Ultimate Onboarding Checklist for Associate Dentists: Ensuring Success from Day One

Ultimate Onboarding Checklist for Associate Dentists: Ensuring Success from Day One

No items found.

Are you ready to turn your new associate dentists into key assets for your practice from day one? The onboarding process can make or break their success and your practice's efficiency. This guide provides a comprehensive checklist and detailed steps to ensure your new hires are not only well-prepared but also seamlessly integrated into your team. From pre-onboarding preparations to long-term development, each step is designed to set your associate dentists up for excellence. Dive in and discover how to transform your onboarding process into a strategic advantage for your dental practice.

I. Pre-Onboarding Preparation

Effective pre-onboarding preparation lays the groundwork for a smooth and successful integration of a new associate dentist into your practice. This phase involves clear communication, thorough documentation, and meticulous planning to ensure that both the practice and the new hire are fully prepared for the first day and beyond.

1. Job Offer and Contract

Review and Sign the Employment Contract

A detailed and clear employment contract is essential to set the expectations right from the start. This document should cover:

  • Salary and Benefits: Outline the base salary, bonus structures, and any benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, and continuing education allowances.
  • Work Hours and Schedules: Define the expected work hours, including any on-call duties or weekend shifts.
  • Duties and Responsibilities: Clearly state the roles and responsibilities of the associate dentist, including clinical duties, administrative tasks, and any expected participation in marketing or community events.
  • Non-Compete Clauses: Explain any restrictions on practicing within a certain radius of the practice after leaving the job, to avoid future legal disputes.
  • Termination Terms: Detail the terms and conditions under which either party can terminate the contract, including notice periods and any severance packages.

Real-Life Example: At Smile Bright Dental, Dr. Johnson sits down with each new associate to personally review the employment contract, ensuring all terms are understood and agreed upon. This step fosters trust and transparency, setting a positive tone for the new hire.

2. Licensing and Credentialing

Ensuring that your new associate is properly licensed and credentialed is crucial for compliance and smooth operational integration.

  • Verify State Dental License: Confirm that the associate’s dental license is valid and up-to-date. This can usually be done through the state dental board’s online verification system.
  • Complete Credentialing with Insurance Companies: Credentialing can be a lengthy process, so start this as soon as the offer is accepted. This involves submitting various documents such as the dentist’s license, DEA certificate, malpractice insurance, and detailed CV to the insurance providers.


Gather all necessary documents: state dental license, DEA certificate, malpractice insurance, and CV.

State Dental License

  • Ensure validity and compliance with state regulations.
  • Obtain a photocopy or digital copy of the state dental license.
  • Verify the license status and validity using the state dental board’s online system.

DEA Certificate

  • Ensure the new associate has a valid DEA certificate.
  • Collect a copy of the DEA certificate.
  • Confirm the registration number and expiration date.

Malpractice Insurance

  • Obtain proof of malpractice insurance coverage.
  • Ensure the policy includes coverage amounts, policy number, and insurance provider’s contact information.
  • Note the renewal dates to ensure continuous coverage.

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

  • Request an updated CV from the associate.
  • Ensure the CV is accurate and up-to-date, highlighting any specialized training or relevant experience.

Submit credentialing applications to major insurance providers.

Compile Credentialing Packet

  • Ensure the credentialing packet includes:some text
    • State dental license
    • DEA certificate
    • Malpractice insurance
    • CV
    • Any additional documents requested by insurance providers
  • Complete the application forms provided by each insurance company.

Submit Applications

  • Submit the credentialing applications through the preferred method of each insurance provider (e.g., online portals, email, or mail).
  • Request confirmation of receipt from the insurance providers.

Credentialing Management

  • Create a dedicated folder or digital file for each insurance provider.
  • Use a credentialing checklist to track the status of each application.

Follow up regularly to track the status and expedite the process if needed.

Set Follow-Up Schedule

  • Contact insurance providers within two weeks of submitting the applications.
  • Schedule follow-ups every two to three weeks until the credentialing process is complete.

Communication with Insurance Providers

  • Maintain consistent communication with the insurance provider’s credentialing departments.
  • Address any issues or additional document requests promptly.

