Practice Advice

How Long to Plan For Training a New Functional Medicine Team Member

new team member

Functional Medicine offices can get busy, and you may find that your staff is a bit overwhelmed and needs some more help. You are looking into qualified applicants and wondering how long you should give the new team member training. Should it take 30, 60 even 90 days? Maybe longer? Can you even stick a number of days on training? The answer is no, and here are a few reasons we believe this.

Job Title

When you hire a new team member, what job title will they have? Have they worked in a medical office before? Are they used to the way functional medicine works? How much do they know about your practice? These are all questions that you should ask yourself and even the new team member. Depending on what their job title is in your office and what they have done in the past, a new job title may be a bit overwhelming to them. 

Throwing your new team member to the wolves, so to speak, and expecting them to learn their new job will never work, but is often how things are done. Instead, try not to throw too much too fast at them and explain their exact job title to them and what you expect out of them. 

Slow Down

The office is overwhelmed, and you desperately need help. This is why you hired someone, to begin with, but slow down and train them. Teach small things first and let them accomplish those small things. Once they have learned a small task, move onto something else. Make sure they fully understand each task before moving on to the next. Everyone learns at different speeds, so a minor job might take person A longer than person B. Try not to compare new hires but focus on the learning.

Set Skill Times

When you are training a new hire, set skills times. Look at the training process you are using and break it down into more minor skills. There is no set time an employee should be fully trained, but there is a specific time a new employee should be able to learn a new skill. 

How long will you give for each new skill? One skill can be opening the mail and getting it to the correct person. This may take them a few days of doing, but they will get the hang of it in a week. Answering phones is another small task. They should have your opening verbiage down in one day, but they may not get what to do with the customer once they have them on the line for a week or so. 

The same with scheduling patients’ appointments, taking payments, checking patients in and out. Give them one small skill at a time to learn and a time frame you think they should know that skill in. Just remember these time frames are not set in stone, and everyone learns at different speeds.

Be Accountable

When you are hiring a new team member, you both have to be held accountable. You have to keep yourself responsible for training them properly and being there when they need you. This could mean slowing down appointments and giving yourself more time to teach them. To hold them accountable, you have to slow down and watch them. Then give feedback on their performance, good and bad. Check in with them, ask questions, and see what they need more help with.

When you hire a new team member, you may be excited because the workload can now be shared. It is essential to set small goals for them to learn new skills, give them tasks and objectives to meet, and not get upset if they miss some goals. More importantly, remember that you never stop learning, so is one ever fully trained for any given job! 

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