Clearly-communicated organisational policies and procedures can have a significant positive impact on any business' bottom line. Organisational policies and procedures are "must-have" HR resources that set clear guidelines for employees and provide something of a human resources safety net for the employer. They are equally important for the established medium-sized business and the new start-up enterprise hitting the ground running.
Small business owners understandably have many "must do" items competing for their attention, and all too often, policies and procedures tend to get pushed to the back of the queue. However, not getting your workplace policies and procedures in order can have serious, costly ramifications.
To help you get started, here is a list of ten must-have workplace policies and procedures.
1. Work Health and Safety Policy
Occupational health and safety is a key policy that should be clearly communicated to all personnel. Besides the obvious human cost, workplace accidents are likely to hurt your business in various ways, impacting both morale and productivity. Financial burdens include increased WorkCover premiums, sick leave, the cost of employing replacement staff, and the potential imposition of fines in severe cases. WHS policies should be treated as living documents and be reviewed regularly.
2. Code of Conduct
Clearly-written codes of conduct set clear expectations and boundaries for all employees. They should address expectations concerning dress code, punctuality, company property treatment, public representation of the company, and mobile phone use. Codes of conduct should state clear expectations, leaving no room for doubt.
3. Bullying Harassment and Discrimination Policy
Employers may be held legally liable for any acts of discrimination or harassment in their business. A comprehensive policy in this area will not only help to minimise the risk of this behaviour occurring; it will go some way to demonstrate that the business has made every effort to prevent it from happening.
A well-written policy will clearly state what constitutes such actions as bullying and sexual harassment. It should also contain clearly-written complaint handling procedures.
4. Social Media Policy
Social media's influence continues to increase at an exponential rate, and the lines between personal and professional lives are becoming increasingly hard to distinguish. Comments made on social media by employees can potentially impact the organisation's brand, particularly when employees have their occupations listed on their profile. To mitigate the risks associated with social media, it may be appropriate to document the company's expectations surrounding social media use.
5. Leave Policy
An organisation's leave policy must be thought through carefully, taking into account peak business periods where all hands need to be on deck. Appropriately documented leave policies guarantee that there will be no surprises for employees when planning their holidays.
6. Drug and Alcohol Policy
Drug and alcohol use both during and outside working hours can significantly impact an organisation's effective business operations. Overindulgence can lower productivity levels, cause absenteeism, and escalate the risk of workplace injury. Drug and alcohol policy needs to be carefully considered, and issues such as privacy need to be balanced against the right to drug-test.
7. Internet and Email Policy
The increased reliance upon the internet in the workplace is a double-edged sword. The availability of internet and email resources can be tempting for employees to exploit. An internet and email policy helps define reasonable use and flag inappropriate internet use in the workplace. Ideally, the policy should detail the consequences of inappropriate internet and email use.
8. Grievance Policy
At one time or another, workplaces will have disputes of some kind. A well-considered grievance policy is one of those small business HR resources that allow employees and management to follow and effectively resolve disputes.
9. Performance Counselling and Discipline Policy
Candid performance management can be uncomfortable at times. Lack of proper procedures can lead to all sorts of legal and moral problems. It is imperative that you have a coherent policy in this area that ensures you manage poor performance appropriately while adhering to procedural fairness.
Getting your organisational policies and procedures right is a critical step to ensuring that your business is built on solid foundations.
Looking for help with your business' HR? The team at ChandlerWoods can help you develop the appropriate policies and procedures for your business.
Get in touch with ChandlerWoods today.