Expedite the Process if Needed

  • Escalate the issue by contacting a supervisor or manager within the insurance provider’s credentialing department if the process is taking longer than expected.
  • Provide any additional information or documentation requested to expedite the process.

Real-Life Example: When Dr. Lee joined Kids Smiles Dental, the administrative team ensured all credentialing paperwork was submitted well in advance. Regular follow-ups with insurance companies ensured Dr. Lee was fully credentialed and ready to see patients from day one.

3. Initial Communication

Establishing clear and welcoming communication before the first day helps new associates feel valued and informed.

  • Send a Welcome Email: A personalized welcome email should include:some text
    • A warm greeting and congratulations on joining the team.
    • First-day agenda, including time and location to report.
    • Dress code guidelines.
    • Required documentation and items to bring.
    • Contact information for any pre-onboarding questions.

Example: Sunshine Dental sends a personalized welcome email to all new hires, outlining their first-day agenda, introducing key team members, and providing a checklist of items to bring. This proactive approach helps new associates feel welcomed and prepared.

  • Schedule a Pre-Onboarding Meeting: Arrange a meeting with the HR manager and the practice owner, if possible, to answer any remaining questions and provide additional details about the onboarding process. This meeting can be conducted virtually or in person.

Real-Life Example: At Bright Smiles Dental, new associates have a pre-onboarding meeting where they can ask questions, meet key staff members, and get a better understanding of what to expect on their first day. This step ensures they feel supported and confident before they even start.

Effective pre-onboarding preparation is essential for setting the stage for a successful integration of your new associate dentist. By meticulously covering every detail, from contracts to initial communication, you ensure a smooth transition that benefits both the new hire and your practice.

II. First Day Essentials

first day as an associate

The first day is critical for making a lasting impression and setting the tone for a new associate dentist’s experience in your practice. It’s essential to ensure that the new hire feels welcomed, informed, and equipped to start their journey with confidence. Here’s a detailed guide to make the first day a success.

1. Welcome and Introduction

Greet the New Associate with a Welcome Package

Starting the day with a thoughtful gesture can make a new associate feel appreciated and valued.

  • Welcome Package Contents:some text
    • Branded merchandise such as a mug, pen, and notepad.
    • A personalized welcome note from the practice owner.
    • An employee handbook and any other relevant documents.
    • A list of key contacts and their roles within the practice.

Real-Life Example: At Bright Smiles Dental, new associates receive a personalized note from the practice owner, Dr. Thompson, a branded coffee mug, and a comprehensive tour of the facility. This gesture makes new hires feel valued from day one.

Introduce the Associate to the Team

Introducing the new hire to their colleagues helps them start building relationships and understanding the team dynamics.

  • Team Introduction:some text
    • Organize a small welcome gathering with refreshments where team members can meet the new associate.
    • Ensure the new hire is introduced to key staff members, including the office manager, lead dental assistant, and hygienists.
    • Provide a brief overview of each team member’s role and how they will interact with the new associate.

Real-Life Example: At Smile Makers Dental, new associates are introduced to the entire team during a morning coffee break. This casual setting encourages conversation and helps the new hire feel more comfortable.

Tour of the Facility

A comprehensive tour of the facility helps the new associate familiarize themselves with their new workplace.

  • Facility Tour:some text
    • Show the new hire around the clinic, including the reception area, treatment rooms, sterilization area, and break room.
    • Highlight important locations such as emergency exits, supply closets, and restrooms.
    • Explain any specific protocols or practices unique to different areas of the facility.

Real-Life Example: Dr. Patel’s first day at Family Dental Associates included a dedicated tour of the facility, with explanations about the use of different areas and introductions to team members in each department.

2. Administrative Setup

Complete HR Paperwork

Ensuring that all necessary HR paperwork is completed is essential for a smooth onboarding process.

  • HR Paperwork Includes:some text
    • Tax forms (e.g., W-4).
    • Direct deposit information.
    • Emergency contact details.
    • Employee confidentiality agreements.
    • Review and signing of the employee handbook.

