Any business that has people working for it needs to have suitable policies and procedures.
With human nature being what it is, employees may test limits and act “creatively” in workplace situations, so it is vital that you have a strategy for developing, communicating and enforcing a set of policies and practices that reflect your company standards.
By having clear rules which set out clear consequences and which are subsequently supported by the appropriate tools, your business will benefit substantially. Here are a few key issues to consider:-
Managers and employees need to share a clear understanding of what is and what is not acceptable behaviour within the company. In today’s workplace, an employer can be held liable for not dealing with the unacceptable behaviour of an employee, especially when that behaviour affects other employees, clients or individuals.
Setting the required standards of behaviour and providing an understandable and clear set of rules establishes a strong framework for employment. If you rely on loosely defined standards that aren’t properly documented, they can and will become subjective, resulting in ambiguousness which could lead to claims of unfair dismissal or other employment discrimination.
As well as setting out the rules of employment, it is just as important that you clearly state the consequences for failure to adhere to company processes/standards so that employees know what to expect and have fair warning of those expectations. It’s essential that you know ahead of time which employee actions require an immediate dismissal and which may qualify for a less stringent disciplinary approach. The steps involved in each approach should be clearly defined, and managers should understand them fully.
Managers are often disappointed in an employee’s performance even though the manager’s expectations of that employee were not clearly communicated. If this is the case, then any consequences you implement for failure to meet those expectations can seem unfair, and an employee who feels they’ve been treated unfairly can create a great deal of upset and discord within the company .
Where this situation has occured, it is likely to repeat itself until it is addressed. If you or your managers haven’t clearly communicated your expectations to one employee, it is probably that you haven’t done so with your other employees, putting your business at considerable financial and operational risk.
Tools like an employee handbook, a policy guide or standardised forms and documents are vital when dealing with employee matters, and create greater consistency within the company. It can also minimise the time it takes for you to deal with staff issues and reduce your risks significantly. The key here is to devote time and resources to develop your company’s policy and practice strategy before the need arises.
What can you do?
Many companies do not have the internal resource required to put robust and legally compliant HR documentation together, and some may not have access to or the financial resources to have external HR consultants provide this for them. This is where Wilder Coe’s HR Services can help.
We provide a bespoke HR service to our clients, offering support and expertise through our in-house HR specialists. We can guide you through the full employment cycle – from staff recruitment to leaving procedures, and update you on potentially incorrect or expired policies that can result in unnecessary and costly financial outlay to your business.
If you’d like us to take a look at your HR procedures and to help manage your staff and HR requirements, why not give us a call to discuss your requirements?