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Dental - Onboarding & Orientation Process Template

Use this template as a guide for your dental practice's onboarding and orientation for new hires.

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Dental - Onboarding & Orientation Process Template

Use this template as a guide for your dental practice's onboarding and orientation for new hires.


Why Onboarding and Orientation Are Important

Onboarding is crucial for a dental practice as it helps new employees integrate into the team, understand their roles and responsibilities, and contribute to the overall success of the practice. A well-structured onboarding process can increase early productivity by 70% and improve retention of new hires by 82%. This is particularly important in the dental industry, which is currently experiencing a staffing shortage.

Effective onboarding for dental practices involves more than just paperwork and orientation. It includes introducing new hires to the practice's culture, values, vision, and mission. This helps create a positive work environment, leading to better patient experiences, greater patient retention, increased case acceptance, and easier integration of new team members.

Onboarding is essential for dental practices as it helps new employees become productive and effective members of the team. A well-structured onboarding process can lead to increased productivity, improved employee retention, and a more cohesive and successful dental practice.


  1. Is Your Onboarding Throwing People Overboard?
  2. 5 Tips for a Smooth Onboarding in Your Dental Practice
  3. Improving Dental Practice Employee Culture + Onboarding During Hiring Scarcity

Onboarding vs. Orientation

Onboarding and orientation are two processes that our HR department undertakes after hiring an employee. Although the terms are often used interchangeably, they are not the same. Here are the differences between onboarding and orientation:


  • Orientation is a one-time event welcoming new hires to the company, usually on their first day.
  • The purpose of orientation is to generally familiarize the new employee with the company's vision and values.
  • Orientation provides a broad overview of expectations at work, including the company's mission, vision, and values, policies such as dress code or vacation time, and where to find resources, including HR or IT support.


  • Onboarding is the entire process of fully integrating new employees into the company.
  • The purpose of onboarding is to provide new employees with resources and familiarize them with the organization.
  • Onboarding has a series of events that provide more detail into things like job training, best practices, and company policies.
  • Onboarding primarily focuses on improving employee engagement, while orientation helps new employees familiarize themselves with their colleagues, understand organizational policies, and navigate the office space.

While orientation and onboarding may have similar purposes at first glance, the main difference between them is that orientation is a shorter part of the overall onboarding process, which can take months to a year to complete. Orientation is a time to generally familiarize the new employee with the company's vision and values, while onboarding has a series of events that provide more detail into things like job training, best practices, and company policies.

Next we'll go over what orientation will look like here at our dental practice!


Before The First Day

Onboarding is not just about training for the job, but also about integrating a new hire into the company culture. Using a tool like Trainual can streamline the process, but remember that personal interaction and support are equally important.

Preparing for the arrival of a new team member is absolutely vital. It makes the person feel welcome and sets the right tone from day one. So make sure you set up and schedule the following:

  • Workspace and equipment: Ensure their workspace is organized and inviting. For marketing roles like graphic designers or digital strategists, specific equipment such as high-performance computers, graphic tablets, or specialized software might be needed. Make sure all of these are installed and working properly.
  • Systems access: Set up their email accounts, provide access to project management tools, customer relationship management (CRM) software, and other tools we use, such as Electronic health records (EHR) software, online patient portals, online booking systems, and dental practice management software.
  • Introductory email: Send out an introductory email to the team, introducing the new member, their role, and a little bit about them personally. This helps to create a sense of anticipation and excitement about the new addition to our practice.

Introductory email example

Subject: Welcome our New Team Member!

Dear Team,

I hope this email finds you well. I am excited to announce that we have a new addition to our vibrant team. Please join me in extending a warm welcome to [New Employee's Name], who will be joining us as [New Employee's Position].

[New Employee's Name] brings a wealth of experience and expertise in [mention key skills or areas of expertise]. With their strong background in [mention relevant industry experience], we are confident that they will make valuable contributions to our team and help drive our practice's success.

Throughout their career, [New Employee's Name] has demonstrated a passion for [mention specific interests or areas of focus]. Their creative mindset, attention to detail, and dedication to delivering exceptional work align perfectly with our practice's values and culture.

