Help New Medical Practice Staff Start off Right: 5 Tips

December 17, 2014

You want your new medical practice staff members to create a great first impression with the rest of the staff and physicians. Here's how to help.

Welcoming a new hire to your medical practice isn't just about ensuring the staff member is the right fit for your practice; it's also about helping the new hire fit in to your practice. Here are five tips to help new hires start off on the right foot:

1. Provide personality learning opportunities.
There are lots of different personalities in medical practices. Make sure you provide your new staff member with opportunities to learn more about her colleagues, and identify how best to work with their varying work styles. Mary Pat Whaley, founder of Manage My Practice consulting firm, suggests setting aside some time to allow the new staff member to observe each department in your practice. That will enable her to learn more about how her role relates to the rest of the practice, and get to know the different people she will be working with.

2. Check in frequently.
Don't just throw a new staff member to the wolves. Check in with him frequently. Touch base with him for a few minutes each day on his first week, suggests Cynthia Blain, director at healthcare consulting firm SS&G Healthcare. Observe how the new hire is doing, and redirect him if necessary. Or provide suggestions regarding areas he might improve.

3. Provide Q&A guidance.
Your staff members are busy, so it can quickly become annoying when a new hire bombards them with questions - especially when those questions fall outside their realm of expertise. Help your new hire out by discussing who she should go to for common questions, such as an issue with a paycheck or a tech problem.

4. Share suggestion protocols.
New staff members have a fresh perspective, so they more easily notice tasks or processes that can be improved. Still, make sure new hires point these things out the right way, says Carol Stryker, founder of practice management consulting company Symbiotic Solutions. "Nobody likes a new hire that says, 'Well, why do you do it that way? Well, wait a minute, that doesn't make sense,'" she said. "... That's not a way for a new hire to be popular." Encourage your new hire to share his suggestions, but ask him to do so with you privately.

5. Identify quirks and hot buttons.
With various personalities, come various personality quirks and preferences. Inform your new hire about these quirks so that she doesn't get into trouble later. For instance, if one of the physicians hates when staff answers the phone when in mid-conversation with him, tell the new hire. Vice versa, if one physician wants all phone calls to be answered within three rings regardless of whether she is speaking with the staff member, make sure the new hire is aware of that.