Real-Life Example: At Health First Dental, Dr. Kim spent her first hour with the HR manager completing all necessary paperwork, ensuring that her employment records were in order and she was ready to start her new role without any administrative delays.

Set Up Email Accounts and Provide Login Credentials

Providing immediate access to essential systems and accounts ensures the new hire can begin their duties without interruption.

  • Account Setup:some text
    • Create and configure email accounts.
    • Provide login credentials for practice management software and electronic health records (EHR) systems.
    • Ensure access to shared drives and other necessary digital resources.

Real-Life Example: At Gentle Care Dental, every new associate’s workstation is pre-configured with email and software logins, ensuring they can start communicating and accessing patient information from day one.

3. Workstation Setup

Assign and Set Up a Personal Workstation

A well-prepared workstation allows the new associate to start their duties without unnecessary delays.

  • Workstation Setup:some text
    • Assign a dedicated workspace with a desk, chair, and computer.
    • Ensure the workstation is stocked with necessary dental instruments and supplies.
    • Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) appropriate for their role.

Real-Life Example: At Elite Dental Group, each new associate’s workstation is set up with a personalized nameplate, fully stocked with dental instruments, and pre-configured with all necessary software. This attention to detail allows new associates to focus on patient care from day one.

Ensure Software and Hardware are Functioning Properly

Testing and confirming the functionality of all equipment prevents technical issues that could disrupt the new associate’s workflow.

  • Technical Setup:some text
    • Test computers, software, and any specialized dental equipment.
    • Ensure the new hire has access to printers, scanners, and other office machinery.
    • Provide training on any practice-specific software or tools.

Real-Life Example: Dr. Nguyen’s first day at Community Dental Care included a session with the IT team to ensure all his software and hardware were functioning correctly, allowing him to start seeing patients without any technical hitches.

By meticulously planning and executing the first day essentials, you set a positive and professional tone that can significantly impact the new associate’s experience and long-term success within your practice. This thorough approach ensures they feel welcomed, valued, and ready to contribute effectively right from the start.

III. Training and Orientation

Training and orientation are critical components of the onboarding process that ensure new associate dentists are well-prepared to deliver high-quality care and integrate smoothly into the practice. This phase involves comprehensive training on clinical protocols, office policies, and specialized procedures, coupled with an introduction to the practice’s culture and values.

1. Clinical Protocols and Procedures

Review Clinical Protocols and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

Providing detailed information on clinical protocols and SOPs ensures consistency and high standards of patient care.

  • Clinical Protocols:some text
    • Develop a comprehensive manual or digital resource outlining clinical protocols.
    • Include guidelines on patient assessment, treatment planning, and follow-up care.
    • Detail emergency procedures and protocols for handling complications.

Real-Life Example: At Health First Dental, Dr. Kim received a digital handbook with detailed clinical protocols. During her first week, she attended daily briefings with senior dentists who walked her through these protocols and provided practical demonstrations.

Training on Electronic Health Records (EHR) Systems and Patient Management Software

Familiarizing new associates with the technology they’ll use daily is crucial for efficient patient management.

  • EHR Training:some text
    • Conduct hands-on training sessions on the EHR system.
    • Provide tutorials on scheduling, patient records, billing, and coding.
    • Offer ongoing support and resources for troubleshooting.

Real-Life Example: At Advanced Dental Care, new associates spend their first few days in training sessions focused on the EHR system. Dr. Harris, for example, attended a workshop where he learned to navigate patient records, enter treatment notes, and manage billing efficiently.

Discuss Infection Control and Sterilization Procedures

Ensuring adherence to infection control and sterilization procedures is paramount for patient safety.

  • Infection Control Training:some text
    • Provide detailed training on sterilization techniques and protocols.
    • Demonstrate the use of autoclaves, disinfectants, and other sterilization equipment.
    • Review guidelines for personal protective equipment (PPE) use and disposal.

Real-Life Example: At Gentle Care Dental, Dr. Nguyen participated in a comprehensive infection control workshop where he learned about the latest sterilization technologies and best practices for maintaining a safe clinical environment.

