Policies and procedures, they are a nightmare to create, they can be difficult to implement and if you don’t understand legal jargon, sometimes they don’t even make sense!
In particular industries, they are a requirement for regulatory reasons – in others, they are simply seen as best practice. So if they aren’t a general requirement, why is it recommended for SME’s to have policies and procedures?
According to Industrial Relations (click here for details)
A policy is a statement which underpins how human resource management issues will be dealt with in an organisation. It communicates an organisation’s values and the organisation’s expectations of employee behaviors and performance.
Workplace policies often reinforce and clarify standard operating procedure in a workplace. Well written policies help employers manage staff more effectively by clearly defining acceptable and unacceptable behavior in the workplace, and set out the implications of not complying with those policies.
A workplace policy consists of a statement of purpose and one or more broad guidelines on action to be taken to achieve that purpose. The statement of purpose should be written in simple terms, free of jargon. The length of the policy may vary depending on the issue it addresses.
A policy may allow discretion in its implementation and the basis of that discretion should be stated as part of the policy. A policy may also be required where there is a diversity of interests and preferences, which could result in vague and conflicting objectives among those who are directly involved.
Some of the most common workplace policies that could assist you are;
1. Code of Conduct
2. Recruitment Policy
3. Internet and Email Policy
4. Mobile Phone Policy
5. Non-Smoking Policy
6. Drug and Alcohol Policy
7. Health & Safety Policy
8. Anti-Discrimination Policy
9. Grievance Handling Policy
10. Discipline and Termination Policy
11. Using Social Media
12. Dress Code Policy
Let’s have a closer look at some reasons why your business may need policies and procedures...
01: Performance Measures.
Think of policies as guidelines... Without policies explaining and defining the expectations of employees, what do you have to support your reasons to question an employee's performance? Policies and procedures can be seen as a tool to measure an employee's performance by determining if the process was followed appropriately or not.
Imagine calling a performance review meeting with an employee where you are questioning their level of performance with no or limited documents to back up your claim. Expectations set out by employers should really be created as documents for viewing by employees and they can be signed off when received to acknowledge that they have been read and understood - you never know when you may need proof that they have been distributed.
Without consistency, the quality of service can change with each employee's understanding. When policies and procedures are set out and followed, there is consistency within work processes. Policies and procedures help to ensure that things are done the same way, every time and that all steps are followed – minimising misunderstandings and decreasing room for error.
Employee training is one of the most valuable investments that a business can make. The more thorough the training, the better outcome and return for the business, employees, and clients. An employee that has received thorough training has the tools to excel in their roles. An employee that has received a lesser level of training could possibility struggle with their understanding of the role they were hired for and it could also have massive implications for their safety and your business.
Imagine that you employed someone to work on a building site with minimal to no training who had very little clue what they were doing. A scenario like this could very well cost the employer their life, think about the ramifications to the business and to the people responsible.
04: Adds Strength.
In the event that legal action arises in the workplace, your policies and procedures could be your saving grace. Imagine that an employee was terminated from their position and then you receive notice that this particular employee had put in an unfair dismissal claim against you. In this scenario, you have followed best practice advice and have thorough policies and procedures in place that all employees sign off and agree to on commencement with the business. With supporting documents that show employees are required to sign that they understand and agree your policies and procedures – you are very likely to save yourself a gigantic headache if this scenario ever becomes a reality.
From January to March in 2016 there were 3578 Unfair Dismissal Applications lodged. Will you be a part of the next lot of statistics?
05: They Demonstrate Professionalism.
If I had two job interviews for a role in two businesses where one had clear policies, procedures, and documentation VS one that had nothing to show to represent their values, expectations and the guidelines put in place for both the employer and the employee – I know which one I would be more inclined to work with.
Not only do policies and procedures support a business with the above points, but they also give guidelines, a clearer understanding, and resources for not only business owners, management, and HR - but also employees.
So what are your thoughts? Are policies and procedures needed? Do you believe that they could be a safeguard for your business and employees? Or a waste of time?
If you are reading this and alarm bells are ringing in your ears – Give WhiteCollarBlue a call.
With the recent launch of our HR Services, we can save you the headache of creating and updating your policies and procedures. In today's market, many companies do not have a specialised HR practitioner or officer in their business to work on things like policies and procedures.
With a team of qualified HR Practitioners, WhiteCollarBlue is assisting SME’s across Sydney in ensuring that they are not only compliant but running the best way they can be to promote a healthy working environment for both employer and employee.
We are excited to be offering FREE Business Healthchecks to SME’s that will allow you to gain the full attention of a qualified HR practitioner to come in, assess a particular area or multiple areas of your business and then work with you to turn these struggles into strengths. Not only could booking in your Healthcheck save you thousands of dollars in fines, but it could also save your sanity and workplace.
Booking a free Busines Healthcheck could be the difference between being compliant, or not - what excuse do you have not to book one today?
With 5 specific Healthchecks on offer, we are positioned to help any SME with their pain points.
If you would like to hear more about our Free Business Healthcheck, give us a call today – we would be happy to work with you. The number to call is 1300 559 662.
WhiteCollarBlue: 1300 559 662
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