Company policies are necessary for any organization that not only desires to be successful, but also to be an employer of choice. On their surface, company policies set forth the practices, procedures, and behaviors that are expected of everyone who works there. Far more than that, however, such policies also preserve the safety and civility of the workplace. They ensure that employees conduct themselves in a professional manner by regulating dress code, cell phone and Internet use, and use of foul language. Company policies also establish rules with regard to safety and security procedures and ensure that discrimination or sexual harassment does not rear its ugly head. In other words, company policies are a must.
Whether a company is writing a new policy or revising an existing policy, there are a number of important considerations that must be kept top of mind throughout the process:
1) Do you really need the policy? – Many organizations have adopted a knee-jerk reaction that results in overly cumbersome policies that seek to incorporate every possible situation into the mix. The result is mass confusion on the part of both HR and the workforce. This situation can be avoided by asking yourself if the situation you are trying to address is most likely an isolated instance – in which case, it should be treated as an exception rather than a policy – or an issue that will probably arise again and again, thus necessitating a change in policy.
2) Make a Clear Case – Once you have determined that the policy in question is a must-have, write a detailed statement of the policy, along with the rationale behind it. Tie the policy into the overall company strategy and explain how having this policy will benefit the organization as a whole. This will not only help garner support for the policy, it will ensure that employees don’t feel picked on if they had previously been operating in another fashion.
3) Obtain Approval – Before presenting the new policy to the workforce, make sure you have the approval of both management and your company’s legal counsel. They will ensure the document does not present any kind of legal obstacle, such as discrimination or conflict of interest.
4) Introduce the Policy – Don’t simply publish a new employee handbook or, worse yet, send out a mass email containing the new policy. Instead, hold one or more town meetings to introduce employees to the changes. Explain the rationale behind the new policy and allow them to ask questions and express concerns. Doing so will not only help ensure that employees truly understand the policy, but also that they abide by it.
5) Implement the Policy – Once you have the proper approvals and everyone has a thorough understanding of the new policy, it’s time to make it official. From the very beginning, enforce the policy as the law of the land. Don’t give in to temptation to make exceptions simply because the policy is new and people are still getting used to it. Rather, put some teeth into it and hold employees and managers accountable for following it.
For more assistance with workplace policies, contact High Profile today.