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What Structured Onboarding Can Do for Your Dental Practice

Recruitment/Retention • March 13, 2015 at 3:00 PM • Written by: PeopleKeep Team

Consider this: The way in which you onboard new employees for your dental practice will determine the Structure_onboarding_dental_practicetype of employee they will be and the relationship you’ll have with them. So, to say onboarding is important would be an understatement -- it’s absolutely essential.

As an owner of your own dental practice, if you’ve wondered the best way to implement a structured onboarding program, no need to worry, we have you covered. In this article, we’ll go over the ins and outs of onboarding and ways you can make it effective.

Is Structured Onboarding Really That Important for Your Dental Practice?

A structured employee onboarding program for your dental practice is a great way to ensure your new hire feel welcome and prepared. In fact, new employees who go through a structured onboarding program are 58% more likely to be with the organization after three years. Onboarding programs are simply a formalized way that employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors to be effective at their jobs.

How Can You Build an Effective Onboarding Program?

Now, knowing structured onboarding does indeed make a difference in your employee retention, what’s the best way for you to implement an effective onboarding program? Here are 6 steps.

1 - Get Your Employees Started Quicker

Why wait? Get your new hire started in their duties on their first day. Have them start by meeting patients and getting familiar with the staff and office. The longer you put off training and getting your new hire started on their duties, the longer it will take them to become proficient.

2 - Make Onboarding Fun and Memorable

Happy employees equal higher productivity. So, don’t be afraid to make onboarding fun! As you’re training and getting your new hire used to the practice, be creative and find ways to make it fun and memorable. Remember, many of your employees are new grads and this is their first job at a dental practice -- Make their experience at your practice one they’ll love. Here are a few ideas:

  • Incorporate company mission, values, and vision into an engaging activity

  • Use humor to engage your new hire

  • Make onboarding interactive with games

  • Use what your new hire already knows and build upon it - make them feel good

3 - Establish a Leader-Employee Relationship

Though having fun is important with your new hire, establishing a professional relationship is equally as important. How can it be done? The relationship that is built as you onboard a new hire can be accomplished by making your new hire feel comfortable and by establishing respect throughout their time with your practice.

A good leader-employee relationship can be the difference between a new hire staying with your company for a long or short amount of time. In fact, 80% of employees leave their jobs because of their boss - so make sure your new hire has a professional, respectful relationship with you and other leaders.

4 - Make Onboarding a Game

Friendly, fun games foster camaraderie. As such, one way to make your onboarding process effective is to make it a game - literally. Make a large game board that your new hire moves along through with each step of the program. Don’t worry, it doesn’t need to be competitive, rather, it’s simply a way for a new hire to see their start and finish line in the process and have a good time along the way.

5 - Have the Employee's Workstation Set Up

A cluttered and disorganized space is difficult to work in. So what do you do? Make sure your new hire’s workstation is set up. Doing so will show them that you’re on top of things and they’ll be ready to work.

To make it even more exciting, have a small gift basket of their essentials ready, too. You can include pens, sticky notes, snacks, a mouse pad, etc. Though many of the items you can include are essentials, it’s more memorable to get them in a gift basket, along with other fun surprises.

6 - Make an Effective Employee Handbook

Create an employee handbook that is engaging and memorable. Handbooks aren’t always the most exciting thing to read and it’s not uncommon for new employees to skim over them without understanding them.

Knowing this, make your dental practice’s handbook right the first time. Don’t just make a handbook because you have to. Instead, look at your handbook as a means to train employees effectively so you do not have to re-train them in the future. Make handbooks fun, easy to read, and unforgettable.

Related: Include These 6 Tips for the Best Training Manual


A structured employee onboarding program for your dental practice doesn’t need to be complicated or extensive. Remember these key tips:

  • Structured employee onboarding results in higher productivity

  • Prepare a handbook that’s easy, fun, and informative

  • Make your new employee feel welcome by having things ready, then get them started

  • Establish a professional relationship that lasts

  • Make employee onboarding fun!

What questions do you have about implementing a structured onboarding program into your dental practice? Comment below.

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