California does not require dental practices to create an employee handbook. However, it’s still a good idea to have one, as a handbook can help create expectations for employees and ensure your practice is protected against certain claims.
If you are working in a veterinarian practice, you know how complicated and busy your life is. Generally speaking, you want to focus on your customers who have four legs, not your employees who have only two!
That being said, the only way to ensure your practice runs smoothly is to create reasonable expectations and clear guidelines about how you expect your employees to behave and work while they are on the clock. This means you need an employee handbook, which means you need to effectively implement that handbook. Here are some tips on how to do that, and how HR for Health can help you create the right handbook for your veterinary practice.
Why Does My Veterinary Practice Need an Employee Handbook?
The simple truth is that every practice needs an employee handbook. There are many reasons this is the case, including:
- A handbook can set the stage for employee conduct.
- A handbook can be used to explain the various types of employment offered at the practice, differentiating between full-time, part-time, exempt, non-exempt, and more.
- It can be a legally binding document that can protect your practice from claims of discrimination and/or unequal treatment.
- It can be used to show your compliance with various local, state, and federal labor laws.
What Should Be in This Handbook?
Every employee handbook will contain different information depending on the size and type of veterinary practice you operate. However, some information will be the same. This includes:
- Information on hiring and firing.
- How to access various benefits, including PTO, health, vision, and vacation;
- Statements of non-discrimination and anti-sexual harassment, including ways to remedy any such complaint.
Finally, you must constantly keep an eye on the changing human resource legal space. Laws surrounding human resources are constantly changing, and this means it’s incumbent upon you — or your third-party provider — to ensure your handbook is up to date.
Check out our 2022 employee handbook update. This update contains a variety of information about what human resource laws have changed, and how your handbook must be updated.
How Can This Handbook be Implemented?
Writing the handbook is only half the challenge: You must work to ensure that this handbook is implemented. Thankfully, there are a variety of proven ways this handbook can be implemented.
First, make sure your entire team has the chance to influence and implement the handbook. Actively seek their feedback in its creation where appropriate, asking them what policies or procedures they’d like clarification on or what they’d like to know that could give them more comfort. It may be easier to implement such a system by anonymously seeking their feedback, as this may make them more comfortable to speak their mind.
Next, make sure to actively communicate what is in the handbook. Handing your employees a binder and saying “here” isn’t enough, as your employees likely already have more than enough to do, and simply aren’t going to take the time to read through a binder of HR information. Instead, hold a meeting and take the time to explain to your employees what is in the handbook.
Make sure to highlight anything particularly new or noteworthy.
Make sure your employees sign a document that acknowledges receipt. This ensures there are no questions about whether they got the handbook, and can cover you if there is ever a dispute in which an employee claims they never got the handbook.
Lastly, set up a process by which this handbook can be regularly updated.
This may involve working in collaboration with a third-party — such as HR for Health — to check that the handbook is regularly updated and to confirm that the content you want added to your handbook is legally aloud. You should also monitor your employees for questions, concerns, or trouble spots, and try to keep in mind how your handbook can be updated to stop these issues or provide additional clarification.
How HR for Health Can Help Create and Implement Your Handbook
Your practice is difficult to manage, and your schedule is a busy one. At HR for Health, we have years of experience working with an array of veterinary, medical, and dental practices.
We know the challenges of your schedule and can work with your business to develop a comprehensive handbook at a pace that works for you.
We can also help improve your HR operations — including hiring, firing, and access to software that can easily manage your various administrative functions.
Interested in learning more? Schedule a free, no-obligation call today!