For more detailed guidance, visit:

  • Trainual: How to Create SOPs for Your Dental Practice​ (Trainual)​
  • Design Ergonomics: Writing SOPs for Your Dental Practice​ (Design Ergonomics)

2. Office Policies and Culture

Review Employee Handbook and Office Policies

Understanding office policies helps new associates align with the practice’s operational standards and expectations.

  • Office Policies:some text
    • Distribute an employee handbook detailing attendance, dress code, and conduct policies.
    • Explain procedures for requesting time off, reporting illnesses, and other HR matters.
    • Discuss patient interaction guidelines and customer service expectations.

Real-Life Example: At Smile Makers Dental, new associates receive an employee handbook on their first day and attend an orientation session where office policies are reviewed in detail. This ensures they understand their responsibilities and the practice’s expectations.

Explain the Practice’s Mission, Vision, and Values

Introducing new associates to the practice’s mission, vision, and values helps them connect with the broader goals of the practice.

  • Mission and Vision:some text
    • Share the practice’s mission statement and long-term goals.
    • Discuss how the associate’s role contributes to achieving these goals.
    • Highlight the values that guide patient care and team interactions.

Real-Life Example: At Sunshine Dental, Dr. Patel attended a vision and values workshop where the practice’s goals were discussed. This session helped him understand the importance of his role in delivering compassionate and high-quality dental care.

Introduce Office Culture and Team Dynamics

Understanding the practice’s culture and team dynamics fosters a positive work environment and smooth collaboration.

  • Office Culture:some text
    • Discuss the practice’s approach to teamwork and collaboration.
    • Introduce social norms, communication styles, and conflict resolution strategies.
    • Highlight opportunities for team-building activities and social events.

Real-Life Example: At Community Dental Care, new associates are invited to monthly team-building events and social gatherings, which helps them integrate into the team and build strong professional relationships.

3. Specialist-Specific Training (e.g., Orthodontist)

Review Specialist-Specific Protocols and Procedures

Specialist-specific training ensures that associates are well-prepared to perform procedures unique to their specialty.

  • Specialist Protocols:some text
    • Provide training on specialized tools and techniques.
    • Review case studies and treatment plans relevant to the specialty.
    • Offer hands-on training sessions with experienced specialists.

Real-Life Example: When Dr. Garcia joined Perfect Align Dental as an orthodontist, he participated in specialized training sessions that focused on advanced orthodontic procedures and treatment planning, ensuring he was well-prepared for his role.

Discuss Case Management and Treatment Planning for Specialist Patients

Effective case management and treatment planning are crucial for delivering high-quality specialized care.

  • Case Management Training:some text
    • Schedule sessions to review and discuss patient cases with senior specialists.
    • Provide training on developing comprehensive treatment plans.
    • Emphasize the importance of patient communication and follow-up.

Real-Life Example: At Kids Smiles Dental, Dr. Lee attended weekly case review meetings with the lead orthodontist, where they discussed complex cases and treatment strategies. This collaborative approach enhanced his skills and confidence in managing specialist patients.

Provide Training on Specialist-Specific Tools and Equipment

Hands-on training with specialist-specific tools and equipment ensures proficiency and safety.

  • Equipment Training:some text
    • Demonstrate the use of specialist tools and equipment.
    • Provide opportunities for supervised practice.
    • Ensure the associate understands maintenance and safety protocols.

Real-Life Example: At Advanced Orthodontics, new specialists like Dr. Harris receive extensive training on the latest orthodontic equipment, including digital scanners and imaging tools. This training ensures they are comfortable and competent with the tools they will use daily.

By providing thorough training and orientation, you set your new associate dentists up for success, ensuring they are confident, competent, and aligned with your practice’s goals. This comprehensive approach not only enhances patient care but also fosters a positive and collaborative work environment, driving long-term success for your practice.

For comprehensive training topics and resources:

IV. Integration into the Practice

associate working for a dentist

Integration into the practice is a crucial phase of the onboarding process that ensures new associate dentists become effective, confident, and fully integrated members of the team. This phase focuses on practical patient care, ongoing mentorship, and continuous performance evaluation to facilitate a smooth transition and long-term success.

