4 Tips to Effectively Train Your Dental Practice’s New Employee

by | Jun 26, 2023 | Employer advice, Hiring, Practice Advice | 0 comments

It is not lost on my that the majority of my blogs are focused on how to hire people. That is my specialty after all. Rarely do I get to talk about the aftermath once the new employee docs are signed.  Yet, turnover seems to be one of the biggest challenges facing dental offices.  In some cases, an office will hire a dental assistant or hygienist and within a month that person is putting in their notice. 

It is easy to believe that it is the new employee’s fault.  They were lazy and couldn’t keep up with the job.  And that could absolutely be the case, but maybe we are losing out on great talent because once they are in our practice we don’t properly train them. 

It is easy to fall into this trap.  We assume that Dental Assistants and Hygienists are coming to us with all the skills they need and we are super busy, so we just toss them into an operatory with very little knowledge of our systems and processes. 

We just hired a Client Success Manager and I am the lucky one that gets to do all the training.  Which involves verbiage, talking points, back end coding, writing and posting jobs and more.  This had me slightly stressed so I started doing some research on how to properly train a new employee to maximize their success.  This post contains some of my favorite tips and how they can be translated into a dental practice. 

#1 Make sure all roles on your team are clearly defined and in writing 

Don’t get me wrong… I am a HUGE proponent of cross training employees.  However, if everyone knows how to do everything, but no one is assigned tasks it is easy for your employees to think someone else is managing it. 

Make sure you evaluate everything that needs to be handled in  your practice all the way down to who takes out the break room trash, and have the tasks assigned. 

That way, when the new employee starts, you can have all their tasks in writing and use that as a guide to get them trained. 

NOTE: I used to ask my current employees what duties they want taken off their plate and then assign that to the new hire.  I learned the hard way that that is the WORST thing you can do.  Because your employees remove all their most hated tasks and then your new hire only gets the worst tasks.  Rather, review all duties and do your best to make the judgment call on what is fair to give the new hire. 

#2 Map our their first 2 weeks

Have an itinerary of their training and on the very first day inform them that this is how their first few weeks are going to go.  I understand that in a dental practice, most of it will be getting to work on patients right away. However, a small amount of time should be set aside daily to review what was done that day and quickly train them on one of their assigned tasks. 

#3 Give them a buddy

As “The Boss” it can be challenging for a new employee to give you feedback.  Even when you ask for it multiple times a day.  So if possible, partner them up with one of your employees.  

In a perfect world this employee would be someone that doesn’t bad mouth the office or other employees. And while very nice can also be direct enough to where they can tell your new employee what needs to be done and how.  

This will give you new employees someone to lean on when they feel challenged or need to ask a question they don’t feel comfortable coming to you with. 

Added bonus is if they love their coworkers they are going to love their job.  So make sure you help them get to know the team quickly. 

#4 Check in and give feedback way more than you feel you should

A 30, 60, and 90 day check in is great in theory.  But within those first 30 days, you should be checking in almost daily to make sure your employee is feeling comfortable and welcome.  Once you get past the first 30 days, maybe take check-ins down to once a week.  After that once a month.  

And check-ins don’t always have to be about work.  I like to check in on my employees’ kids, dogs, kittens, travel plans, etc.  Having that personal connection with you may be what keeps your employees in place.  Plus I absolutely love getting to see pics of cute babies, dogs and kittens… so it’s a bonus for me.  

These tips plus a solid onboarding plan AND a plan of action to make your new employee stick, will help reduce turnover in your office.  


Holli Perez

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