Onboarding Pitfalls

Robyn Reis, Director of All-Star Hiring Service, discusses onboarding pitfalls in dental practices, with a focused discussion on the importance of structured onboarding programs to ensure new hires integrate well into the team and stay long-term.


About Robyn Reis

Robyn began her dental career in 1998 as a marketing and communications director for a large group practice, and instantly fell in love with the world of dentistry. She has spent every waking moment since learning, growing and collaborating with dentists and their teams utilizing her expertise in all aspects of dental practice management, marketing, communications, HR, continuing education, and laboratory sales. Robyn’s personal goals are to make a difference in someone’s life every single day and to give the best of herself to those around her.

About Alex Nottingham JD MBA

Alex is the CEO and Founder of All-Star Dental Academy®. He is a former Tony Robbins top coach and consultant, having worked with companies upwards of $100 million. His passion is to help others create personal wealth and make a positive impact on the people around them. Alex received his Juris Doctor (JD) and Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Florida International University.

Episode Transcript

Transcript performed by A.I. Please excuse the typos.


This is Dental All-Stars, where we bring you the best in dentistry on marketing, management, and training. Welcome to Dental All-Stars. I’m Alex Nottingham, founder and CEO of All-Star Dental Academy. And with me is Robyn Reis, Director of All-Star Hiring Service. And our topic is onboarding pitfalls. Please welcome Robyn Reis. Thanks, Alex. Always good to be here with you. We’re so happy to have you, our hiring guru. Out there hiring.



for dentistry, helping dental offices hire for an office, hygiene, assisting. And every time I’m talking to you, you’re always on a waiting list. So that’s a whole nother can of worms. Lots of people are hiring. They’re hiring. They all want to work with your service. For those that are interested in help with hiring, you can go to alls backslash hiring and learn more about helping you hire. So our topic, onboarding pitfalls. We are pretty good at hiring. We get them…



to the office, they find a good hire, but we wanna make sure that they stay. And that’s the beauty of onboarding. So tell me about this process, what onboarding is, what are the pitfalls and how do we resolve it? That’s our topic of today for our podcast, tell me. Awesome. Well, as you said, one of the key things that I think our hiring team does really well is weeding through all the resumes and finding those people that



really align with the vision and values of the practice. Now, once that person says, yes, you know, I wanna join your team and they do all of the paperwork and they start the first day, it really is so important to have a structured onboarding program, meaning how do we bring this new person that might have a lot of experience, might have no experience, how do we blend them into our team pretty quickly?



So there are of course four stages of team development. There are the universal behaviors that we want to pay attention to. We also want to know how well we did on the front end of setting the expectations of what this person is going to be doing and what we expect of them to do from a performance standpoint. In addition to that, it’s the behaviors that go with that. So having a structured onboarding program is so, so important.



for the long-term success of this team member to stick. Now, you and I, Alex, have talked about five steps of hiring and what that all means. We’ve talked about the statistics that are out there. We know that 69% of employees that have been polled by the Gallup organization report that if they had a structured onboarding program, they are likely to stay



three years or longer with that organization. And the reason why is because it really answers the internal questions the applicant is asking themselves. Did I make the right decision? They’re probably already employed somewhere else, or maybe they’re not, but did I make the right decision? Did the hiring give me all the information I needed to say yes to this position? Do I align with this team and the people that I’m going to be working with?



Do I know who I need to ask if I have questions? Am I clear as far as task and duties, responsibilities? And third would be, do I have opportunity to grow and learn? No one really makes a jump for a position to go laterally or behind, right? They most don’t want less duties. They want more growth. They want more opportunity.



And a lot of applicants that we talk to, that’s one of the reasons that’s prompting them, them to look is because gosh, I kind of hit the ceiling here. There’s really nowhere for me to go. I’ve learned all I can learn and I still I’m anxious. I’m hungry. I, um, I want to learn more information. So knowing that an onboarding program really is answering those unspoken questions, um, is critical to this long-term success of this person. So.



