Many dentist employers do not have employee policy manuals. The excuses range from “I don’t have time to sit down and make one” to “I wouldn’t know what to put in it”. Fair enough. But here are some reasons why you should seriously consider an employee policy manual for your practice:
1. To Answer Questions
Employee policy manuals can answer many of the day-to-day questions employees may have. For example, the policy manual can answer questions about:
- lunch breaks;
- vacation time;
- booking time off;
- overtime pay;
- hours of operation;
- opening / closing procedures;
- employee performance criteria;
- harassment policy;
- statutory holidays;
- dress code;
- staff meetings;
- professional development;
- forms of discipline;
This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are also countless other matters that can be contained in an employee policy manual.
2. To Document / Set Expectations
The employee policy manual should, ideally document your expectations of the employees, including performance criteria, their obligations while at work as well as their rights.
Importantly, when you are producing your manual or working with someone, like your lawyer, to produce an employee policy manual, you get a chance to think about things like: what are my employee’s responsibilities, what are their obligations, what performance criteria should I use, how should employees handle certain situations, etc.
3. To Limit Legal Liability
A well worded and concise manual should describe and provide methods to deal with things like like harassment, discrimination, bullying, sexual harassment, etc. This helps to ensure that all employees are treated equally and situations are dealt with consistently and according to a certain standard – helping you keep out of trouble when it comes to human rights or other complaints.
4. To Operate Your Business More Effectively
An employee policy manual should include forms of discipline for certain behaviour. It should provide guidelines on how each step of the discipline should be handled and what the end result should be. This can help you and your management staff to dole out discipline in a uniform and efficient manner.
The manual should also be able to minimize employer/employee misunderstanding by providing comprehensive answers to frequently asked questions – this will save you time, money and headaches.
5. To Create An Overall Better Work Environment
By providing a uniform and unbiased set of rules and guidelines to follow and periodically reviewing, revising those rules and guidelines to match the realities of your business, you can create a better, more efficient, less stressful work environment where everyone knows their role and is treated equally.
If you would like to discuss your current employee policy manual or want to implement one at your practice, contact our employment law team.