Updated: Oct 27
An employee handbook can be a great tool for introducing new team members to the mission, values, policies and rules of your practice and, more importantly, setting expectations for future performance. That being said, it may seem like one of those tasks you can do once and not worry about again. To the contrary, the best employee handbooks are living documents. If you haven’t reviewed your existing employee handbook in a while, here are four reasons you might want to add an audit to your to do list.
Changes have been made within your practice
The most obvious reason to revisit your employee handbook is because its contents may simply be out-of-date. Practices evolve and grow. As such, certain things within them change as well, such as the company mission statement or operational policies. If your employee handbook hasn’t been adapted to account for those changes, the information you are providing, both to new employees as well as existing team members, could be incorrect. In some cases, incorrect info could leave you with a mess on your hands.
Laws and regulations have changed
If your employee handbook was created many years ago, chances are there have been a lot of changes, in particular when it comes to state or federal employment laws. For example, the regulations surrounding things like paid sick leave are continuously being revised. If your handbook contains information that is not in line with these new regulations, you could find yourself facing serious and costly consequences. Make sure your employees are being provided with the most up-to-date and accurate information available. In other words, be sure to cover yourself, just in case.
The world has changed
Undoubtedly, we are living in a world that is remarkably different today than it was even just a decade ago. These days, things like social media and cloud computing have revolutionized the workplace. Unfortunately, along with the many benefits technology has brought, there are also greater risks. If it’s been awhile since you’ve leafed through your employee handbook, there’s a good chance it needs to be updated to include information on things like safe social sharing and other tech-related policies. Again, setting expectations is the goal, so be proactive.
Your employees could use a refresher
If your team has been in place for a while, first – kudos to you for rocking the retention rate. Second, it’s probably been years since they dusted off their employee handbooks. Now’s as good a time as any for a refresher. Even if you decide there’s not much in your existing handbook that needs to be changed, reminding your team to take another look might be a good idea. If there’s anything in particular you’d like to highlight, such as certain policies that seem to have fallen by the wayside, consider holding a brief meeting to go over them.
While there’s no law requiring that veterinary practice owners supply their employees with a handbook, the fact is, doing so can have a positive effect on staff performance, ultimately your bottom line. The key is making sure yours is up-to-date and contains accurate, appropriate information. By conducting regular audits of your handbook, you’ll be able to maximize its impact and outcome.
Our tips, tricks, and expert advice
Why should a veterinary practice consider auditing its employee handbook?
Auditing an employee handbook ensures it reflects current practice policies, legal regulations, and societal changes, keeping staff well-informed and reducing potential liabilities.
Why could long-term employees benefit from a refresher on the employee handbook?
Long-term employees benefit from handbook refreshers to stay updated on policy changes, reinforce existing rules, and remind them of neglected practices.
What benefits can an updated employee handbook bring to a vet practice?
An updated handbook aligns staff with current policies, ensures legal compliance, sets performance expectations, and improves overall staff performance.
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