Getting back on track: Signoff dental policies and procedures

Getting back on track with policy management

“Sorry officer, I didn’t know!” Our short NSW holiday over the Christmas break was soured by a U turn at a set of traffic lights (fine $263). Yes, it is legal in Victoria but we now know it is not legal in NSW! We should have read the rules BEFORE we drove into NSW.
We don’t want to employ staff who say the same thing about our policies and procedures. While “I forgot” is annoying, having a staff member say “I didn’t know” is becoming a greater risk to business. Because our policies and procedures are increasing in number and importance we need a simple way to make sure our staff have access to and know about our policies and procedures. The Dental Board of Australia (AHPRA), Fairwork Australia, and Work safe seem to have a similar outlook to that NSW traffic cop and there is little tolerance of ignorance.

Helping the small business comply with the ever-increasing demands is best done by SmartDentist!
Our clever content management system allows employees immediate access to every  new policy and Smartdentist has communication systems to allow you to easily communicate policies to employees.
“Smart” employers can keep track of staff signoff and be comforted knowing that staff have access to policies 24/7. What better way to have a feedback loop online so changes can be made ASAP.

Employer guide to:

Getting back on track with policy management

  1. Go to All Policies and select the Executive report on Polices and Procedures
  2. Check if policies need to be reviewed and update (use bulk update or update individual policies).
  3. Check any additional template policies available in our Policy library.  Have you considered the new policies for your Human Resources Manual? There are over 60 policies for you to consider from our template library.
    You don’t need to let future policy additions stop you from gaining employee signoff and acknowledgement right now.
    Be relaxed in knowing that at any time in the future you can email a new policy directly to every employee and then checkout signoff for that individual policy. You can also checkout when your staff have logged into SmartDentist.

Employee acknowledgement / staff signoff

The best time to get employee’s to signoff, that they have read and understood policies, is when they are first employed.

A. New staff members

Use the New Staff Induction Checklist (HR > New Staff Induction) and you will find a link to PRINT all policies. You could print to paper or print to pdf and email all policies or a selection of policies (e.g. infection control manual or human resources manual), to the new staff member.
We also recommend you print off the “Manage Policy Signoff Requests” page for an individual and use it as a hard copy to save in a staff member’s employment file.

B. Existing staff members

Start the new year with the following process.

  1. Send all staff members an email saying that you will be doing an update on all policies and procedures to make sure that:
    a. we are all working together the one way for efficiency and time-saving,
    b. standards of accreditation and compliance mean there is a greater need for staff to help make sure our policies and procedures are correct and correctly followed.

    Let staff members know that further details will follow and they will be asked to signoff to say they have read and understood each policy.
    Ask staff members to make sure they can login to SmartDentist.
    Suggest that they save their password in their mobile phone under NOTES in the practices Contact details. One of the biggest time waster and sources of frustration is a staff member who can not login. Make sure staff members know they are not to login under someone else’s login and that you can not log on if someone else is already logged on in the one browser on your computer.

  2. Get ready to help staff with your request for signoff.
    a. Print off the individual “Manage Policy Signoff” for each individual staff member (Policies > Signoff)
    b. Print off one copy of all your policies
    c. Place these in a folder somewhere that staff can access them.
  3. Send another email asking staff to signoff on every policy explaining the location of the printed signoff and policy and procedure manual at work (so they can read and signoff without a computer being free) and that they need to have both Smartdentist and their personal signoff sheet completed. e.g. they need to get familiar with login to Smartdentist to access policies and procedures.
  4. Monitoring signoff
    The “All Staff Signoff page” gives a quick overview so you can see how everyone is progressing.
    As the administrator of Smartdentist you can also see when a staff member logged into Smartdentist and how frequently (HR> Staff profile). If they logged in and logged out you can also see the time they spent.
    Make sure you follow-up each individual.

What if a staff member refuses to signoff on policies

If a staff member refuses to signoff on a policy then it is important to have a calm and rational discussion about why they wont signoff. It is best to ask for this in writing BEFORE you address their concerns as it will allow you time to consider their viewpoint.
Sometimes there is a mistaken belief by staff members that if they don’t signoff then they don’t need to do what the policy says. This is incorrect.
You can not force a staff member to signoff a policy. You can performance manage a staff member who refuses to do what your policy requires.