Making the Offer
As soon as you decide which applicant is the best fit for the job and your office, make an offer.
- The job offer should be made as soon as possible, by telephone, and can be done by you or your Office Manager. Be enthusiastic - your initial attitude will have a positive influence on your new hire’s feelings toward the job, you, your practice, and even your patients. Stress how impressed you were with his/her personal skills. Remember - those skills may help reduce the chance of you being sued by a patient!
- This is the time to talk salary, hours, and benefits. Most applicants will expect a slight increase from their prior salary and will resent being offered the same or less. Explain the pay and benefits as thoroughly and accurately as possible. Never promise a term that you cannot provide, i.e., no work on weekends even though you might need weekend help.
Letter of Offer/At-Will Employment
Once the applicant has verbally committed to the job, send a letter of offer for his/her signature. This is not to be confused with an employment contract for a specific term. Keep the letter of offer that the applicant signs in his/her personnel file.
- A letter of offer sets forth the terms of the employment that you and the applicant discussed.
- The letter of offer should clearly state that employment in Louisiana is “at-will”; that is, in general, the employment relationship can be ended by either party with or without cause, with or without notice. While you can establish a start date, do not use any language that can be interpreted as providing a term of employment such as “for one year.” Note that the definition of “at-will” varies from state to state. Consider having an attorney review your standard letter of offer to make sure it does not create a contract.
- The letter should state the job title, the general duties, the location of the employment, and to whom the employee will report.
- The letter should explain the compensation package and the benefits (insurance, sick leave, vacation leave, etc.) that the employee will receive. Be careful, however, not to lock yourself into any benefits - reserve your right to change benefits that are not required by law.
- A copy of the Job Description should be attached to the letter of offer.
Your new employee’s success will depend in part on how well you train him/her to perform the duties of the job.
By: Joanne Rinardo
- Take the time to review the Job Description and ask if he/she has any questions about the duties, hours, and/or benefits.
- If you have an Employee Handbook (which is advisable for almost any size practice), review it with the employee who should sign an acknowledgment for its receipt.
- As required by Louisiana law, inform the employee what he/she will be paid per pay period, how often, and how he/she will be paid (by check, direct deposit, etc.).
- If possible, assign another office staff person to work with the new employee the first few days, explaining office procedures and software that he/she will need to use, and reviewing his/her work to make sure it is accurate.
- Remind the new employee of the importance of confidentiality regarding patients.
- This is the time to emphasize the importance of a positive interaction with patients. Be clear that employees must always treat every patient with respect. This means that they will answer all questions or obtain answers for questions, always be courteous, and apologize if the doctor is running late. It is important for staff to understand that patients who are ill are often stressed and should be treated kindly. Just as with doctors, a good bedside manner can reduce the likelihood of a later lawsuit.
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