Over the past 6 months I’ve started working with numerous health professionals across a number of different industries. I was amazed to find out that many people within these industries do not have contracts in place for their company’s lease or their employee/contractors agreements. From a business security point of view I find this is an essential part of establishing a viable healthcare business. People may say, it’s my friend, I don’t need to have a contract in place or I know the landlord and he is really nice. All of the above are valid points, but if your friendship gets strained or your landlord dies you may be dealing with an entirely new person. Who can just evict you from a premises or take your database as there is no contract in place. This is not a scare tactic (but get your stuff in order) but my advice is to get your contracts in order ASAP. Here are some advantages of having contracts.
Staff Review: In a small business performing staff reviews can be difficult. One of the easiest ways to do this is to have 10 key tasks in your contract for your staff. Mark each of the tasks out of 10 and get your total score out of 100. This way you can advise staff on where they need to improve or praise them on their performance.
Insurance: What happens if you have been working with your best friend and you have a big fight and go your separate ways? Technically you friend can set up a shop next door and contact their old clients as you have nothing written into their contract to prevent this. For example “as an employee you may not solicit clients from the business and cannot operate as a Physio within a 10 km radius of the current business”. It may sound like overkill but at least everyone knows where they stand before any legal proceedings (last resort) may need to commence.
Expectations: You can also set expectations in the contract for coming to work on time, appropriate dress code and appropriate behaviour. If you challenge a staff member on being late or coming in looking like they’re going on a night out on the town, you can refer back to the contract. Otherwise it’s a very awkward conversation. Set clear expectations from the start.
Professional: Before you advertise for a job you should have a contract in place to describe what is expected of the successful applicant. This way the applicant can read and review the contract and ask any questions from the outset. It also prevents them from asking for a pay rise after 2 months in the job, because you have stated in their contract “a review will be carried out after 3 months and the employee may move to a % based agreement”. Everyone is clear from the beginning what will happen in the relationship
Dismissal: So you hired someone who was great initially and then turned into a nightmare taking up all of your time. You are worried about an “unfair dismissal” claim against your business and don’t want to take the chance, so you continue to put up with their nonsense and drama. Having a contract in place ensure you can review their performance and show that you have taken adequate steps to improve the situation but it hasn’t worked out. Therefore you are in a better position to dismiss the staff member fairly (seek legal advice)
All of the above examples can be applied to a lease on the premises you work from. It all sounds like hard work because it is. That’s what small business is, so in order to protect your assets I strongly suggest getting your contracts in order ASAP. To find out how PracticeNav can help help with your contracts or view our useful templates please email email@example.com or take our Free business audit. Also feel free to share your experience of how investing in your staff helped your business.