1. Patient Care and Communication

Shadow Experienced Dentists and Observe Patient Interactions

Allowing new associates to shadow experienced dentists helps them understand the practice’s approach to patient care and builds their confidence in interacting with patients.

  • Shadowing Plan:some text
    • Assign the new associate to shadow different experienced dentists over the first few weeks.
    • Schedule specific times for observing various procedures and patient interactions.
    • Encourage them to ask questions and take notes during these sessions.

Real-Life Example: At Dental Excellence Clinic, new associates like Dr. Miller spend their first two weeks shadowing senior dentists. This hands-on experience helps them learn the practice’s protocols and develop their own patient interaction skills.

Gradually Start Seeing Patients Under Supervision

Gradual integration into patient care allows new associates to build their skills and confidence while ensuring patient safety and satisfaction.

  • Supervised Patient Care:some text
    • Begin with simple procedures under the supervision of a senior dentist.
    • Gradually increase the complexity of cases as the new associate becomes more comfortable.
    • Provide immediate feedback and support after each patient interaction.

Real-Life Example: At Smile Bright Dental, Dr. Johnson implemented a phased approach where new associates like Dr. Smith initially handle routine check-ups and cleanings under supervision. As they gain confidence, they gradually take on more complex procedures independently.

Review and Discuss Patient Cases with Senior Dentists

Regular case reviews with senior dentists help new associates refine their clinical skills and develop a deeper understanding of patient management.

  • Case Review Sessions:some text
    • Schedule weekly or bi-weekly case review meetings.
    • Discuss challenging cases and treatment plans with senior dentists.
    • Encourage open discussion and feedback on clinical decisions.

Real-Life Example: At Health First Dental, Dr. Kim attends weekly case review meetings where she presents her cases and receives feedback from senior dentists. This collaborative approach enhances her learning and improves patient outcomes.

2. Mentorship and Support

Assign a Mentor for Ongoing Support and Guidance

A dedicated mentor provides the new associate with continuous support, helping them navigate clinical challenges and integrate into the practice culture.

  • Mentorship Program:some text
    • Pair the new associate with an experienced dentist as their mentor.
    • Define the mentor’s role and responsibilities, including regular check-ins and support.
    • Encourage open communication and a supportive relationship.

Real-Life Example: At Gentle Care Dental, Dr. Nguyen was paired with Dr. Lee, an experienced dentist, who provided mentorship through regular check-ins and clinical guidance. This mentorship helped Dr. Nguyen feel supported and confident in his new role.

Schedule Regular Check-Ins with the Mentor and Practice Manager

Regular check-ins ensure that the new associate’s concerns are addressed promptly and that they receive continuous feedback and support.

  • Check-In Schedule:some text
    • Conduct weekly check-ins during the initial months, then bi-weekly or monthly as needed.
    • Discuss clinical experiences, challenges, and overall well-being.
    • Provide constructive feedback and set goals for improvement.

Real-Life Example: At Advanced Dental Care, Dr. Harris has bi-weekly check-ins with his mentor and the practice manager. These meetings provide a platform to discuss progress, address any concerns, and set actionable goals.

Provide Resources for Continuing Education and Professional Development

Supporting ongoing education and professional growth helps new associates stay current with industry advancements and enhances their skills.

  • Continuing Education Support:some text
    • Offer access to dental conferences, workshops, and online courses.
    • Provide a budget or stipend for continuing education.
    • Encourage involvement in professional organizations like the ADA or AAO.

Real-Life Example: At Elite Dental Group, new associates are encouraged to attend dental conferences and workshops. The practice covers the costs and provides time off for professional development, helping associates like Dr. Garcia stay updated with the latest advancements in dentistry.

3. Performance Review and Feedback

Set Clear Performance Expectations and Goals

Establishing clear performance expectations and goals helps new associates understand what is expected of them and provides a benchmark for their progress.

  • Performance Expectations:some text
    • Define specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals.
    • Communicate these goals clearly at the beginning of the onboarding process.
    • Adjust goals as needed based on the associate’s progress and feedback.

Real-Life Example: At Community Dental Care, Dr. Patel was given clear performance goals related to patient satisfaction, clinical efficiency, and continuing education. These goals were discussed during his onboarding and reviewed regularly to track progress.

