We have been studying the foundation of excellent teamwork, including how to attract and hire the right people. Once an offer of employment has been accepted, it is time for orientation and training. You have done your best to hire the “right person.” Now you want to make sure he or she has the chance to excel. How you integrate this person into the practice and prepare him or her to be successful in the position can make or break the relationship.
As soon as your new team member begins, spend time at a team meeting getting acquainted. Have each person talk about themselves - who they are, a synopsis of their life “outside dentistry,” and of course, their position and responsibilities. Have everyone share something that they love about the practice and something that is important to them regarding teamwork. Invite the new team member to share the same things.
“It’s fine to have some social interaction,” says Dr. John Jameson. “After all, you spend a major part of each day together. Caring about one another as people who have personal interests and goals is part of connecting with one another. You may spend more waking hours with your team members than you do with your family.”
Consider the following steps as you integrate a new employee into your team:Carefully review the responsibilities of the new person’s position. (You did this during the hiring process, but he/she will hear this differently as he/she actually begins the position.)As you review the responsibilities, define the expected outcomes. Review how each aspect of the position relates to other systems of the practice. Establish your commitment to teamwork from the beginning.Make an outline of procedures to be taught. Do not skimp here. No matter how long someone has been in dentistry, review, in intricate detail, what you do and why you do it.Remember: no two dentists work alike. Your new person wants to do whatever is necessary to perform according to your protocols. Make this possible by being specific about your requirements.Besides each procedure to be taught, assign a person on the team to do training.Define a time frame in which the training should be provided and completed.TrainingApply these steps of adult learning consistently in your training process:Explain: Tell the person what you want him or her to do, how you want it done, and why each aspect of the protocol is imperative. Be intricate in your explanation.Demonstrate:Show the person what you want done, no matter how large or small the task. Again, be detailed. Do demonstrations with and without patients.Observe: Watch the trainee do what you have been teaching. Do this without patients. Give him or her feedback on the performance. Do not be afraid to require accuracy. If you let little things slide, they may become big things. Remember that in everything, it is the little things that make a big difference.Shadow: Let the trainee do what you have been teaching. Let him or her do the task with patients. Once the procedure has been completed and the patient has left, give feedback on what went well and what can be improved. Do this with grace, courtesy, and honesty.Delegate: Here may be the most difficult part of training - letting go. Turn over the responsibility.Evaluate: Continuous evaluation of performance is imperative for quality control, improvement, and confidence building.