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Policies...boring (but maybe not)

So it is my turn to write a blog. As an HR professional I have a bit of different perspective than Margie. Some of you may think HR – BORING…but I beg to differ. HR is everything. It is your people. Without your people, what do you have? An empty office. Granted, there are some “things” you have to have in place to be in compliance, but there is also a strategy you can use to make those “things” more impactful. Wondering what you have to have in place as a small business owner? Here are the big ones:

Code of Conduct

I love Codes of Conduct! Before you check to see what is wrong with me, let me tell you this: if you want to “set the stage” for your business, your code of conduct is the first place to start a conversation. It sets the stage for everything else. It makes you articulate as a leader and business owner what matters in my practice? What are my no-go behaviours I can’t tolerate? It doesn’t have to read like a set of online “terms and conditions” that no one EVER reads. You can make it concise: What are the key points? How can you make them easy to understand? Is there a way to graphically represent them? For example, you can make it as simple as: Keep patients’ information private; Don’t accept bribes; Don’t use your phone when there are patients in the waiting room, etc. Having a Code of Conduct in place helps you verbalize what is important to your business, what you expect, and protects you if you are facing issues of performance or termination.

Fun twist: I have seen them also done with graphic design to be more engaging and easier to understand (and we have a graphic designer on hand, so could help you with that!)

Workplace Violence and Harassment Prevention Policy:

This one is not sexy, but a must-have. If you have more than six workers, you must write and post health and safety, violence and harassment policies, and make them available. No options. You just have to do it.

Drug and Alcohol Policy:

This policy is highly recommended if you are in a safety sensitive workplace. If your staff interact with patients, it is wise to have a policy in place that outlines impairment, possession and use.

Vacation Policy:

If you have several staff, a vacation policy is a good idea to avoid arguments about scheduling, carryover, “seniority”, etc.

Conflict of Interest Policy

A conflict interest policy bars employees from engaging in conduct that creates a conflict of interest, defining such a conflict broadly to include any means by which an employee might inappropriately gain a personal benefit by taking advantage of the employment relationship and clearly stating the disciplinary measures for violations.

Privacy Policy

As health providers, you hold access to sensitive medical information. The Health Information Act (HIA) establishes the rules to protect the privacy of an individual's health information and regulates how health information is collected, used and disclosed. There are further requirements under the Freedom of Information Act. As an employer you must communicate the responsibilities of your employees about privacy as they pertain to these acts.

Computer and Internet Usage Policy

This is one that I really recommend. We all know how easy it is to end up on social media sites, go shopping, and chat with friends. Some level of that may be acceptable. There are tipping points though, and there are serious no-go areas. Define what is OK and what is not, and what happens if violated.

Social Media Policy

This is one policy area that is emerging, but a really important one - and one I

like. Sometimes people post dumb things. Sometimes they post inappropriate things. Sometimes even worse. Sometimes they do that and also note where they work. The lines of “personal” and “work” can really become blurred, so it is a good idea to get out in front of it.

Overtime Policy

There may be times when overtime could be required. There are employment standards that must be adhered to in addition to the practices of the office. A policy can lay out the conditions and approvals needed for overtime.

Leave Policy

This is a helpful policy to have if you have very busy periods of work (such as the beginning of the flu season) or very slow periods. It could include “blackout” times or limitations on how many people can be off.

And so – where do you start? This is something that Thought Architects can help with. Having a discussion with you to determine what you need, what you value and how you want to convey your policies is the best place to start. This really isn’t so bad…trust me!

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