Schedule Periodic Performance Reviews and Feedback Sessions

Regular performance reviews provide an opportunity to assess the new associate’s progress, recognize achievements, and address any areas needing improvement.

  • Performance Review Process:some text
    • Conduct formal performance reviews at the end of the probationary period and then quarterly.
    • Use a structured evaluation form to provide consistent and objective feedback.
    • Include self-assessment and peer feedback in the review process.

Real-Life Example: At Smile Makers Dental, Dr. Smith’s performance is reviewed every three months. During these sessions, she receives detailed feedback on her clinical performance, patient interactions, and adherence to office policies, along with actionable steps for improvement.

Encourage Open Communication and Address Concerns Promptly

Fostering an environment of open communication ensures that new associates feel comfortable discussing any concerns and receiving support.

  • Open Communication Strategies:some text
    • Create an open-door policy where associates can freely communicate with mentors and managers.
    • Encourage regular informal check-ins to discuss day-to-day experiences.
    • Address any concerns or challenges promptly to prevent escalation.

Real-Life Example: At Sunshine Dental, Dr. Lee feels supported knowing he can approach his mentor or the practice manager with any concerns. This open communication policy helps address issues quickly and maintain a positive work environment.

By focusing on patient care, providing continuous mentorship and support, and conducting regular performance reviews, you can ensure that new associate dentists integrate smoothly into your practice.

V. Long-Term Success and Development

Long-term success and development are essential for retaining talented associate dentists and ensuring they continue to grow professionally while contributing to the overall success of the practice. This phase focuses on providing ongoing professional growth opportunities, fostering a collaborative and engaging work environment, and continuously improving the onboarding process based on feedback.

1. Professional Growth

Encourage Participation in Dental Conferences and Workshops

Continuing education is vital for staying current with the latest advancements in dental practices and technologies.

  • Conference and Workshop Participation:some text
    • Provide financial support or stipends for attending dental conferences and workshops.
    • Allow time off for professional development activities.
    • Encourage associates to present their learnings to the team, fostering a culture of continuous improvement.

Real-Life Example: At Advanced Dental Care, Dr. Harris regularly attends the American Dental Association (ADA) annual conference, with expenses covered by the practice. This opportunity allows him to stay updated on the latest industry trends and network with other professionals.

Support Involvement in Professional Organizations

Active involvement in professional organizations helps associate dentists build networks, access resources, and gain recognition in their field.

  • Professional Organization Memberships:some text
    • Encourage joining organizations such as the ADA, American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), or specialty-specific groups.
    • Cover membership fees and support attendance at organization events.
    • Promote participation in committees, leadership roles, and speaking engagements.

Real-Life Example: At Elite Dental Group, new associates like Dr. Garcia are encouraged to join the AAO and participate in local chapter meetings. This involvement provides valuable networking opportunities and keeps them engaged with the broader dental community.

Provide Opportunities for Advanced Training and Certifications

Offering advanced training and certification opportunities helps associates enhance their skills and specialize in areas of interest.

  • Advanced Training Support:some text
    • Identify areas where advanced training or certification would benefit the practice and the associate.
    • Provide financial assistance and time off for pursuing additional certifications.
    • Recognize and reward associates who achieve advanced certifications.

Real-Life Example: At Gentle Care Dental, Dr. Nguyen pursued certification in dental implantology with the practice’s support. This advanced training allowed him to offer more specialized services to patients, enhancing the practice’s capabilities.

2. Team Building and Engagement

Organize Team-Building Activities and Social Events

Regular team-building activities and social events help create a positive work environment and strengthen team relationships.

  • Team-Building Activities:some text
    • Plan quarterly team-building exercises such as workshops, retreats, or problem-solving challenges.
    • Organize social events like team dinners, holiday parties, and family-friendly outings.
    • Encourage participation in community service or charity events as a team.

Real-Life Example: At Community Dental Care, monthly team-building activities and annual retreats are organized to strengthen the bond between team members. These events foster a sense of camaraderie and improve teamwork within the practice.

