Private Practice Onboarding - MEG blog

Physical Therapy Onboarding: How to Steer Staff To Success

(Updated March, 2024)

Recruiting, hiring and retaining staff is a critical investment in the future of your physical therapy practice. And, while you can master the recruiting or hiring process, it all falls flat if you can’t retain the employee. So, in order to set your staff up for success, you must be intentional with the first experience your employee faces in their new role: onboarding. 

How is onboarding handled in a physical therapy practice, and why is it so important?

What Is Employee Onboarding?

Onboarding is when new employees are provided with training and information to help get them up to speed on how the company works. This is where they get their first taste of the culture that permeates the practice as well as the operational aspects that will provide the structure and environment that will become their second home. 

This can be a process that ranges in time based on the size of the practice or the scale of their role and responsibilities. Onboarding is a way to convey their hired role, expectations of them, and the larger culture of the company.

How Does Physical Therapy Onboarding Work?

In many ways, private practice onboarding functions similarly to other forums of onboarding (meet the team, sign papers, get started, etc.), but physical therapy onboarding can stand out due to the range of tasks and training that consists of administrative duties to clinical, case-based duties. Some clinics may use onboarding to cover all roles depending on the hired position or the size of the practice.

Typically, onboarding is handled by someone in a leadership or multi-departmental role. This may be the owner, supervisor or HR staff. Onboarding should also include time with different employees to provide guidance and different perspectives of the business and patient experience. This is how strong relationships are built, and increase your chance of transforming the employee into a loyal, contributing team player. Don’t just tell them the company culture – show them by revealing the values at work within your practice.

Neglect Onboarding at Your Own Peril

It’s important to get the onboarding process right, because the Society of Human Resource Management claims that businesses can spend as much as $240,000 finding, replacing and training new employees after a staff member quits. Here’s everything that can go into those numbers:

  • Recruitment advertising fees and outplacement services
  • Staff time searching for replacement and interviewing
  • Relocation and training fees for replacement hires
  • The negative impact on team performance
  • Lost clients or disrupted services
  • Weakened employer brand
  • Worst case: Litigation fees for any disputes

Improve Your Private Practice Onboarding Process with LMS

Alongside having a check-in schedule and arranging times for different staff to meet with the new hire, we recommend using an LMS to improve and standardize your onboarding process

There’s no need to recreate the onboarding process from scratch every time you hire someone – and certain areas of your business operations don’t need to be repeated over and over again. You shouldn’t worry that a key element is missed or important information isn’t conveyed. 

The LMS side of your onboarding process can take care of that for you.

Three Benefits of Physical Therapy Onboarding

1. Getting Acclimated

Don’t pour too much on too quickly. Give your staff a chance to consume information at their own pace in order to acclimate them more effectively. Acclimation is when the employer provides an employee with a comprehensive overview of a physical therapy practice’s goals and philosophy. This is where employees learn how to think about the purpose of the practice and start becoming part of the team.

2. Engagement is Key

Engaged employees are some of the greatest assets in any physical therapy practice because they are the ones who feel connected to the business and bring the best ideas and care forward. Clinics with more engaged staff carry many advantages, including lower turnover, better safety records and increased patient satisfaction.

3. Employee Retention

Onboarding is an investment, so when you take the time to nurture your new hires with private practice onboarding fully, you are thinking in the long term. Fully acclimating an employee into the practice’s culture and process makes it much easier for them to feel invested in and to stick around. Employee turnover can be reduced by not just treating employees as slot-fillers, as some orientations may feel, but rather as partners in the enterprise.

Review more tips for recruiting A-team players on Brian’s podcast.

Comparing Onboarding vs. Orientation

Orientation is another standard process used to introduce new hires into the workplace, but it is not as comprehensive as onboarding. Onboarding is a more lengthy and laborious process than an orientation.

Orientation is often used when multiple staff are hired at the same time and essentially serves as an efficient way to process new hires, introduce them to the team and mission and get them ready to work. It can span from a couple of hours to an entire day, depending on what is covered. On the other hand, onboarding can take weeks or months in some cases. 

Transform Your Private Practice Onboarding

If you want to give your staff the best head start at being successful within your private therapy practice, then let’s discuss your current onboarding process. The team at MEG can provide a one-on-one evaluation and even introduce you to programs and certifications that will help you recruit and hire staff – then acclimate, engage and retain those employees, securing your investment in them and their talents. 

Create happy, onboarded employees who help you keep your attention on the business.

Free Private Practice Assessment from MEG

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