Like car insurance, a dedicated savings account, or decent wet-weather gear, workplace policies are the business essentials you don’t fully appreciate until you need them.
Workplace policies, at their most basic, are written documents that spell out to workers across your business what’s expected of them, what they can and can’t do, and what you as a manager can and will do if things go wrong. Having up-to-date, tailored workplace policies provide peace of mind for everyone when unexpected situations arise, and clear boundaries for all employees.
Why are policies important?
- Clearly articulated boundaries and guidelines help ensure stability and maintain consistency across a workplace, which makes life easier for everyone. New employees know what to expect in routine situations, there are documents they can refer to as needed.
- Clear guidelines make corrections easier. It’s much easier to call out an employee on borderline questionable behaviour when they’ve signed an agreed policy, and accepted practice is written in black and white.
- Business, as life, sometimes throws you curve balls. It’s better to have a clear policy in place to cover unexpected situations than find yourself floundering.
What sort of things should our policies cover?
The specific policies you need will be determined by the type of business you run (this is something you can discuss with one of our dedicated HR consultants). At the basic level, however, you’ll want policies covering the following:
- Workplace Health and Safety
- Performance Monitoring and Review
- Sexual Harassment and Bullying
- Grievances and Complaints
- Equal Employment Opportunity
More specific workplace policies might include working from home, internet, email and social media use, fatigue management, or occupational hygiene. Whatever areas are important to your workplace it’s important to have a written policy to cover it.
Review them regularly and communicate them well.
Workplace policies are no good if ignored and left in a filing cabinet. They need to be reviewed every 12 months to ensure they’re in line with national legislation, and still relevant to your business structure and culture.
It’s good to take time every 12 months to make sure that all your employees are familiar with what’s in the policies as well. An update is kinder than a reprimand; and helps reinforce a culture of respect and fairness in your workplace.
Need to review or update your workplace policies? Talk to Assurance HR today about how we can help.