As [New Employee's Position], [New Employee's Name] will be responsible for [briefly mention key responsibilities or projects they will be working on]. Their unique perspective and skill set will undoubtedly contribute to our collaborative and innovative approach.

To help [New Employee's Name] settle in smoothly, I encourage each of you to reach out and introduce yourselves. Let's extend our support, share our knowledge, and make them feel welcome as they embark on their journey with us. We believe their fresh insights and expertise will enrich our team dynamic and lead us to even greater achievements.

Please join me in welcoming [New Employee's Name] to the team. We are thrilled to have them on board and look forward to the positive impact they will make on our projects and client relationships.

If you have any questions or need further information, please don't hesitate to reach out to me or the HR team. Let's work together to ensure a seamless transition for [New Employee's Name].

Thank you for your continued dedication and commitment to our practice's success.

Warm regards,

[Your Name]

HR Manager

Welcome and Introduction

The First Day

A warm welcome can set a positive tone for the employee's journey with us.

  • Personal welcome: On their first day, personally welcome them and give them a quick rundown of their first day's schedule. Let them know where they can find their work station and any necessary login information for dental practice systems.
  • Team introductions: Take them around for team introductions. If they are a dental assistant, for instance, introduce them to the dental team and explain how their role fits into the larger picture of our dental practice. Introduce them to the dentists, hygienists, receptionists, and other staff members they will be working closely with.
  • Office tour: Provide a thorough tour of the office, highlighting important areas like treatment rooms, sterilization area, reception desk, and waiting room. Show them where the dental supplies and equipment are stored. Be sure to also cover the important locations like restrooms and emergency exits. Lastly, show them the staff break area or coffee station where they can relax during breaks.


📚 Blog: Help New Hires Feel Included – Here's How

Role Overview and Expectations

It's important for new hires to understand their role, responsibilities, and what is expected of them.

  • Job description review: Go over their job description and key responsibilities. Explain the metrics or KPIs that will be used to measure their performance. For medical staff, this could looks like patient retention rate, or average treatment time.
  • 🔥 Tip: Remember to show them where their responsibilities are documented in Trainual! They can head to their Trainual profile to check them out at any time.
  • Team dynamics and workflow: Discuss how their role aligns with the rest of the team, how work typically flows within the agency, and whom they'll be working with directly.
  • Performance goals: Set clear performance goals for the first 30, 60, and 90 day

👉 Snag job scorecard and 30-60-90 templates.

The First Week


Providing the right training from the start is vital for setting up the new hire for success. Your team will use Trainual for this (more on this later!). But remember that each new hire will need training specific to their role, including:

  • Software training: Organize detailed training sessions for any dental-specific software or tools they'll be using. For instance, a dental assistant would need comprehensive training on practice management software or digital imaging systems commonly used in dental practices.
  • Clinical procedures training: Provide hands-on training and demonstrations on common clinical procedures performed at the dental practice. This could include training on proper dental hygiene practices, sterilization techniques, taking dental X-rays, or assisting the dentist during procedures.
  • Patient management training: Explain the dental practice's internal processes related to patient management, appointment scheduling, insurance verification, and billing. Ensure that new hires understand the protocols for managing patient records and maintaining patient confidentiality in compliance with HIPAA regulations.
  • Team collaboration and communication: Emphasize the importance of effective teamwork and communication within the dental practice. Provide training on coordinating with other dental professionals, such as dentists, hygienists, and administrative staff, to ensure smooth workflow and quality patient care.
  • Safety and infection control training: Train new hires on essential safety measures and infection control protocols specific to dental practices. This includes proper hand hygiene, wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), sterilization of dental instruments, and maintaining a clean and safe environment for patients and staff.

So, make sure the important stuff is documented in Trainual for their first week!

Assign a Mentor

Having a mentor or buddy can significantly ease the onboarding process.

