Can you remember the last time you started a new job? Were you nervous, excited, or anxious? Perhaps a combination of these and many other emotions bubbled up during those first days and weeks. Even under the best conditions, joining a new team can be stressful. In this post, we offer six tips for making new employees feel welcome into your practice.
1. Make introductions.
If your office employs only a few people, this will largely take care of itself. But if you have dozens of doctors, nurses, and other support staff in the practice, take new employees around to each department and make introductions. This process also serves as a tour of the office.
2. Provide an orientation.
In a busy office, this investment of time may seem like a luxury, but it’s one that can pay off significantly in the long run. Even someone with years of experience in the field won’t thrive if, on day one, they’re told “There’s your desk, let us know if you have any questions.” Offer at least one-half day of orientation to make sure that new employees get off on the right foot.
3. Ask new employees what they need.
It may seem like a small thing, but letting new employees pick out some of their own supplies will help them feel like they matter. One person might enjoy using neon colored Post-it notes, another may ask for a certain type of pen or stapler to which they’re accustomed, a third might request a lumbar support pillow for their chair. That said, a new employee’s work station should be ready for them when they arrive, with a working phone, computer, and basic supplies nearby.
4. Include new staffers in the “family.”
Ask everyone in the office to be sensitive to the fact that they all know one another and to be sure to invite new arrivals into conversations at break and lunch time. No one wants to come to work in an office that feels cliquish.
5. Welcome lunch.
At the end of a new employee’s first week, at least two other people in the office should take him or her out to lunch (the practice picks up the tab, by the way). The hosts might include the office manager and an employee with whom the newcomer works closely, a doctor along with a couple of other staff members, or any combination that makes sense in the situation. This is certainly not a “performance review” luncheon, but rather an informal way to say, “Welcome! We’re here for you if you have questions, we want to get to know you better, and for you to know us better.”
6. Have frequent check-ins.
During those first critical weeks, the practice manager or department supervisor should check in with new employees to see how they’re doing, answer questions, and offer reassurance. These check-ins can be planned or impromptu, but should be relatively informal so that new staffers don’t feel like they are in the “hot seat.”
Turnover is costly. Hiring new employees is time-consuming. Keep the great people you hire by making them feel welcome from day one.