Policies are to employees of a business what rules are to the players of a game. Employment policies act as a framework for how a business is managed and employees are expected to conduct themselves at work, and at the same time, these policies protect the business and reduce the risk of liability. For anyone who has watched a few kids playing a game together, it’s pretty obvious why rules are important, and why it’s a good idea to write them down.
Many employers, especially small businesses, neglect to put basic employment policies in writing. When the business starts growing, the limits of this approach become obvious. No one wants to focus on the negative, but employment disputes can and will arise in many businesses. Having policies established in clear and simple terms helps to reduce employer liability and limit the damage when disputes arise. In the event that an employment dispute leads to litigation, written policies can also be essential in ensuring a swift and fair outcome for the business.
Here are three key employment policies to consider implementing in your business today.
Employee Handbook. An employee handbook is a key asset for any business to communicate written policies and promote fairness and consistency in the workplace. An employee handbook can also be incredibly useful in building a positive workplace culture and employee loyalty, if written properly. Every business should take the opportunity in its employee handbook to introduce company culture, as well as the mission and values of the business, set expectations in an employee code of conduct, and ensure regulatory compliance with state and federal laws governing the business and workplace.
Internal Processes and Procedures. While often overlooked, creating a framework for business operations through consistent internal processes is crucial for running a successful business. In the healthcare field, this could mean outlining safety policies, developing a HIPAA Compliance Policy, or creating Standard Operating Procedures for every medical procedure performed by providers of the business. In the retail sector, this could mean developing customer service policies, credit and payment policies, and even safety and security policies. In every business, developing written policies to guide management through day-to-day operations is a key driver of success.
Anti-Harassment Policies and Training. Since harassment cuts across all professional industries, employers, both big and small, should develop and implement updated anti-harassment policies. If a business currently does not have a written policy against workplace harassment, it is absolutely time to get one. It is helpful to add specific examples of unacceptable conduct and consequences for violating the policy. Most importantly, employers should be sure that every employee has received the anti-harassment policy and acknowledged its receipt in writing. The policy is only as good as its implementers, so training all levels of management and each employee on harassment policies is crucial to follow-through. Conducting yearly anti-harassment training for all levels of employment is both preventative and proactive.
If you have any questions or would like to learn more about developing employment policies for your business, please schedule a consult at firstname.lastname@example.org.