If you are one of the lucky hospitals to have hired a newly graduated veterinarian – good for you! As a hospital administrator I always loved hiring brand new veterinarians. These newly graduated doctors came with little to no bad habits and a lot of enthusiasm. Sure, they took some time to mentor, but the time was well spent. Young veterinarians today expect mentorship, in fact they demand it. Gone are the days of the practice owner hiring a new doctor and then leaving for vacation. Of course, that should have never happened. Still, with it taking some rural practices a year or two to find a vet, I can see the need to finally take time off. However, you have waited this long, so a few more months will be worth the investment.
To start your onboarding process for any new hire, make sure you are setting clear expectations. These are often set out in a professional contract for doctors, but with technicians and other lay staff we have the job description and employee manual to rely on for rules and information. Hours to be worked, flexibility expectations, dress code, professional conduct, tardy and attendance rules and times set for feedback are all groundwork for a good beginning. Take these basics further by introducing your new staff member to the rest of the team, sharing their background, skillset and education so they can be properly utilized from day one. Set a specific trainer to help guide them with practice protocols and give them a mentor who will be their “practice friend and confidant”. This mentor will make connections to the team, introductions to your best clients and even take them to lunch those first few weeks until they are embraced by the group. Coming into a tight knit troop can be uncomfortable for someone not naturally gregarious. This person will be their go to person when they need answers.
Set goals. For new grads, start with basics such as learning the medications available and the vaccination protocols for puppies and kittens. Have them shadow you into exam rooms so they can learn the workflows and how to interact with your clients. Set graduated appointment goals. For example: Week one they will see 3 healthy pet routine appointments and one sick patient appointment per day. They will perform 3 routine spays with supervision. Do a chart review to make sure they are on point with your medical protocols. Coach as needed.
For your new technicians, similar goals can be set as to learning medications, but also where supplies are stored, how your doctor prefers their exams to flow and other basic hospital protocols. For the new CSRs, a goal to know the history of the practice, the hours, the proper way to answer the phone and how to use communication tools like #VitusVet to respond to text or accept payment online are a good start.
Set specific times and goals for training. “Follow her” will no long work– if it ever did. Employees want to know that you are invested in their improvement and growth. Lack of training was a significate reason many new employees left their jobs within a few weeks of hiring. If you don’t have a good formal training program you can ask your team to start writing down their daily duties and create a working list. I love a list to keep things organized and the training accounted for. Jumping from task to task and training piecemeal will guarantee that something important gets skipped. As the new hire completes each training module make sure they are rewarded with a pay increase. They have more skills and deserve more pay. This upward mobility helps keep the staff motivated to learn and to stay.
New staff is challenging to recruit, interview and hire so make sure you are doing your part to acclimate them into your group and make them feel welcome. Build a culture of support and financially rewarded learning and you will keep your great people for many years.
If you are interested in my onboarding list please follow this link to my website.
Here is an amazing YouTube video by Simon Sinek on the challenges businesses have with our young hires and how and why we need to step up our game to help them gain confidence. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BOf10sXFGs
As always if you need help with setting up protocols please reach out. www.dboone2managevets.com