Putting New Employees on the Job

Practice owners bring on new employees for a variety of reasons. Often, when practices are undergoing expansion of production and income, they require increased staffing. Or, due to poor past hiring procedures practice owners find that they have to replace some employees who are poor performers. There is a natural attrition rate as well when a staff member moves out of town, gets a higher paying job, etc.

Many past Practice Solution articles have been written on numerous aspects of our successful hiring procedures, including testing, how to conduct proper interviews, how to weed out non-qualified candidates, legally acceptable and unacceptable questions to ask, etc. This article will cover what to do once you have decided to hire a new staff member. The first thing to do is have them complete all appropriate paperwork. This would include signing whatever employment contract you use as well as having them read all of the appropriate office policies and attesting to having read them.

Personnel File

A personnel file is vital for maintaining proper documentation on every employee. You can set yourself up for legal problems in the future if you don’t have this properly in place. Therefore, creating a personnel file for the new employee is one of the first things you should do after hiring the person.

The office manager should create a personnel file for the new employee which contains:

  • The full job application and the resume turned in during the hiring process.
  • Any other forms used in the hiring process.
  • Any tests taken.
  • Any interview notes, write ups, etc.
  • Employment contract.
  • A copy of the policies the new employee read and signed.
  • A checklist of everything the office manager will be doing with the new employee to bring them onto the job. Make sure the checklist is filled out as each item is done.

As the new employee becomes a regular employee, the personnel file should be constantly updated with job reviews, disciplinary warnings, commendations, etc. The personnel file is your key management tool for documenting everything having to do with that employee, from the time they are hired until the time they leave, for whatever reason.

Office Policies and Job Descriptions

Every office should have an employee manual with all relevant office policies. You should have basic office policies that cover hours of operation and work schedules, discrimination, and harassment, including resolution procedures, job reviews, employee classifications, vacation policy, etc.

When a new employee arrives, make sure that you give them the appropriate policies in some type of “welcome pack.” Give them a deadline to have them read, and have some form of written attestation that the policies were read and understood.

Having written job-descriptions is also essential to smoothly putting a new employee on the job. If bringing on a new employee involves another employee leaving, see to it that the employee who is leaving updates any existing job descriptions or, if none exist, writes up all of the duties and functions of the job to be performed. Needless to say, if you have just fired an employee, or an employee quits under less than ideal replacement circumstances, it may be difficult, if not downright impossible, to have the departing employee do such a write-up. Therefore, having existing job descriptions already in place is vital to any job/employee transition and a smooth running office in general.

Assuming you have a job description for this position, give the new employee a copy of it with a deadline on when it is to be read. Insure that the job description includes:

  • the purpose/mission statement of the office as a whole,
  • what an ideal staff member is,
  • the purpose, product and statistics of that job, and
  • all of the relevant procedures and write-ups relating to the job.

Whenever you are updating job descriptions, make sure the following points are included in the update:

  • any little things that are required of the position on a day-to-day basis which have proven to be successful;
  • special things that existing and/or previous employees do that they feel are beneficial and helpful to the doctor, other staff and patients; and
  • anything that a new employee would need to know, such as where things are kept, where things can be found, who handles various functions, specific policies relating to that position, etc.

The doctor and office manager should review these updates and make any necessary additions, changes and modifications to insure that a full job description has been finalized.

If you are in a position where job description do not exist, and/or there is no one available to do them initially or write later updates; then, the office manager should put the information together as best as they can and add it to the office manual.

Familiarizing the New Employee with the Facility

Be sure to take some time to familiarize your new employee with the office, showing her/him where things are, what they are, who uses what, etc. Walk through the practice with your new employee and encourage them to ask questions and take notes. Familiarized the employee with how your patient flow lines work and why you have them set up that way.

Getting to Know Other Staff

Have the new employee sit down with each of your other employees and get to know them. Your new employee will now feel more comfortable and more able to assimilate into the office.

Continued Training

Insure that ongoing training is occurring in the following areas. This should be done consistently, not just on a hit-and-miss basis, by:

  • the use of proper organizational requests,
  • statistics and graphs for the job,
  • proper written communication forms,
  • asking for referrals,
  • office organization,
  • specifics on the technical aspects of the job, and
  • any new office policies.

With the proper hiring and training techniques in place and the job descriptions and office policies to back it up, you can easily get new employees up and running with little hassle and great results.

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