The Importance of Having an Onboarding Process For New Team Members

It’s always exciting bringing on a new team member. Whether adding a new position and growing your team, or replacing someone who has left, the new person represents possibility for the future and a hope that the practice is moving in the right direction. Unfortunately, that excitement can quickly fade if certain steps aren’t taken to set up the new team member and the practice for success. To ensure success for the new team member and the practice, it’s important to have an onboarding process for new team members. Here’s why.

It Acclimates the New Team Member To The Practice

Coming into a new team as an outsider is both exciting and scary. You don’t know what to expect, and it takes time to learn the culture, personalities, and norms of the team. An onboarding process can eliminate some of that fear and quickly make a new team member feel comfortable, as well as more quickly integrate into the team and its culture. Without a clear process, team dynamics can be interrupted, and a new team member can be left feeling out of place. Even worse, both parties can start to think they made a bad decision.

It Sets Clear Expectations Early On

A well-designed onboarding process not only welcomes a new team member and makes them feel at home, it also clearly and comprehensively lays out expectations for the practice and their role. Some of the biggest human resources challenges arise because practice leaders had one expectation and the team member had another. When protocols, guidelines, and best practices aren’t clearly communicated, a person will fill in the gap with what they assume is the way things should be done. When one or more parties start making assumptions, resentment, and frustration can creep in, undermining the trust and confidence needed to run and effective team.

It Cuts Down On Transition Time

Any change to a team dynamic will cause at least a little disruption to the day-to-day operations of a team. Even the most experienced team member will need time to learn the ropes of the new practice and to orient themselves within the practice. A clearly defined and executed onboarding process can significantly cut down on this transition time as it will address all the areas a team member will need to know and learn to do their job and function within the team.

Bottomline, a clearly defined onboarding process makes the addition of a new team member a better experience for everyone and ensures that the right candidate can get up and running quickly within the practice. To be effective, an onboarding process should:

  • Welcome the new team member to the practice
  • Acclimate them to the culture of the team, including how the team expects each person to behave, what values are most important, and the client experience they wish to portray
  • Fully train them on their position and the tools they need to execute their function, including any specific software, processes, resources, and guidelines they need to follow

For a practice leader trying to juggle client needs and a team, it can feel daunting to take time out of the daily operations to develop an onboarding process. However, the cost of not doing it is even higher, and can have greater ramifications on your time, energy, focus, and the practice. There is another option, and that is leveraging a practice management consultant whom can bring to the table best practices and an objective point of view, and can create a customized onboarding process for you.

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