Episode 599: Musts for Your Ops Manual vs. Employee Handbook

If you’ve ever questioned whether something should go in your practice’s operations manual or your employee handbook, this is the episode for you. Kiera breaks down the difference between the two resources, how they should be laid out, how often they should be updated, and a ton more.

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0:00:05.6 Kiera Dent: Hey, everyone. Welcome to the Dental A Team podcast. I'm your host, Kiera Dent, and I have this crazy idea that maybe I could combine a doctor and a team member's perspective, because let's face it, dentistry can be a challenging profession with those two perspectives. I've been a dental assistant, treatment coordinator, scheduler, filler, office manager, regional manager, practice owner, and I have a team of traveling consultants, where we have traveled over 165 different offices, coaching teams. Yep, we don't just understand you, we are you. Our mission is to positively impact the world of dental, and I believe that this podcast is the greatest way I can help elevate teams, grow VIP experiences, reduce stress and create A Teams. Welcome to the Dental A Team podcast.


0:00:51.2 KD: Hello, Dental A Team listeners. This is Kiera, and you guys, let's talk ops manual/employee handbook. Oh, I know you're so excited. Don't worry, I hate this. That's why I made you guys the three-month ops manual intensive. It's going to be so awesome. Guys, you literally get to come in every single week, and if you can't make it, you can get the recording, absolutely. But every single week, we're going to walk you through this. And guys, it's a mastermind. So, if I was you, I would be coming, because guess what? I bet you there's someone there who's already written a protocol that might be willing to share with you, protocols, AKA getting this sucker down way faster than if you had to write everything on your own. Yeah. I just told you. It's going to be awesome.

0:01:35.1 KD: Not only am I giving you an operations manual and having a weekly thing, I'm giving you an amazing group of people who you guys are gonna hopefully swap protocols. I'm not going to force it or make it mandatory. But, if I was in a group, let's have this be a group project, not a solo project, and get this thing done. So, that's step one, so if you haven't joined us, be sure to pop on. Head to thedentalateam.comopsmanual, or just had to thedentalateam.com. There's a banner right there, click on it, join us, three months ops manual intensive. You get the ops manual, you get a weekly meeting with us, plus, you get a group of people who are going to get that up to manual done, so be sure to join us. And on that note, what I wanted to dive into today is, "What should actually be in an ops manual versus an employee handbook?" Okay. So the ops manual are all the protocols in your practice. So for example, how do we submit claims? What does each position do every day, every week, every month, every quarter, every year? What is that? And then, how do we actually do it? So it's a step-by-step recipe book to run your practice. Let's say, in my opinion, the best way and the easiest way to describe it.

0:02:48.0 KD: I like to have little recipe books for each position. So, let's have the recipe book of how to be a rockstar dental assistant in your practice. Well, you show up at 7:15, you set up your rooms, you come to morning huddle, here are our morning huddle prep sheets, these are all the things that we do. This is how we set up for a crown, this is how we set up for a root canal, this is how we set up for a bridge prep, whatever it is, you have all that, you have pictures of it, you have step by steps, this is how we see the patient, this is how we record our notes in the computer, this is how we clock in and out. That's your operations manual, guys. That's how we operate in our practice. So all of those things, if you don't have that for every position in your practice, you are at an awesome opportunity to get it done. So that way, in case people turn over, you hire new people, you wanna expand or you just wanna make sure that we're all congruent and consistent, operations manuals are super beneficial for that.

0:03:48.3 KD: Now, on the flip side, there's the employee handbook. Now guys, employee handbooks are not 100% my world. Operations Manual; 100%. That's where I live breathe, this is where I teach you guys, this is how we teach our front office. How do you answer the phone? How do we schedule patients? What color is Dr. H and Dr. C and Dr. V and Dr. B? What are those colors? How do we make sure it's there? What are our X's and slashes? How do we submit claims? How do we post checks? All of that. You doctors and office managers should be able to snag your operations manual and be able to do every position, every task in the practice without talking to somebody else. That should be the goal. That's the world I live in, guys. That's the world that I feel like I'm dreaming and dreaming, and it can help you get this done and make your office amazing. The flip side of that is the employee handbook, and this is where lawyers and Cedar become your best friends, because this is where you really have legal responsibilities upon you. Yes. Do I have employee handbooks? 100%.

