We have recently taken a step back to review our activity in the last 12 months. There have been some wins, some misses and some losses, especially in HR.
What became evident was going backwards to go forward would make the difference to our business, not only for us as Directors but for the team to know where the line in the sand was… the ‘base foundation’ to our business. These formal processes, while they might seem laborious, time consuming and dictator-ish help outline all core business functions, so all parties know what is expected of them. With a base, you can then grant flexibility on how it is executed.
Putting together a package of policies and procedures was likely the last thing on your mind in those giddy first 6-12 months of business ownership.
However, taking the time to prepare the right workplace policies is worthwhile not only to help protect your business from risk, but to lay a roadmap for its growth.
Based on experience, we’ve collated for you a list of the Top 5 Policies Every Business Should Have, and why.
- Workplace Health and Safety Policy
This one only applies to businesses operating in a high-risk environment, right?
Not even close.Every business needs to define its workplace safety procedures to ensure the wellbeing of its employees and the overall risk management profile of the business itself.As a business, you are responsible for providing a safe workplace for your employees and if an employee gets hurt at work or on the way to/from work, the company is hurt too.Depending on the industry you work in, your workplace health and safety policy may be a highly-technical document with a meticulous outline of the procedures required to stay safe at work. But for many businesses in low-risk industries, a simple outline of basic safety procedures for your workplace will suffice, alongside a clear outline of how to report unsafe practices and when. Keep in mind, workplace health and safety does apply to both the physical and mental safety of your workers, and oftentimes this policy will go hand in hand with an outline of procedures to deal with discrimination, bullying and harassment in the workplace.Don’t forget to include flexible working arrangements, as you may also be responsible for any employees who are injured while working from home.
- Social Media Policy
Social media platforms are powerful communication tools for businesses, but issues can crop up when employees mix the personal use of these sites with their professional capacity as an employee.
A social media policy is a must to protect your company’s reputation and set clear guidelines for how you expect your employees to conduct themselves in this arena.Too many businesses get caught out on this one, current or exiting employees can use their access to damage the company and or the company’s customers/clients, or past employees can use insider knowledge to hurt the business.A social media policy does not have to be complex, its goal is to emphasise professionalism, above all else, and educate employees on the ramifications of things possibly being taken out of context – including photos, meme’s, shared videos and links to other people and networks.This policy does not have to be a list of restrictions you impose upon your employees, it should be more a framework of clear guidelines to help them understand the importance of the platform to help achieve business goals, not impede them.If the worst happens and an employee uses social media to deliberately disparage the business there are legal avenues you can access to deal with such matters, but as with most things, prevention is better than cure and a solid social media policy will usually give you, as the business owner, some comfort you have minimised your risks and your employees have a clear idea of what is expected of them.
- Code of Conduct Policy
This one isn’t only to protect your business from misconduct like the potential we mentioned above, but to help frame your business brand as a whole.The way your employees act directly reflects on your business, whether you work in a customer-focused industry or not. Providing your employees with an outline of their expected conduct in a professional capacity can be helpful to assist them to learn how to build your brand identity.Code of conduct can include internet and email etiquette procedures and other ways employees are expected to act legally, ethically and within the best interests of the business, both internally and externally.
- Employment Policy
Most businesses provide new employees with the terms and conditions of their employment when they accept a role, but this can extend to outline the company’s policy for performance reviews, accountability and overall business conditions.For some industries this policy will encompass equal opportunities and guidelines for how the business will handle disability or any other diversity an employee may bring to the workplace.You can also add performance management here to assess and evaluate employee output and outline any required reporting procedures and regulatory requirements specific to your industry.It’s a good idea to cover off on your leave policy here too, including parental leave parameters. Be sure to include details relating to flexible working arrangements and/or working from home expectations and requirements, if applicable.
- Drug and Alcohol Policy
This one seems like a no-brainer but you’d be surprised how easy it is to blur the lines.Obviously, turning up to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol will be prohibited in most, if not all, workplaces, but what does that mean for that once-a-year long lunch you take to celebrate a business milestone? Or the Christmas Party?If you’re going to be doing regular drug and alcohol testing within your workplace this should all be outlined here. A written policy of this type will help to reduce your liability and will also make clear to employees your expectations and the actions and behaviours that will not be tolerated.
If you haven’t made a start on preparing these policies for your business yet, stay calm, our worksheet this week will give you a kickstart on the steps you need to take to whip your policies and procedures into place.
Ingredior clients, we’ve got you covered – we have these templates for you and if we may say, they have been crafted by some of the best. Reach out if you want us to send it to you on firstname.lastname@example.org
Ingredior can assist to help your business set up the necessary strategies and systems to safeguard itself from harm and mitigate potential risks, irrespective of your industry or core business activities.
Contact us for a FREE consultation today.
- Policies are what gives you & your team a foundation to work from, it sets expectation. Business success cannot ensue without structure and understanding of expectations.
- In an ever-changing world of communicating, a standalone Social Media Policy is vital to set boundaries and frame the consequences of actions taken by individuals.
- With flexible working arrangements and working from home employee agreements becoming the norm, your business needs to be protected from risk both in the worksite and at the employee’s home. Consider a standalone ‘Working From Home Policy’
- Start today, this will never get easier as you grow, in fact, without structure and a base foundation it will only get harder. Use this month’s Resource Worksheet as your guide.
Test this theory:
- List the last 5 incidences you have had in your business/team?
- Did you have a policy to cover it?
- Was it relevant? Was it up to date?
- Choose 1 policy to write or review each month (or a minimum of every 2 months) – this means you get 12 policies written or reviewed a year. EASY!