What the clinic handbook doesn’t cover
Practice also needs to be prepared for unexpected employee ‘rules of survival’ that present
Take-home message: Beyond the official handbook, employees will also come with their own “rules of survival” that they expect the clinic to follow. Unfortunately, the practice will have no idea what the rules—or deviation of the rules—are until they occur.
Putting It In View By Dianna E. Graves, COMT, BS Ed
My administrator wants the clinic managers to get together soon to discuss the employee handbook. It seems to be that time again.
When a new employee is hired, he or she is sent a welcome letter as well as copy of the handbook to review prior to the first day of orientation. When he or she arrives in the clinic, we go over it page by page, as well as other rules that are not in the book.
For example, one paragraph deals with personnel conflicts. I call these “dustups,” or depending on who is involved, old-fashioned cat fights.
We discuss what the handbook says, and then we review the employee “rules of survival.” The technicians have a code that we follow for dustups. When two employees cannot see eye to eye, the irritated technician will go to the “offender” and ask if she can speak to her kindly, gently, and professionally.
The two will then go into a room, shut the door, and settle the issue. The “offender” also has rebuttal time and will use the same rules of engagement. I always warn people that if they cannot get the issue straightened out, I will get involved and both parties will feel the wrath equally.
In more than 12 years, I have only had to mediate a dustup once. Since then, these disagreements have been resolved by the technicians themselves to avoid a repeat of the shock and awe. If I feel the problem is still occurring, or still simmering, I will proactively jump back into the fray to keep them honest. This usually stops the issue from re-escalating.
Crazy as it sounds, it does work. Every new employee is told about it and after hearing the rules will smile—until someone approaches him or her.