Have you ever sat in a medical clinic, looked at the busy interactions of the healthcare assistants, nurses, doctors and management and wondered how they keep it all running?
It’s hard enough just taking care of patients, let alone managing staff and complying with the myriad of Australian state and federal employment laws, modern awards, penalty rates and salary rules.
Operating clinics across five Australian states, Family Doctor launched 12 years ago in Melbourne with a single clinic, following the vision of Dr Rodney Aziz who grew a family of over 80 practices across Australia. Today Family Doctor operates medical centres, telehealth services and multi-site super clinics encompassing allied health, psychology, podiatry, dietetics and more.
In the last two years alone, over 40 new practices have become part of Family Doctor – a busy rate of growth which has doubled the company’s size.
Chief Operating Officer Simon Tirchett is now responsible for a workforce of nearly 700 employees spread across 85 clinics – not to mention facilitating over 600 employment agreements for tenant doctors.
Simon says his busy workload covers “Everything from practice operations and HR to staff recruitment, patient outcomes and IT issues.” In short, Simon’s role is to ensure each practice operates smoothly, efficiently and cost-effectively – and for that, he relies upon plenty of HR workflow tools, technology and support.
As mentioned, Family Doctor is a growing business, and continues to acquire more and more practices. Simon says having great HR practices helps build the foundations of business success.
“HR is a really critical area in terms of an acquisition because there’s always staff uncertainty around a new owner coming into a practice environment,” Simon explains. “We want as many staff to stay and join our journey. So, transitioning a practice we’ve acquired over to the Family Doctor way of doing things is very much about keeping the status quo in the day to day, but also introducing some of our capabilities around corporate services.”
How does Family Doctor manage to get consistent standards across diverse practices in several states? The answer is HR support.
When Family Doctor acquires a practice, servicing patients and retaining employees is of course the priority. The next steps in centralising appropriate business processes to fit Family Doctor’s national standards include taking finance, marketing and IT in-house, and letting each new practice know HR Assured is available to them and that every other practice is benefiting from wraparound software, Knowledge Base and phone support.
For routine employment law requirements, support often has a personal face, with Workplace Relations Team Leader Tiarne Mitchell making herself available as Simon’s main point of contact at HR Assured.
“My experience with Tiarne has been very positive when I need assistance, I’ll try and call or I’ll leave a message with her if she’s busy,” Simon says. “She’ll always follows up in a timely manner.”
Routine HR support – such as guidance on creating or adjusting contracts, or setting up independent contractors is often taken care of by Tiarne and other team members of the Telephone Advisory Service. While many things are unpredictable, Tiarne and the team have looked ahead to estimate what kind of HR support will be needed each month based on Family Doctor’s HR trends. HR Assured has put in strategic processes, particularly around aspects such as performance management and management of staff on probation periods, to help anticipate what kinds of questions might arise at each site – particularly when it comes to upskilling and supporting managers to provide strategic assistance to staff.
The benefit is HR Assured can help Family Doctor see trends as to what support each practice will need, anticipate the help, advice and guidance that’s most useful to Family Doctor, and be there when required.
Training to upskill managers is part of this – after all, managers can’t be expected to know the minutiae of all the employment rules in the country.
When HR issues have occasionally become a little more complicated, Simon’s team has utilised legal support from HR Assured’s sister company FCB Workplace Law to solve delicate employment issues and potential grievances.
Simon says Tiarne and the advisory team always respond with caution and the wisdom of having handled thousands of cases. In those difficult situations when termination might seem to be an expected outcome, Workplace Relations Advisors explain what Family Doctor’s legal rights are, so that the organisation’s reputation for doing the right thing remains intact and the affected employee has their rights safeguarded.
All in all, running nearly 100 health services is never quiet and there are always a myriad of challenges. For the rest of the year, when it’s not business as usual, Simon and Family Doctor are looking forward to potentially integrating their onboarding platform with HR Assured and even tighter wraparound service, with helpful documentation, review of contracts and failsafe advice.
HR Assured gives you the tools to efficiently manage your people and streamline important processes
Staying on top of compliance and people management can be a time-consuming and challenging task for businesses of all shapes and sizes – and this is where a complete, compliant, and cost-effective HR & WHS solution can give business owners the peace of mind they need to get back to what really matters, running the business.
A great place to start is by simply checking in with your HR practices by taking advantage of a no-cost Workplace Compliance Consultation. HR Assured’s experts will complete a thorough evaluation of your HR that’ll help uncover any hidden risks before they become problems.
Join HR Assured and make the most of industry-leading HR software, 24/7 Telephone support and expert advice to help you identify any areas for improvement and stay compliant so you can focus on what your business does best.