  • Choose the right mentor: Pair the new hire with an experienced colleague who can guide them during their initial weeks. This person should be someone patient, approachable, and knowledgeable about our agency's culture and work processes.
  • Mentor's role: The mentor will offer insights into the agency's culture, be available to answer any queries, and provide assistance when needed.

Check-in Meetings

Frequent communication during the initial phase helps to quickly identify and resolve any issues.

  • Regular meetings: Arrange regular one-on-one meetings during the first few months. Use these meetings to address any issues, clarify doubts, provide constructive feedback, and track progress on their performance goals.
  • Open communication: Encourage the new hire to share their experiences, ideas, and any challenges they might be facing.

Using Trainual For Onboarding

About Trainual

Trainual is a platform we use for efficient onboarding and ongoing training. It centralizes our processes, policies, and SOPs into a searchable, trackable system.

Why Trainual

Trainual allows us to streamline our onboarding process, ensure consistent training, and keep everything updated in one place. It's a great tool for new hires to get up to speed quickly and understand their role and responsibilities better.

Keeping Trainual Up to Date

Keeping our small business Trainual account up-to-date is important for a number of reasons:

  • Accuracy: Processes, protocols, and procedures can change over time, and having the most recent information is essential to ensuring employees are operating accurately and effectively.
  • Efficiency: With up-to-date information, new hires or existing team members can quickly find the information they need without wasting time searching for it or asking others.
  • Consistency: Keeping all training materials, policies, and procedures in one place ensures that everyone is on the same page and there's consistency in how tasks are executed.
  • Compliance: If there are changes in regulations that affect your business, it's crucial to update this information in Trainual. This helps maintain compliance and mitigates risks associated with non-compliance.
  • Training: When information is updated, you can track who has seen and understood the new material. This helps to ensure all team members are trained on the latest procedures.
  • Empowerment: An up-to-date Trainual account allows team members to self-serve information when they need it, which empowers them to work more autonomously and confidently. And you can say goodbye to those pesky new hire questions that you've gotten over and over (and over) again.
  • Business growth: As our business grows, roles may evolve, new positions may be created, and strategies may change. Keeping Trainual updated reflects these changes and supports your business growth.

Remember, the usefulness of Trainual as a tool is only as good as the information it houses. It's therefore critical to ensure that your Trainual account is regularly updated and maintained for the benefit of your team and the success of your business.

Always update Trainual when there are changes in processes, tools, or responsibilities. Involve the team in keeping Trainual updated and encourage them to suggest any improvements.

Adding New Hires to Trainual

As soon as the new hire is set up with their official email, invite them to Trainual. When inviting them, be sure to head to the "Advanced settings" dropdown and:

  • Add them to roles. That way, their teammates can see their position, manager, and responsibilities — on the employee directory, org chart, and role chart. Plus, this allows them to access role-specific processes and policies.
  • Give them a permission level based on their knowledge, level of leadership, and how they can help you document business processes.
  • Make sure to check the option "Show profile in the directory."
  • Add their manager in the "Reports to" section. This automatically adds them to the org chart.

Your to-dos

After you invite your new hire:

  • Ensure the role's responsibilities are up to date.
  • Add individual responsibilities for the new hire, as needed.
  • Assign them individual subjects as needed (that aren't role-based and automatically assigned to them with the role(s) you added them to).

New hire to-dos

Next, ask your new hire to:

  • Add a bio. Be sure to tell them anything specific you'd like them to include in their bio (like past work experience — in addition to the fun stuff like where they're from, their favorite TV show, and hobbies!).
  • Add pronouns. This is done in My settings.
  • Add a phone number. This is done on their profile!


Full Integration

It'll likely take your new hire several weeks to complete all their assignments in Trainual and get into the swing of things in their new role.

To make sure they reach 100% productivity ASAP, you'll want to gradually integrate them into the team after their orientation period:

  • Gradual responsibility increase: As the new hire gains confidence and understands their role better, start to assign them more responsibilities.
  • Team collaboration: Encourage the new hire to actively engage in team discussions, contribute ideas, and fully participate in practice activities.

Questions about this SOP? Reach out to the owner of this subject via Slack.

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