Aug
31
2016

Ever wonder how a great practice culture gets started? Think of it as the root of a flourishing tree.

Culture has many branches and each one needs to be nourished in order to thrive. At the base of all these branches is an agreed-upon code of conduct. It’s the set of expected behaviors that every team member abides by—and the consequences when these expectations are not met. What shapes these behaviors? It starts with your employee handbook.

In addition to including policies required by law, your employee handbook provides an opportunity to shape behaviors in your practice and address sticky situations before they come up, such as gossiping, networking on social media, showing up late for a shift, or wearing inappropriate clothing or jewelry. This will help introduce new employees to your practice and remind current employees of what is expected of them. When you need it, your employee handbook can also be the enforcer when an employee violates a policy.

To keep your staff accountable, every team member should sign an acknowledgment of receipt to ensure he or she has received, understands, and agrees to abide by the policies included in the employee handbook. Keep this in your personnel file so it is easily accessible, if necessary. In some cases, it may be helpful if any dispute reaches a legal level.

Does creating an employee handbook seem like a daunting task? You don’t have to start from scratch. The AAHA Guide to Creating an Employee Handbook was developed to provide basic information for veterinary practices wishing to establish or update their own employee handbooks. How you use, change, or modify the material in this guide is entirely up to your practice’s management philosophy.

Your employee handbook is already shaping your culture. Make sure it’s conveying the right message. 

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