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  • Diana Weaver

Put Them on the Right Path by Orthodontic Consultants




As orthodontic consultants, we understand how today’s competitive job market, hiring and onboarding are critical processes that can make or break the success of a practice. With the right hiring and onboarding practices, employers can attract and retain top talent, boost team engagement and productivity, and improve their bottom line. By prioritizing these critical processes, practices can build a strong and motivated team that drives their success now and in the future.



Who are you searching for?


There has been a change in the candidate pool, and hiring teams have had to pivot and increase their skills to quickly assess candidates and move swiftly with hiring. Hiring for the personality and training to the skill set is very important.



The first step to hiring is to understand your current team: What are their skills, personalities, languages of appreciation and working geniuses? Having the ability to map this out with your current team gives you a leg up on what you should be looking for in a new team member; you should not target only “filling a seat” but rather enhancing the overall culture and abilities of the team. This is where personality testing comes into play.



There are several platforms to choose from and you’ll want to ensure the assessment you choose aligns with the values of your practice and is engaging for the candidate. This “fun” sets you apart from other interviews they’re going to! You’ll also want to explain during the interview the results of these assessments, because you’re not only looking for the perfect fit for your practice but also want to be the perfect fit for your candidate.



Now you’re challenged with not only filling a seat but filling it with a new team member who can fill gaps within your current team. Do you have a team of strong personalities? Maybe you need someone who has a softer style to balance these personalities. Do you have a team of jokesters and though you have a lot of fun, the productivity isn’t where you need or want it to be? Maybe you need to hire a more direct individual to balance and encourage the productivity of the team while having fun. The sky’s the limit here and you need various personalities on your team to create harmony.



Ask the right questions


The next area to take into consideration is framing your interview questions to evaluate the candidate’s emotional intelligence. Think about the questions you typically ask candidates, and ask yourself: “Do these answers elicit a response tied to a higher emotional intelligence?” If they don’t, reassess those questions. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • In a previous job, what was most likely to create stress for you? How did you react and how did you overcome it?

  • Tell me about a time when you received constructive feedback. How did you react and what steps did you take to address the feedback and improve?

  • Give me an example of a problem you have had with a team member and how you resolved it.

  • What are you looking for in a job that you haven’t had before?

It’s important to not only listen to the content of their responses but also pay attention to their tone, body language and overall demeanor. Is the candidate providing you with solid guidance on how they would handle workplace conflicts, or simply speaking poorly of another? Do they reflect the empathy needed to not only understand themselves but also have a keen awareness of others in various situations?



Strong communication skills are important in any practice and are essential to collaboration and productivity. New hires must be able to read, recognize and adapt to various situations, and this skill is something you’ll need to recognize quickly as a hiring manager.



Emotional intelligence (EQ) is an important component to aid in preventing workplace burnout. Team members with higher emotional intelligence create healthier, more productive workplaces and support the work-life alliance we all strive for.



Candidates are looking for a strong work-life balance, and it’s important to understand what this means to them and whether their definition aligns with your practice and the position you’re hiring for. For example, someone may want to drop off their child at school each day, but your practice hours begin at 7:30 a.m. You’ll need to determine with the candidate if there is flex in shifting this, or if it’s nonnegotiable.



You’d want the candidate to really take pause and evaluate whether this position is something sustainable for them long-term. This understanding from a candidate shows they know what they need to be successful—an important quality. Are they providing you with a methodical “why” or are they using this more as a cliché?



Get them on board


Now that you’ve found a great candidate who aligns with your core values, has the personality you’re looking for to support a great culture fit and has a higher EQ, it’s important to set them up for success through strong and effective onboarding processes.



Start with orienting them to your practice. Introductions to the team and an overview of your practice’s mission statement, vision and core values are an important place to start in the integration process. This provides your newest team member with an understanding of what your orthodontic practice is all about, and also provides your current team with a gentle reminder too. Win-win!



You’ll also want to provide an office tour and review your employee handbook, outlining important policies such as working hours, dress code for that position, etc. This would be a key opportunity to discuss the expectations surrounding this specific role.



I advise reviewing not only the job description as a whole but also the key performance indicators, because this is how you’ll be determining their success. We want to ensure they’re measured by metrics, not “feelings,” and leadership should provide regular feedback on those metrics so there’s an ability to pivot sooner rather than later, if needed, or if the team member needs something more or different to set them up for success.



Humanizing this process is very important for team member engagement and satisfaction! It’s always important to ensure that team members, new and old, feel heard, understood and valued. We want to duplicate the great team members we have in the practice, so partnering your new hire with a top performer who has great people skills is critical to ensuring this newest team member becomes a strong complement to your practice culture, and not just a simple “doer” of tasks.



Look to the future


You will want to create an onboarding timeline that involves strategic milestones and sets the stage for successful integration into your orthodontic practice. Start with the end in mind; when you as a leader can identify where the plane needs to land, you can then create the hubs or milestones needed each week to get you the ultimate landing you’re looking for.



At Shimmin Consulting, we break this down into easy-to-understand, measurable steps within our client learning management system, which includes core training initiatives. Clients also can integrate their own training workflows, including quizzes to test the new team member’s learning. This level of interaction makes the process more fun and engaging, using a wide variety of visual, auditory and hands-on learning abilities. I’d recommend any team structure their onboarding in a similar manner!



In conclusion, navigating the ever-evolving landscape of the job market requires a strategic approach to hiring and onboarding. The success of an orthodontic practice hinges on its ability to attract, retain and nurture talent. By prioritizing effective hiring and onboarding practices, you can build resilient and motivated teams that drive success now and into the future.



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