I heard it recently in a program that I attended that there were really three ways to look at training or education or engagement. And that is first you’re providing the information. That’s the onboarding program. Here’s your job duties. Here’s your job description. Here’s where you’re going to put your things. Here’s who you’re going to work with. All of that. So that’s data. That’s information. Then the stages.



implementation. So now that they’ve gotten all that information, now they can start to implement what they’re learning. That’s where your 30, your 60, your 90 day check-ins come in. And those are your formal ones where you actually do have a score sheet or a job description you’re checking off. Okay, what are the essential job duties? How quickly is this person mastering that?



and what are they looking forward to? So you’re always giving them that future focus. Ooh, once I master these technical pieces, then I’m gonna get to learn how to do that. And that’s that future focus, wanting them to learn more and be engaged. So you have that implementation. And then the last part of that process, that onboarding process, is really about integration or application of the information they’ve already learned. So…



information, implementation, integration. And, and that really, I think describes very, very well what an onboarding program can look like. And most practices, um, fall short of that, of having some kind of structure. It’s pretty much, oh, you have 10 years experience. Great here, have a seat. This is where, you know, the trays are, these are the instruments, you know, you’ll know how to put trays together. You know what you’re doing. We’re just going to let you kind of figure it out.



That is not onboarding. So, so we want to make sure that practices do have a training mentor, buddy, somebody that this new hire can go to and ask the questions. We certainly don’t want them, you know, standing around wondering and being afraid to ask questions of the doctor or anybody else, but having that training person that go to contact that they can lean on to say, okay, as I.



slowly immerse myself into this team and this a new environment. I want to know when I’m not clear, when I’m confused, when I have to wonder what I do next, who can I go to? Um, so I think that’s goes hand in hand with the onboarding is having that training, that mentor, um, that, that this person can go to and then sitting down on a regular basis and saying what’s working well, where do you find that you’re really



You know, fitting in, where does the work really resonate with you? And then what, what challenges you, what are you not familiar with? What’s new to you? Um, what technology might have you not used before? Um, things like that. Just, you know, how’s it going? Where, where are the challenges? Where can we focus more training on? And then as you move for that 30, 60, 90 timeframe.



You have a running list of things that they’ve accomplished, things that they haven’t been introduced to yet. And then of course, you know things that they’re slowly but surely mastering. I find invariably, and I know this is a study that the American Dental Association came out with or quote that staff related issues are the number one stressor for dental practices. Dentists don’t want to deal, that’s the worst, is working with the team. And so certainly the hiring service that you provide helps



get the patient to, or rather the team member to the office. And remember we also did a webinar, we did a podcast on recruitment versus hiring. That recruitment means to bring to their cause. We’re always recruiting new entrepreneurs to our business as well as new dentists to be part of the movement that is All-Stradental Academy. So it’s recruitment, not necessarily the tactic. When, so you’re kind of going in the stages that you’ve got to hire properly now that they’re here.



you get to onboarding. And onboarding, we saw that typically what an office will do is throw them to the wolves or throw them in the fire and have them figure it out. Absolutely. My wife, Heather, when she worked for my dad’s office years ago, she was surprised because she came from Bloomingdale’s and they had a structure for everything. And then when she came to the office, she said, here, pick up the phone, listen to the phone, like call. But obviously at All Star, we know what the costs are when you don’t answer the phone properly. How much money you…



you lose. We know the risk Carlton will not let you touch the phone without 90 days of phone training because they know, like in dentistry, it’s costing. If you saw my webinar, Dental Practice Excellence, I talk about how you’re losing $10,000 a minimum a month just from poor phone skills. So we want to make sure, and to your point, besides there are a couple issues we want to see. We want to retain the hire. That’s the first step.



Second step, we want to make sure that they’re very productive and efficient in the practice and they stay and they make a difference. And speaking of which, I remember Uncle Jay’s quote where he says, well, why should I train team if I’m not sure they’re going to stay? So the quote is, what if I train them and they leave? Well, what if I don’t train them and they stay? And then if they do leave. But either way, it’s costing you money. So the point here is we want to be strategic. Hiring is important. Then we want to retain them.