0:04:53.4 KD: An employee handbook is more about how we act in our practice. So it's, "What is the dress code? What do we do for if we need time off, like PTO requests? How do we submit for vacation? How do we do our sick time? What happens if we are on our cell phones and we choose not to get off of our cell phones? How do we get write-ups or performance improvement programs?" All of that nitty gritty. "What are the hours that we work? What are our time off of holidays?" All of that logistics are in there. So for us, we have maternity pay, what we do for maternity leave, all of those different places. And an employee handbook is state-specific. So you guys, I don't know if you know, but Dental A Team actually exists in three states currently. Who knows? We could absolutely expand. I have no idea. But right now, I actually have business in Utah, Nevada, Arizona. So those three. So, from there, I have to actually have three different lawyers look at all of my handbooks, I have an Arizona lawyer, a Utah lawyer, and a Nevada lawyer, who all look over my handbook, to make sure... And I do it every year, I actually send it over to them. Fun fact on lawyers is, I tell them, "I want you to do this in less than an hour. I want a quick read through and make sure I'm not missing anything, like meal periods, rest periods, time off, like all of that stuff is all state-specific.

0:06:37.9 KD: Hello, Dental A Team listeners. This is Kiera. And you guys, how was your 2022? I want you to look back and tell me, was it the year of years? Or was it a really hard year? Did you crush it? Or did it crush you? This is the time guys, for end of year, Dental A Team Platinum is welcoming you, where we will physically fly to your practice, we will come and we will elevate your dreams and make them into a reality. And guys, space is limited and prices are going up. This is not a sales pitch, this is not something where I'm trying to scare you into it, I'm just facing the reality of inflation is here, flights are expensive, and I want to see as many people as we possibly can and serve as many as we can. So if you wanna be part of our elite group of people, there are limited spaces, 'cause our consultants can only see as many. We are taking on 10 new Platinum offices by the end of the year, and that's it. That's all we have space for, so if you wanna be one of the elite 10, come join us. Be a part of our top notch elite doctor community, be a part of our office manager and hygiene and front office communities. Get your operations manual done and live the life that you've only been dreaming of, today.

0:07:51.5 KD: Email me [email protected] and make 2023 truly a year that's unforgettable. We are a complete tax write-off, and like I said, we are only taking 10 offices. So don't get left behind, be one of those 10. And I cannot wait to give you the biggest warmest welcome to completely and utterly changing your life for good. Welcome to the Dental A Team. I can't wait for you to join us, [email protected]. Cheers to 2023 and making you your best self yet.

0:08:25.8 KD: So I literally have three handbooks and I have to send per state, and I have to make sure that I'm doing it correctly. So again, every year, I just go through, make sure, check with my lawyers and have it updated. Cedar does a great, great, great job for you guys, of having it really well in place for dental practices, they work in all 50 states, and I actually think Cedar is my top notch one. So just so you guys have a quick overview, within each of my employee handbooks, again, do it for your state. So this is my Arizona handbook. I have the introduction, employment policies, hours of work and payroll practices, standards of conduct and employee performance, employee benefits and services, employee leave of absence and time off, and company core values and culture. You better believe I have that in there.

0:09:18.2 KD: So we have changes in the policy, how my rights as an employer to be able to do this, I feel like your employee handbook is what the employers' rights are and what the employees' rights are. I've got employment at will, I have employee classification 'cause I've got full-time employees, part-time employees, temporary employees, independent contractors. We each have equal employment opportunities for Americans with Disabilities Act, like those are all things, you guys, you gotta have as a business. We've got confidentiality, we also have employment of relatives, introductory period, AKA, when they are first hired, personal records and employee references, privacy, immigration law compliance. Guys, all this stuff that I don't even know that I'm supposed to do, that I need to make sure that I'm doing. Pay periods and pay days, overtime, rest and meal periods, time cards and pay. Also, my overtime requirements are different per state of what I'm allowed to do, so again, it's very state-specific. We have on there for our traveling consultants, they get paid kind of like hygienists where it's per the services and per the deliverables and per their client satisfaction. So I had to fill all of that information in there.

0:10:29.2 KD: Like what our travel expense protocol is? We have, how you have to use credits? They have to sign off on this, if they choose not to use credits, how it's deducted from their final paycheck, so many things that you have to have in there. And don't worry, something comes up like, "Why on earth do I have airline credits policy?" Because I had somebody quit who had an airline credits. All these ding ding policies have come up because of the frustration I've had within the company. So we have that protocol, people are like, "Well, how do we get paid for events? What happens for events?" I'm like, "Oh my gosh, I don't even know." What can payroll deductions be? What are wage garnishments? What about direct deposit? When do we pay people? What's the PTO? How is PTO accrued? Year one is two weeks, year two is three weeks. This is what I have to have. It spells out all the portions of it. It also talks about how PTO cannot be used. When do you get PTO? What about no retaliation? What about for seasonal and encore employees? What about for holiday pay and continuing education? How many offices am I are gonna do that? "Kiera, what do you do for continuing their education?" I'm like, "You just need a policy." Talk to your lawyers, talk to Cedar, what is required for your state, because it could be different per state law.

