Tips for Onboarding a New Dental Associate

Developing an effective orientation process for a new dental associate is critical to the short and long term success of your team. The objective is to make sure the new hire feels welcomed, valued, and prepared for the challenges of his or her new role. On a deeper level, it’s important to understand the new hire is also forming impressions of your practice, staff, and how he or she fits into their new role as part of your team during the onboarding process. Making a positive first impression goes both ways when it comes to new hires, so make sure your practice is up-to-par with a well thought out onboarding process that achieves the above goals and sets your new hire up for immediate success and productivity.

Not sure where to start? Here is a checklist of items to help your new dental associate hit the ground running:

  • Between the acceptance and start date of your new associate, be sure to reach out regularly by phone or email and share any important updates or new practice initiatives.

  • Also be sure to invite them to social events your team may be attending. Having your staff interact with the new hire in a relaxed setting before they officially start working for you is a great way to break the ice and make sure everyone is more comfortable on the associate’s first day.

  • Be sure to convey to the associate how excited you are that he or she will be part of your dental team by:

    • Sending an email to your employees/close colleagues/vendors announcing the start date of your new hire. Include contact information for the new associate (with their permission) and be sure to copy him or her on any correspondence

    • Having others in the practice call, email, or text the new employee to congratulate and welcome them and to share contact information.

    • Sending a welcome packet of items to the new employee. A welcome packet could include a company shirt, branded notepads, pens, or role-specific tools and resources. Call to follow up and make sure the new associate received it.

    • Sending a gift to the spouse/family/significant other welcoming them to the new practice ‘family.’ Call to follow up and personally welcome them.

    • Assigning a mentor or peer to call the new employee before his or her start date for questions big and small. Ensure they’re available for the new hire post-start date for any follow up questions.

  • The mentor assigned to them should share information about the community by:

    • Furnishing all the information that relates to family activities, schools, churches, sports activities, etc. in the area

    • Taking your new hire and spouse/significant other out dinner to connect on a personal level before the start date, even if they live outside your area. A plane ticket is much cheaper than starting the process over.

  • If the new associate is relocating for their new job with you, make sure:

    • They have access to all the information and services they need to make the move as smooth as possible

    • You offer assistance in helping them find temporary housing in the area during the transition period, including recommendations on good neighborhoods and area amenities?

  • Finally, help the new associate feel prepared for their new role. Before the new associate walks in the door on their first day, be sure to:

    • Give them an agenda of what their onboarding plan will look like, including their start time and exact location. Ask for their input and make revisions as necessary.

    • Have HR send the new hire paperwork, including their benefits.

    • Update your website and make any industry-related announcements (local newspaper, industry publications, or trade magazines).

    • Have the new associate’s desk set up with supplies, business cards, logins for email, voicemail and other related technology, pass codes, etc.

    • Show the employee their new work space if the new employee is local.

    • Notify payroll of the new hire and copy the new employee to ensure signing or relocation bonuses are available on day one.

    • Have the entire office sign a welcome card that is waiting on their desk.

    • Offer to take the new employee to breakfast/lunch on their start date or send them an invitation to their welcome party scheduled on their first day of work.

With a little planning and preparation, a practice can play an incredibly instrumental role in helping a new associate feel prepared, settled, and welcomed into their new practice family.

ETS Dental is a Dental Recruiting firm specializing in finding and placing General Dentists, Dental Specialists, and Practice Leadership professionals throughout the United States.


Hiring Master Tip: Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late Hiring

Hiring Master Tip: Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late

Nov 3, 2021

As the largest and most successful dental recruiting firm in the country, we know a thing or two when it comes to growing your practice. In short, we've observed that practice...

Where Are All the Dentists? Hiring

Where Are All the Dentists?

Oct 27, 2021

 The market for dental talent has always been competitive. Several factors have combined to make what was already a tight market even more challenging. These include: Grad...

The One That Got Away Hiring

The One That Got Away

Jun 23, 2021

You thought your staffing issue was solved. You felt you had the right fit, you were confident the job offer was solid, you made the offer, and yet, somehow, they took another...

Are You Ready for What’s Next? Hiring

Are You Ready for What’s Next?

Mar 24, 2021

Everyone is trying to understand what’s coming next in a post-COVID-19 world. While we have no special foresight into the future of the pandemic, we can tell you what we hav...

The Right Questions to Ask When You Meet a Candidate Hiring

The Right Questions to Ask When You Meet a Candidate

Jun 16, 2020

There is a common perception that interviews are about putting the best face forward for both the practice and the potential employee. While it is natural to want to make a go...

Planning Ahead – Hiring for the Future of Your Practice Hiring

Planning Ahead – Hiring for the Future of Your Practice

Apr 22, 2020

With some states in the beginning stages of lifting isolation restrictions and making small, careful steps toward a new normal after the COVID-19 crisis, many of the practice ...

Interview Logistics 101: Putting a Candidate at Ease Hiring

Interview Logistics 101: Putting a Candidate at Ease

Jan 21, 2020

You think you’ve found a candidate who might just be the perfect fit and you’re looking forward to a great interview. However, your candidate could have a flight delay on ...

Ten Great Quotes to Inspire You to Find Your Next Superstar Associate Hiring

Ten Great Quotes to Inspire You to Find Your Next Superstar Associate

Jan 13, 2020

“Hire people who are smarter than you are—whose talents surpass yours—and give them opportunities for growth. It's the smart thing to do and it is a sign of high persona...

New Year. New Hire? Hiring

New Year. New Hire?

Jan 2, 2020

The big ball has dropped. The champagne has popped. The calendar page has turned.  A lot of the planning for 2020 has probably already taken place. Now it’s time to start ...

Playing to Win – How to Seal the Deal with a Potential New Hire Hiring

Playing to Win – How to Seal the Deal with a Potential New Hire

Nov 26, 2019

The rest of the corporate America is dealing with what dental practices have known for years: it's tough to attract and retain top talent. Even when you find a promising candi...