Create A Lasting First Impression

by Dr. Ron Arndt

Pay Attention to the Back of the House
When a plant is moved to a new location, it is not enough to just stick it in the dirt and say “grow!” We water it carefully, fertilize it, watch closely for signs of transplant shock, and pay special attention for its first growing season, until it establishes new roots.

A new employee needs special attention, too, to become firmly rooted. How do you nurture a new employee relationship?

Typically, a new hire gets a one-day, five-step program: Paperwork, Tour, Meet-The-Team; Read This, Get To Work. I see this in so many dental offices. I have a better approach: Orient in smaller chunks, over a longer period of time.

  1. Break up all the “stuff” and cover a portion each day for a week versus the first hours. Increase the complexity of information as the new employee’s base of understanding grows. They absorb and learn better. This is more efficient for your dental practice as a whole.
  2. Plan to check-in with new employees several times in their first month. List these check-ins in your calendar. Create opportunities to ask those “dumb questions” about how you do things.
  3. Invest time to explain the history and logic behind what you do. Studies show that the learning curve on a new job is typically six to twelve months. During that time, a new employee is still “putting down roots” and can be affected more deeply by change or neglect than more established team members.

When you make it easier for new hires to take root, they contribute more and you retain them for a longer time. I’ve said it before and I will say it again: the cost of hiring a new employee is much greater than retaining an old one.

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