Improve Your Practice

 Recruiting staff and ensuring they have clear procedures and policies to follow will help you minimize risks.

Why you need an HR manual

A human resources (HR) manual helps you to establish robust structure and a basic set of policies, procedures and rules that you will use to manage your people on a day-to-day basis. It is important that you use a structured approach from day one as it will help you to ensure:

  • That you meet your basic legal obligations
  • That the way you “operate” reflects the objectives of your vision
  • That you help yourself and other supervisory staff make consistent and reliable decisions – this promotes a culture of fairness
  • That you have established a clear understanding of expectations, rules and consequences
  • That you welcome and introduce your employees to your business and their new job.

If you have an HR manual, you should review this on a regular basis and ensure that your policies reflect the way you operate and comply with current legislative requirements.

If you need to create your HR manual there are a number of resources available that will allow you modify a supplied template.

What’s in an HR manual?

All staff should be required to familiarise themselves with the manual and sign at a section in front that they have done so. A comprehensive HR manual should cover the following areas:

  • Recruitment
  • staff selection and interview process
  • awards
  • employee files 
  • employment templates – appointment letter, position description, employment terms and conditions/contract, immunisation record, confidentiality
  • induction program
  • employee handbook 
  • payroll – procedures, superannuation, salary sacrifice
  • workers’ compensation
  • performance review
  • leave entitlements and procedures: annual, personal, long service, training, compassionate
  • forms – leave applications, incident reports, equipment faults
  • meetings – types, process, agenda, minutes
  • training – internal and external, individual records, staff individual plans
  • compliance and code of conduct
  • grievance procedure
  • harassment and bullying
  • conflict resolution
  • equal employment opportunities

The initial process of developing your HR manual will be time consuming but it brings definite long-term benefits as it will minimise the incidence of people reverting to their own set of rules which, in turn, reduces disputes or grievances caused by confusion, and it adds to the overall professionalism of your business operations.

Recruiting staff

Avant has developed a number of resources to help you hire new staff. Start with:

1.The Staff organisation and roles checklist to identify any skill gaps in your practice.

2.The Recruitment and selection checklist will help you prepare, interview, assess, decide, make an offer and complete the recruitment process.

3.There are also template position descriptions and sample interview questions to get you started.

4.Asking the right questions to the applicants’ references is easier with the verbal reference templates.

5.After you have recruited the right staff member, there are two resources to help you run an orientation and induction process:

a.Induction and documentation checklist

b.Orientation and induction program template.

6.Finally, make sure you have an up-to-date policy and procedures manual that will help your new staff member.The new staff checklist will help.

Next page

Dispute resolution
  • Common situations leading to conflict
  • Ways to avoid conflict
  • Ways of dealing with conflict
  • Webinar: contracts and disputes
  • Improve your practice
  • References

This publication is proudly brought to you by Avant Mutual Group. The content was authored by Brett McPherson, reviewed by Colleen Sullivan and Avant Mutual Group.

This publication is not comprehensive and does not constitute legal or medical advice. You should seek legal or other professional advice before relying on any content, and practice proper clinical decision making with regard to the individual circumstances. Persons implementing any recommendations contained in this publication must exercise their own independent skill or judgment or seek appropriate professional advice relevant to their own particular practice. Compliance with any recommendations will not in any way guarantee discharge of the duty of care owed to patients and others coming into contact with the health professional or practice. Avant is not responsible to you or anyone else for any loss suffered in connection with the use of this information. Information is only current at the date initially published. © Avant Mutual Group Limited 2014.

IMPORTANT: Professional indemnity insurance products and Avant’s Practice Medical Indemnity Policy are issued by Avant Insurance Limited, ABN 82 003 707 471, AFSL 238 765. The information provided here is general advice only. You should consider the appropriateness of the advice having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs before deciding to purchase or continuing to hold a policy with us. For full details including the terms, conditions, and exclusions that apply, please read and consider the policy wording and PDS, which is available at or by contacting us on 1800 128 268. Practices need to consider other forms of insurance including directors’ and officers’ liability, public and products liability, property and business interruption insurance, and workers compensation and you should contact your insurance broker for more information. Cover is subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions of the policy. Any advice here does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider whether the product is appropriate for you before deciding to purchase or continuing to hold a policy with us.