- Demonstrate the company's commitment to a positive work environment.
- Confirm the company's nondiscriminatory hiring and employment practices.
- Provide the framework for a company's values and how they govern their employee relations.
- Protect the company from liability and unfair judgments.
- Demonstrate and manage expectations of performance for both parties.
- Set out consequences for inadequate performance and unsuitable behaviors.
- Prevent misunderstandings and inspire management to be even-handed and consistent.
- Create their own record of action when policies are closely followed and applied.
- Become a vital resource and reliable reference tool for everyone.
- Promote a successful and closely controlled orientation for new employees.
- Ease confusion over complicated "alphabet statutes" and commonly offered benefits (ADA, FMLA, PTO Bank) and how they co-mingle and possibly work cooperatively.
- Improve how employees interact and minimize obstacles and repetition in the workplace.
- Improve productivity, morale, service and quality at every level.
Policies To Include
In choosing policies to include, consider the culture of your organization and some of the recurring issues or problems you face. Learn about the human resource practices that are followed by other organizations in your industry. Review the memos you have already issued, posted or included in an offer of employment. Now is the time to clean up any messes you might have made when you addressed a particular employee issue in the past—be fair, be modern, get consistent and get competitive. Most employers develop policies on the following topics:
- At-Will Employment Agreement
- Equal Employment Opportunity
- Compensation, Pay Procedures and Confidentiality
- Health Plans, Benefits and Non-Cash Compensation
- Safe Workplace Expectations
- Harassment Issues, Definitions and Complaint Procedures
- Zero Tolerance Policies: Weapons, Violence, Theft, Smoking, Alcohol, Drugs
- Customer Service Requirements
- Personal Conduct, Behavior Standards and Work Rules
- Attendance, Work Hours, Vacation, PTO, Leaves of Absence (FMLA)
- Working Hours, Breaks, Start of Day, End of Day
- Use of Company Property (vehicles, equipment, inventory, postage, phones, Internet, e-mail)
- Effective Appearance Policy, Uniforms & Safety Gear
- Disciplinary Procedures, Termination
If you're willing to invest the energy in the development of HR policies, you are quite literally surrounded by amazing resources. Use all of the available experts online such as the Society for Human Resource Management (www.shrm.org) to help form your document and refine the language of every policy statement. Of course, policies should be reviewed by your legal counsel to ensure that you comply with employment law before they are finalized. When ready, hold a meeting to distribute this document (have each employee sign for their copy), and thoroughly and enthusiastically explain your new personnel policies—promising to be absolutely consistent in their application and to review them annually.
Hopefully, the benefits of adopting carefully written policies have become abundantly clear. Perhaps you see more clearly what a terrific employee relations tool they can be and how they can effectively lower your liability and exposure. Policies are vital not just to help avoid litigation but also to minimize the time you sacrifice to productivity-draining people issues instead of core business matters. Make the commitment right now to develop your written policies strategy for your business before the need arises.
About the author:
Chris Traynor, SPHR, is the Director for Whip-Smart™ Management Consulting LLC, Wayne, N.J., and has 25 years of experience in the solid surface industry as a consultant to fabricators, distributors and manufacturers. He can be reached at email@example.com.