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by in Employment Law, Handbook, HR - Human Resources

Mat Phillips

As a practice manager, for many years I’ve longed to compile an all-encompassing Employee Handbook, one that staff can have confidence in and one that backs up the credibility of the practice… and of course me!

The reality is that the day job simply gets in the way and the existing handbook, which refers to an out-of-date policy (or 20), or a superseded legal process, just has to make do until I can find time to update it. While it was always my intention to get this done, ‘more important’ tasks barged their way to the top of my in tray and this idea languished on my list of ‘really important things to do’.

If this sounds familiar, then there really is some good news… but don’t tell your boss just yet!

Practice Index has a solution for PLUS members, and one that you, the PM, can really benefit from. Simply extract the new Employee Handbook, top and tail it with your practice logo, fill in a few bits and pieces specific to your practice, and then present this to your partners as being the product of your hard work and exemplary time management. What a win!

An added bonus is that the many, many links that appear throughout the handbook refer to current and credible Practice Index policies – some of the hundreds that are available to you as a PLUS member. Simply download, top and tail again, and you’ll earn the status of ‘legend’ at your next partners’ meeting.

In assisting your drive to become your practice’s favourite PM, the good news doesn’t end there. Once you’ve bowled over your bosses, present this handbook to your staff and they’ll be delighted to have access to almost 70 pages of really useful information. This isn’t simply for the new member of staff, this is useful for all staff and it includes a reference document for the partners who, by now, will have granted you that long-desired pay rise!

Lastly, to assist you further, throughout this handbook I’ve referenced several areas where training courses for particular subjects are available on the Practice Index [HUB].

Here are eight reasons why you need a credible Employee Handbook.

1) Introduces your culture, mission and values

This handbook is a valuable resource and reference point for all members of staff. Whilst not a legal requirement, it accompanies the Employment Terms and Conditions and introduces employees to your corporate culture and how they fit in. It can be used as an aide-memoire, especially during the induction phase.

2) Communicates what is expected

Employers can refer staff to the handbook if an employee has any queries regarding policies and procedures. In the event of a dispute, the handbook offers a key reference point, detailing the terms and conditions that both parties have agreed to. It also sets the standard for the employment relationship in general.

3) Educates employees about what they can expect from management

An Employee Handbook fosters healthy relationships and outlines expectations throughout the organisation. The document is easily accessible and details what you need to do, or where you can find further information or training.

There are numerous referenced policies and procedures throughout which encourage clear communication while eliminating confusion and inconsistencies.

4) Helps ensure key policies are clearly and consistently communicated

No policy is effective if inconsistent or unreferenced. This Employee Handbook accurately communicates policies regarding the wide spectrum of employment. It’s not simply for the employee, this is an effective tool for the partners, directors and managers to facilitate a standardised and consistent response.

5) Details the nice bits

As a reasonable employer, your staff need to know their statutory rights and the details of any fringe benefits. This Employee Handbook explains all of this.

6) Ensures compliance

In our regulated business, we need to be compliant. This document enshrines all that is required in all aspects of practice business life.

7) Helps us know where we all stand

Unfortunately, relationships can become difficult in a workplace. We all need to know what to do when tricky situations arise. The Employee Handbook refers to many practice policies which detail exacting standards.

8) Allows employees to know where to turn for help

Staff are our most valued commodity and we want to forge trust and respect. Having this Employee Handbook helps everyone to know where to go if there’s an issue, or what policy to refer to should there be a need.

We all spend lots of time with our work colleagues; let’s make it a pleasurable experience. After all, the team works!

When researching the need for this Employee Handbook and what to include, I scratched my bald head, considering what would be really useful, and I hope I’ve achieved this. If you feel that certain subjects haven’t been included but would be useful, please let me know. All comments will be gratefully received, so long as they’re nice!

For more information and to access the Employee Handbook [PLUS], you can now download it here.

Mat Phillips

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