have a very robust onboarding process. Part of that’s gonna be clinical in nature or the position in nature. Part of it’s gonna be phone skills, scheduling, customer services, what our online membership program teaches, offices on that. And then, it’s a little outside the scope of our discussion. After you get past onboarding, it’s comprehensive training. Always training your team, creating that great environment. Maybe you go to a…



event. We just did our practice growth summit and you were one of our speakers. We had a blast there and the teams are just drinking the Kool-Aid and having a great time. Said, oh, I’m so happy to be part of this dental office and All-Star Dental Academy. We’re so happy to be part of All-Star Dental Academy. Kumbaya. Everybody’s happy. And that is we’re learning, we’re growing, we create a culture that people want to be part of that. And that’s why back to our podcast we did is we’re creating a movement in our dental practice. We’re creating movement here at



to recruit people to our cause, that they’re widgets. So we have to think strategically of what we’re looking to do. And I love this point of onboarding. That’s a critical step from the hiring process to the practice. And you described, Alex, a lot about the culture, the energy, the feeling, the environment, and that does not happen by chance. That definitely takes commitment, culture building, intention,



to say this is who we are, this is what we represent, this is what we believe in, right? It’s our belief system really that aligns and that’s also a huge part of the recruiting process. Recruiting versus hiring, recruitment is really the message you’re sending out. What are you about? Who are you? What do you represent? What are your beliefs? What are your values? And the culture is really a culmination of everything you do.



how you answer the phone, the uniforms you wear, your marketing, the new patient experience, how you answer the phone, like all of that, that’s building an inclusive culture. And people are attracted to that. So not only from a patient standpoint, but also from a team member standpoint. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again, is we do have practices we work with.



when we post a position, we get flooded with resumes. And the reason being is because this practice has such a great reputation in the community that people want to work there. They are sending in their resumes and sometimes even when there’s no position posted, they’re saying, please let me know I really wanna work there. Please let me know if you have an opening so I can apply. So that…



again, gives us great joy to work with practices that once we post a position, man, we have a flood of people to choose from because these are people that are yearning for this type of culture, this type of environment, this type of community that they want to be a part of and maybe it’s lacking where they are right now. Not to say that that practice is doing anything wrong. It’s just there’s no alignment. There’s no connection.



Um, and if anything I’ve learned about dentistry in my 26 plus years, it is about the community. It really is surrounding yourself with people, um, that you can learn and grow from, um, and a good mentor of mine once said, we, we grow together in our similarities, I’m sorry, we’ve come together in our similarities, but we grow together in our differences. So it is.



everybody bringing different experience and talents and strengths, even our own all-star team. We are as effective as we are because everybody brings a little bit something different to the table. Yeah, I love when you say that. Just today Heather was walking by and saying, man, I’m so glad you’re a visionary. I don’t want to do that. It’s nice to get the praise once in a while, but I don’t want to deal with having to look at the numbers and having to have



you know, tough conversations and having to do all that. Like it’s a lot, but I wouldn’t want to do what she does. And she loves it. And very few want to do what you do, which is lead a department that’s getting ghosted. And oh, they ghosted me again, great. But you and Jackie, your right-hand woman, I mean, you guys love, just love, my heart just opens when I think about that. Just love what you do with your team and with the doctors. And I think…



Yeah, that is something that’s wonderful about All-Star that we’re grateful for. And I like what you said, it doesn’t happen by chance. I’ll often say I’m lucky because I think luck, we know that the definition of luck, preparation meets opportunity. And that’s just not like a cliche. It’s actually researched from the book Outliers that you put in the 10,000 hours and then when the opportunity comes, you merge it. So there is some chance, meaning you have to be with the right people, but you have to be putting that out there for a long time.



and have the skills where people will follow. It says, okay, you’re a good visionary, you have your strengths and weaknesses, and you’re a good hiring service director. Everybody has their strengths and we work together. Just as a note, by the way, for the listeners, we’ll do one later podcast, but Robin, she can do a lot of things, not just hiring. She led at the Practice Growth Summit phone skills and communication program with Larry Guzard, our head instructor. We’ll do a podcast about that, which again, communication, very important.



with respect to hiring and in terms of culture and so on. So it’s just nice when that happens. And as I’m listening to what you’re saying, it’s so great. And as we’re all listening, right? When we’re having these conversations listeners, it’s not just for you, this is for us too. We’re learning as well is to reflect on what we created. But the point what Robin’s saying is so true. It doesn’t happen by chance. You’re not getting lucky. Because if you are lucky, it’s gonna go away because you have to know



why it happened and keep reinforcing. I remember like yesterday in the other room, I was having a conversation with you and you were saying, Alex, this is why I left other businesses that I work for or other companies and this is why I wanna be here. And this is what I took at the heart. And with Eric, our president of coaching, I spoke to him today about one of those issues and I said, I take to heart what people, why.



