Every team member has to start somewhere. Even the most experienced team members you have were, at one point, newbies at a practice where they didn’t know what to do or how to do something. Without proper training, they would never have gotten to where they are now. Think about your own journey. Who trained you? Where would you be if they hadn’t trained you the way that they did?
Everyone is trained differently. The goal of any training is to efficiently and effectively turn a new team member into a reliable and productive team member who doesn’t need guidance every step of the way.
In the Nifty Thrifty Dentists Facebook group, Glenn Vo created a poll asking members a simple question: how do you train new team members? With dozens of responses, three preferred methods emerged.
Have a Team Leader Train Them
This strategy came in first, with thirty-five practice leaders saying that they have their team leaders train new team members.
That makes a lot of sense. To be an effective team leader, they have to know how things work best. It is a big part of their job. That makes them effective mentors to new team members because they know best practices. It’s unlikely that they’ll make a mistake when showing a new team member the ropes or train them to work in an inefficient way. And with team leaders training new team members, practice owners free up time to treat patients or break away from the practice. That said, you have to make sure that team leaders are good teachers, are patient, and do things the right way themselves.
Have the Practice Owner Train Them
This method came in second, with fourteen practice leaders saying they train their new team members themselves.
When practice owners training new team members, they maintain complete control of the process. They know the new team members will learn how to do things the right way because they are the ones who complete the training. And they are the ones who determine when training is complete. They can also observe how each new team member learns and takes constructive direction.
The problem with having the practice owner train people is that it means they will have to spend time, energy, and effort training people when they could be treating patients or working on the business side of the practice. Practice owners do so much and, if they do all the training, some of the business operations stuff can take them away from family or personal time. It can get exhausting.
Outsource the Training
Last but not least, this tactic came in third with five practice leaders saying that they outsource the training for new team members.
Say, for example, your new team member is in training to become a dental hygienist. You can hire the best expert to teach them best practices. That expert can implement the best practices throughout your practice, training each new team member based on their experience and expertise. They’ve worked with dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of dental practices from around the world. They are trained to hold people accountable and they know what works best. In other words, outsourcing training to experts could make it so your practice uses the best systems and processes in the dental industry for each role.
Hiring an expert to teach your new team member costs money, of course. If the team member doesn’t prove to be a good fit for your practice, you will have invested money into training them only to have them quickly leave your practice. This makes it very important that you hire wisely. Additionally, because you are outsourcing training, you generally won't be observing them in real time while they get trained. In this case, you might have a team leader participate in the training with them.
How Do You Train Your New Team Members?
No matter how you train team members in your practice, having the right systems and processes in place will make your practice a better and easier place to work. Every team member will be supported and know exactly how to complete their duties. How do you train your new team members? Let us know in the comments below!
To learn from other dentists and dental professionals who are building nifty thrifty dental practices, join the Nifty Thrifty Dentists Facebook group.