practice in this phase. It is essential that they learn as much as they can about the practice as quickly as they can.
Culture – We have a document we put together to explain how we work together, the perks of working at Hive and what they can expect from being part of our team.
Once your new starter has passed probation and is a fully fledged member of your practice, don’t stop the development and engagement. We send a weekly email to our team to keep them in the loop with any new products or news and ensure we have time to meet on a weekly basis to share what we’re working on. It all helps to build a positive team culture. Keep up with at least annual (if not bi-annual) development reviews where you meet with your team members to discuss how they want to develop in their role.
If you need any help with the culture and team engagement in your practice, or need help with internal communications, get in touch and we’d be happy to discuss the ways we can help.