our team wants to be here. The same as you’re listening, take to heart what your team members want and why they left and why they came to you, why your patients left and came to you. So it takes intention, not luck, that we have to continue to be reinforcing these skills. And lastly, you have to put your money where your mouth is. You want a great culture. A, it’s gonna be leadership. Your ego has to be subverted. You have to be able to willing to, our integrator.



was surprised when she gives me advice and I go read the book and I do it because I wanna get better. I’ll do the best that I can with what I got and I’m gonna keep working at it. And I think she appreciates that. We all as a company do that. And I think that the dentist, the leaders, the practice owners have to set that intention and then do what it takes. Follow the process. Use, have like you said before, the right people around you, mentors. Go to the right events. We come to our events.



We’re all about that. We’re all about being congruent and supporting this system and doing it over and over again with the help of our people, our dentists and our participants and team members. It’s amazing. Absolutely. And what came to mind too, as you were just talking is not only everything you just listed, but also asking the right questions and being able to be humble enough for you to say,



Um, she’s giving it to me because she cares about me and it’s from a place of, of value and love and not from a place of, um, ill intent. So that feedback, you know, we’ll come across a different way. If it’s, if the intentions behind it aren’t, aren’t where they need to be. So, so I love the fact and yeah, Shelley has great feedback and, and.



You are a leader that allows different people to look through different lenses and give you the best feedback to make you a better leader. So, and that happens in dental practices too. And just to talk about- Well, you know- Go ahead. I was going to say, what’s interesting is dentists will often say to us, right Robin, I want my team to be proactive. I want them to love the business. Yeah.



But if you’re not giving them the power, and you’re not giving them, you’re not empowering them to do it, they won’t. If they don’t feel it’s theirs, they’re not going to do that. So we always gotta look within what you’re creating. So go ahead to that point, Robin. Well, and how do you empower someone? Well, they have to trust you, and they have to feel safe. If they make a mistake, that you’re not gonna fire them. And a lot of team members don’t feel that. So they aren’t empowered.



And so they will always stand behind, you know, I’m going to ask a question. I’m not going to take the initiative. I’m not going to be proactive because they don’t feel safe and they don’t feel trusted. Uh, and that’s again, part of the culture that you get to, to work on. Um, one of the things that jumps out to me, Robin is coaching. I just have to say, I’m listening to you. Like I say, coaching is one of the fastest, fastest ways to grow your business. Finding a good coach.



I agree. The more people, but it’s nice to have somebody outside your business. And again, you can see coaches and speakers at events. It’s good to have your own business coach or dental coach. We’re talking about ultimately coming back to the issue of onboarding is we’re bringing them in. We have to have systems in place that are constantly improving, that they’re onboarded properly and they stay because we just spend a lot of time and effort to get them to be hired.



And then we want to keep imbuing in them, comprehensive training. This is our competitive advantage, our culture. We’re constantly make posits into the business. Yeah. Remember something that Eric, our president of coaching talked about making deposits before you make withdrawals, making deposits into your business. Coaching is another mechanism that we talk about just to review. Repetition is a mother of skill. Every practice, every business follows five steps, clarity of vision. The right team to support your vision training.



ongoing training, onboarding, comprehensive training, coaching, okay, and then the mastermind effect, which can be a formal mastermind or events or groups in order to compare with other like-minded people that are doing the same things that you’re doing. Does that make sense? Absolutely. So always come back to basics. Indeed. And that also brings up what our hiring team is all about and the intention that we spend



to hire people that have sat in a seat in a dental practice because they know what it’s like. They’ve experienced it. They’ve lived it. We have tried it in different ways in the evolution of the hiring team. We tried to hire people that were really good at hiring but had no dental experience. It didn’t work. Yeah. They don’t have the empathy. They don’t have that I know where you’re… And that’s so key is that other people know where you’re coming from. They sat there. They…



they can resonate with respect to that. And it’s not just having dental experience. We tried that too, right? We tried people. Oh, yeah, of course. Got to have both. They weren’t part of the interviewing process in their former locations or things like that. So then they didn’t understand the dynamic of in the finesse that is required in recruitment and hiring. So



Um, we finally found the right formula and we’ve been very, very fortunate and blessed to have people that not only have the clinical and the, um, administrative experience, but also have been involved in the interviewing, the hiring, the terminating and things like that. So we really bring a nice blend, uh, to, to the team, um, which I think is really the magic sauce that helps our team find the right people for the clients that we work with.



