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We all know having the best staff will make our
lives easier and help our practice run smoothly. However, achieving
this can sometimes be harder than we anticipate. Finding staff who
are suited to your specific medical practice and management style,
who will get on well with each other, and who have the skills to do
the job, will take some thought and preparation on your part.
Before you recruit anyone, consider carefully the culture you
want your practice to have, and the tasks that need to be divided
between various job roles. Consider whether you expect particular
roles to be autonomous or supervised. Decide what kind of decisions
can be made without consultation and what kind requires your
Figure: Recruitment and selection process
Many professionals setting up their own practice for the first
time will have had limited experience in the area of human
resources. It is important to:
When employing family members, be sure to comply with government
rules and regulations as if they were not a relative. Being related
to staff members does not negate your legal obligations with regard
to taxation, superannuation, workers' compensation etc.
All employers are responsible for paying superannuation on
behalf of their employees. Employees are generally able to nominate
the superannuation fund to which they wish to contribute. More
information about your superannuation obligations can be obtained
from the Australian Taxation Office.
Download the Recruitment and Selection checklist
Develop a set of policies and procedures that relate to
organisation chart, job descriptions, training and education of
staff, performance review of business and staff, service details,
employment conditions, office procedures, patient relations and
confidentiality. Engaging a practice manager will greatly assist
your ability to develop in this area.
Ensure the policies and procedures reflect relevant legislation
including discrimination, harassment, bullying and workplace health
and safety. The policies and procedures should also reflect
relevant award and legislative employment entitlements. Review
policies and procedures at least every two years. They may not
change, but they should be checked for currency on a regular
Policies and procedures should be signed and dated by each new
staff member to confirm they have read and understood them. This
addresses vicarious liability and duty of care issues (see Policy and procedure manuals section).
Based on the needs of your business, design clear descriptions
for every position, including those of professionals/partners.
These can be used for recruitment and performance management, and
can help to protect your practice against legal claims such as
Ensure that each person knows what his/her responsibilities are.
Set clear objectives for each position. These can be stated in the
person's job specifications. They are sometimes called performance
standards or objectives. As with objectives for the practice,
individual objectives must:
Ensure that each person knows the responsibilities of every
other staff member. Ensure staff know who to ask for assistance
Put mechanisms in place to ensure staff have the opportunity to
communicate within the team. Regular team meetings are the best
opportunity for this to happen.
The checklist in this section covers better practice
considerations for recruitment.
Australia has equal employment opportunity (EEO) and
discrimination legislation, which has been designed to ensure all
applicants are treated fairly. Common sense will usually prevail,
but take care with comments and questions, which could be
interpreted as discriminatory. This legislation applies to the
private sector as well as the public sector. See links for current legislation.
Ensure no discriminatory behaviour occurs during the interview
process or in the workplace. In particular, you must ensure that
there is no discrimination based on grounds including race, colour,
religion, creed, national origin, gender, marital status, age,
disability, name, birthplace, physical appearance, citizenship,
language, education, criminal convictions, relatives or sexual
links to further industrial relations issues information.
See also Infection control issues relating to
Ensure all staff:
It is particularly important to ensure all employees are
employed according to awards or agreements that at least meet the
minimum requirements of all relevant legislation. Check to ensure
that remuneration is appropriate for each employee's employment
status (i.e. permanent or casual), as different conditions may
apply. It is illegal to contract with an employee to pay below the
employee's award entitlement.
Factsheet: Engagement in private practice
Industrial awards provide detail regarding competencies and
skill levels. Ask around. Further information can be obtained from
the Fair Work Ombudsman on telephone 13 13 94.
Talk to colleagues and other practice managers. Contact
professional associations such as:
IMPORTANT NOTE: When determining pay rates, it
is important to understand employment is a contract. If you pay
less, you will likely be receiving less in terms of skill and
Download the Position Description template
Download the Interview template
Download the Verbal Reference #1 template
Download the Verbal Reference #2 template