0:11:45.5 KD: And then, like for me, I have a Dental A Team's continuing education protocol. So this is me where I pay them up to X amount of dollars per year for CE. This is how you submit for it, this is how you get it paid for, but we literally pay for CE for our team, to ensure that they stay top notch. Then you've got anti-harassment, prohibited contact, complaint procedure, attendance and schedules, and we have it in here like Mondays are meeting days, all employees are expected to be in attendance, report on their assigned tasks and fully participate. Mondays and Fridays or flex days, meaning you can choose to work from home or in the office on those days, 'cause I have all of these, so really what I'm trying to get at is your employee handbook needs to be laid out.

0:12:32.8 KD: I will tell you a fun one that I have added in. Again, check with your state laws. I call it my over and beyond termination. So as I said, Dental A Team is committed to hiring the most talented people, keeping overhead costs at a minimum to ensure the company can grow, and always looks for ways to grow and elevate all team members. The Dental A Team is hyper committed to ensuring the company has fulfilled team members who are contributing to the growth of the organization. If you choose to take another job that is more fulfilling for you, the Dental A Team will always support you. Since our company is small and each person is vital to the success of the organization, the Dental A Team asks for HQ team members a minimum of one month's notice for termination, consulting team, a minimum of three months notice for termination.

0:13:12.4 KD: Since this is abnormal for a company to require, the Dental A team, if the above is honored, will pay you a minimum of $1,000 upon termination after your required time. If you go above and beyond and give a longer notice, help hire and train your replacement, and truly help to ensure the company is in a good place upon your leave, the Dental A Team will give you a higher payout upon the leave of the company. The goal of this Handbook update is to help us all see how vital our position is, show love for our teammates, and give an ample notice to ensure the company, the clients and the team are taken care of. Signing below means you have read the company updates and are committed to abiding by them.

0:13:44.5 KD: That was a fun little one I added in because I don't know if you guys are struggling with it, I have lost a lot of team members. So by adding that in, yes, my marketer when she left, went above and beyond and yes, we took great care of her, gave her a lot of things because she has literally helped me out. She still has stayed on. She's our podcast guru. But that's what I wanted to instill in our company is if you choose to leave, totally fine, but make sure you give us enough leeway and we are going to go above and beyond for you. So there are things in there that are not legal jargon that I just wanted to have in our company, chatted with my lawyers, made sure it was there.

0:14:24.5 KD: I also have to have travel safety protocols. How do we do this? Where do you log it? For you guys, it's all the things of what are the nitty gritty protocols within your practice that are required to be successful as an employee? How do they operate? How do they work? It's not, How do I enter my claims? That's how do I do my job? This is how am I an employee and how do I act as an employee in your organization? What are my rules? What are my ramifications? What are all the things? And that's where Cedar, a lawyer... I have a great one, his name is Greg. Greg is fan-freaking-tastic. He only works on a referral basis. So if you want me to connect you with Greg, please email us, [email protected].

0:15:10.2 KD: Greg is by far my favorite lawyer. He actually is one of the largest lawyers for companies that I will not list on the podcast, but he is actually one of the highest labor lawyers that I have ever met, representing some of the largest companies in America. And I feel very, very confident that what he tells me will go. And I also feel confident if anything comes up against me, I've got the top-notch lawyer who's gonna go defend me 'cause I've got these things in there. Employee handbooks, in my opinion, are not to be taken lightly. Are they a pain in the booty to get set up? Yes. Are they expensive to do? Yes. Are they worth it, because long term they save you thousands upon thousands of dollars? Absolutely, yes.

0:15:52.3 KD: So guys, if you don't have your employee handbook contact say, Cedar... Contact Greg. Email us, let's get that employee handbook. I feel like it's just a good, like clear the cobwebs, dust it off, make sure we look at it every year, make sure we have our employees sign it. I do annual updates so I make sure that they sign it, and every quarter I actually do updates per quarter. So we have one, I update it, we have it amended, added to the handbook, but they all sign off on just that one page disclaimer per quarter. So that's how we've updated our employee handbook over the years, and that way our team knows all the current changes that are happening. But then I make sure I have a current copy for every employee on file and make sure it's updated at least every year depending upon your state.

0:16:35.9 KD: So guys, I hope that was helpful. Like I said, I'm in the world of ops manuals. That's my world. That's what we do. That's why we have an ops manual intensive for you. But the employee handbook is the sister to your ops manual and it just does a different function. So make sure you have it, get it in place, protect yourselves and if I can ever help, be sure to reach out, [email protected]. And as always, thanks for listening and I'll catch you next time on the Dental A Team podcast.


0:17:04.7 KD: And that wraps it up for another episode of the Dental A Team podcast. Thank you so much for listening and we'll talk to you next time.




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