So Robin, who would be a good candidate? Or I’m listening and I need help hiring. Who would be a good candidate for the hiring service and how does it work and how do I get started if I’m interested? Great question. I would say who would be a candidate is any dental practice that is struggling to find the time to…



review resumes, interview people, and deal with the ghosting and the notions. So really, any practice on the planet that is looking to hire somebody that doesn’t have the time or the resources to devote to do all the screening, do the calls, do the Zoom interviews, do the in-person interviews. And why would I, I think a common question for us frugal dentists, if I were a dentist, I’d be very frugal, right?



I’ll just do it myself. Is that recommended or is there a benefit to having an outside service to help with that? You know, nobody knows your practice better than you. And I am of the firm belief is where’s your time best spent? Where’s your office manager’s time best spent? Is it patient care, you know, following up on insurance claims, making sure, you know, financial agreements are done? Or



Is it spent weeding through Indeed or posting on Facebook or doing other things to try and find a team member for your practice? I’m going to go ahead and answer that question. And I’m going to say, yeah, your time is best spent with your patients and in your business. Allowing a hiring service like ours that has the experience, that has done all the homework, we…



don’t have long-term contracts, we don’t take a percentage of the salary. We truly work on an hourly basis. Any time that we spend on your project, we track, we document, we share with you who we’ve talked to, we share with you the results and what we can accomplish in one hour is typically a heck of a lot more than



an office manager who’s trying to check out a patient, answer a team member question, respond to the doctor, answer the phone, make an appointment, that kind of thing. You get the idea. Yeah. So what I’m thinking about is the one thing is the concept of when you look at it, most practices are about a million to two million somewhere at Paul Park, but you’re running a million dollar company.



And if you start to break it down, not how much of you’re making, although that’s one thing at the dentist or even your team is, oh, my office manager, it’s worth her time. But it’s a question of how much you’re producing in this practice and taking it away from something that isn’t your forte. We have to do that. I remember it was not Alan, Tim Twigg said, you don’t want to step over dollars to get pennies. So keeping that perspective in mind is really critical. It’s also,



nice, the professionalism as well. This is what I remember. This is what I remember. I remember when we started the hiring service, I don’t know, like six, seven years ago, we used to do a flat fee. And the problem was, well, I said, oh, it was nice for the clients because they can stop whenever they want. And your response was, no, it’s that I can let them go whenever I want. I don’t want to be stuck with that client that isn’t good. Because you were nice about the intro here with who is it for.



It’s for anybody, but there are doctors that if you’re not going to allow the process to take hold or it’s a toxic environment, we won’t work with doctors like that because look, we have great reviews online and we do that because we under promise over deliver and we’re very careful we work with. We want to take care of the dentists that need the help, that are welcome to help, not just anyone. So just wanted to put that out there. And that’s true. And I’m glad you brought that up because that is…



somewhat of a barrier that we sometimes have to deal with is doctors that are needing the help that don’t have the time, but then impede the process because they’re trying to inject certain things that we know aren’t going to work or they’re not, we haven’t built that trust or that connection with them to allow us to do what we do best. And sometimes I get it people, it’s hard to let go. It’s hard to let go of your



old beliefs or hard to let go of your old systems of how you used to recruit. And let me tell you, after 2020, yeah, all bets are off. The old way or the normal way of recruiting and hiring is completely out the window. We’ve had to re-engineer everything. And we’re gonna continue to face a crisis in the dental industry. And I’ll say this last point, Robin, as an attorney too, it’s nice having a separation between the potential hire.



and the office, just in case something was done inappropriately or what have you, there’s less conflicts. It’s always nice. So Robin, Reese, yes? Absolutely. I just want to say Director of Hiring Service, thank you so much for being on the program and joining us as always. And remember, for those of you that are listening, follow us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube. Follow us. Share all over. Follow us. Share with your friends. Follow us. You’re going to learn a lot.



Yeah, when you’re driving, when you’re watching, listen, learn, got some great content for you. And until we meet again, go out there and be an All-Star. An All-Star.



We hope you enjoyed this episode of Dental All-Stars. Visit us online at allstardentalacademy.com


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