Foster a Collaborative and Supportive Work Environment

Creating a culture of collaboration and support enhances job satisfaction and team performance.

  • Collaborative Culture:some text
    • Encourage open communication and collaboration among team members.
    • Implement regular team meetings to discuss cases, share insights, and brainstorm solutions.
    • Recognize and celebrate team achievements and milestones.

Real-Life Example: At Sunshine Dental, regular team meetings are held where associates like Dr. Patel can discuss challenging cases and seek input from colleagues. This collaborative approach fosters a supportive environment and enhances clinical outcomes.

Recognize and Celebrate Achievements and Milestones

Acknowledging individual and team accomplishments boosts morale and motivates associates to excel.

  • Recognition Programs:some text
    • Implement formal recognition programs such as “Employee of the Month.”
    • Celebrate professional milestones like achieving certifications, completing training, or anniversaries with the practice.
    • Offer rewards such as bonuses, plaques, or public recognition at team events.

Real-Life Example: At Smile Makers Dental, Dr. Smith was recognized as “Dentist of the Quarter” for her outstanding patient care and dedication. This recognition motivated her to continue striving for excellence.

3. Continuous Improvement

Encourage Feedback on the Onboarding Process

Gathering feedback from new associates about their onboarding experience helps identify areas for improvement.

  • Feedback Mechanisms:some text
    • Conduct anonymous surveys to gather honest feedback about the onboarding process.
    • Hold exit interviews with departing associates to understand their experiences and suggestions.
    • Schedule follow-up meetings with recently onboarded associates to discuss their feedback.

Real-Life Example: At Dental Excellence Clinic, new associates are asked to complete a feedback survey after their first three months. Dr. Miller’s suggestions led to improvements in the initial training sessions, making the process more efficient for future hires.

Implement Suggestions and Continuously Refine the Onboarding Process

Acting on feedback and making continuous improvements ensures that the onboarding process remains effective and relevant.

  • Continuous Improvement Plan:some text
    • Review feedback regularly and identify common themes or issues.
    • Implement changes based on suggestions and track the impact of these improvements.
    • Regularly update onboarding materials and processes to reflect best practices and current needs.

Real-Life Example: At Perfect Align Dental, feedback from new associates like Dr. Garcia is reviewed quarterly. The practice continually updates its onboarding program to address any identified gaps and enhance the overall experience for new hires.

Monitor the Associate’s Integration and Satisfaction Regularly

Ongoing monitoring of the associate’s integration and satisfaction helps address any issues early and supports long-term retention.

  • Regular Monitoring:some text
    • Schedule periodic check-ins with associates to discuss their experiences and address any concerns.
    • Use employee satisfaction surveys to gauge overall morale and identify areas for improvement.
    • Encourage open communication and provide channels for associates to voice their opinions and suggestions.

Real-Life Example: At Advanced Orthodontics, Dr. Lee has regular check-ins with his mentor and the practice manager to discuss his integration and job satisfaction. This proactive approach helps address any issues early and supports his long-term success with the practice.

By focusing on professional growth, fostering a collaborative environment, and continuously improving the onboarding process, you can ensure that your associate dentists achieve long-term success and development. 

Conclusion: The Key to Your Practice's Success

Effective onboarding is not just a procedural necessity—it's a critical investment in the future success of your dental practice. By meticulously following this comprehensive onboarding checklist, you ensure that your new associate dentists, whether general or specialists, are well-prepared, confident, and seamlessly integrated into your team.

Imagine this:

Your new associate dentist walks into your practice on their first day, greeted warmly, equipped with everything they need, and supported by a structured training and mentorship program. They quickly adapt, contribute effectively, and enhance the quality of patient care. This scenario isn't a distant dream; it's the reality you can create with a detailed and strategic onboarding process.

Don't leave your practice's success to chance. Implement this onboarding checklist, and watch your new associates transform into key contributors, driving your practice to new heights of excellence and patient satisfaction. Your attention to detail and commitment to their growth will not only retain top talent but also elevate your entire practice.

For more helpful tips, strategies, ideas, and marketing advice, join my weekly newsletter here.


Contact us today to start crushing it with ground marketing.