Any business that wants to develop and maintain consistency in its practices must have a thorough outline of policies and regulations. Why? To ensure no confusion over conduct, benefits, communication, and more.
However, if you’re running a small business, you may not think these policies are necessary. You can easily share your ideas with others. Plus, you want your business to be different from the rest. You don’t want the corporate cloud hanging over your company culture. Your company wantsto be modern and unique.
The problem with failing to establish policies and procedures, though, is that it could leave you and your staff liable. While policies can feel like overkill, they are there for a reason. They will protect your business should something occur.
A Code of Conduct
A code of conduct is the first thing your company should establish before launching. This outline will lay the groundwork for how you expect staff, customers, and even yourself to act and behave while at the office.
Such a policy will include everything from the dress code. Do you want to promote casual dress or one that is more rigid and ‘professional’?. As well as the necessary level of decorum you expect from your staff. Including equal opportunities and discrimination rules. A big one these days in our space! You would hope that everybody is sensible and professional while working. However, there may be some employees who are not as engaged as you want them to be.
If you don’t write out a code of conduct, there’s a risk that these employees could take advantage of the supposed freedom. This can severely impact your business and its reputation.
It’s always exciting to have new staff members join the team. However, you must also make sure they know what they need to do once they join the company. A thorough onboarding process is the best way to achieve this. Especially if yours is a larger business that hires many candidates at once.
Onboarding days will allow you to go over everything your new staff needs to know about the business. Further, by outlining a specific way of onboarding, you put everyone on the same level. This will minimize the risk of mistakes and misunderstandings. It also establishes a consistent attitude for new hires to take into their first day.
You can decide how long your onboarding process takes. Whether a morning or afternoon, a day, or even two days. It’s always worth printing out (or emailing) the information to reference it while still learning how the business works.
Regardless of the type of business you run. Whether construction or in the tech industry, substance abuse can have dire effects on your company’s stability and progression. Because of this, you must outline policies that restrict substance use or being under the influence.
This can be the expected hard substances. But if your staff operate heavy machinery, restricting alcohol could be another policy to establish. While there is nothing wrong with enjoying a drink after work, too many drinks could put themselves, coworkers, and customers in danger if they still feel the effects the next day.
To ensure compliance, a Specimen Collector will have the tools available to obtain and analyze hair or urine (depending on your budget) to establish whether a staff member was under the influence following an incident. From here, you can take appropriate action.
The office environment is crucial for maintaining productivity and keeping everybody working to the best of their ability. Your office environment policies should cover the working hours and whether you will allow (or are capable of) enabling remote working opportunities.
You should also outline the lunch or break allowances and establish whether everyone can take lunch at once. Or if you require half of the office to go at one time and the rest of the office to go when they come back. How to use the office equipment, including computers, printers, copiers, and more, should also be outlined. This will ensure they can use the equipment without any issues that could disrupt the workday.
It’s essential to train the staff with safety procedures, such as where the fire exits are, and encourage them to keep the workplace tidy to prevent accidents.
Sharing Ideas and Communication
Every office should establish the best way to get in touch with one another. In previous generations, all desks had a phone that meant you could call someone on the other side of the office to get answers quickly. However, while convenient, there is also meant a considerable investment.
Furthermore, the way we communicate has changed, both in real life and in the office. Instant messaging has become a widespread communication between coworkers, especially at modern offices. The likes of Slack have taken off, and as there are options for multiple Groups or Chats, your team can get in touch only with those they need to speak to.
For project planning, it’s an excellent way to get ideas together, and you can also use it to request somebody to see you in your office without drawing too much attention to it.
Performance reviews are an essential part of any business, so you must outline what your staff can expect from a performance review in the employee handbook.
You may want to go over several policies in this section, including bonuses, salary raises, and disciplinary factors. If your staff go into their performance review knowing what to expect, they will be more prepared for the meeting, which can help them feel more at ease.
With this setup, you’re able to go over what they have done well and where they can improve, and the outline for this should be included in their handbook, which helps them make notes that they can use for the coming year.
Perks and Benefits
Your staff won’t want to make a huge deal about it, but perks and benefits are some of the most attractive policies of any business. While they are happy to work. The benefits you offer could be the difference between them working for you and somebody else.
You should clearly outline the benefits that your staff can look forward to when working for your company. The issue comes when your wording is too vague. You need to make sure that everything, from retirement plans to paid time off, is concisely outlined with what the policy is.
Otherwise, your staff will either take advantage of a lenient policy. Or overwork themselves, as they are too worried to take time off.
Leaving the Company
While you don’t want staff to leave your company. There will come the point where many of them need to move on. This could be due to relocating, it could be to explore new opportunities, or they may have a better paying job elsewhere.
When the time comes, they need to know when they will receive their final paycheck and return any company-owned items. Such as their uniform, the company car, or more common these days a tablet or laptop.
You may also want to carry out an exit interview. This will give you the chance to go over their successes and write a decision on a reference letter. You can also identify why they are leaving. This is a big one, as it will help you adjust your practices (if you need) to retain staff better in the future.
Health and Safety
Health and safety is another policy that no business should be without. The more thorough it is, the safer your staff and customers will feel.
Every company will have general health and safety policies. This will include what to do when the fire alarm goes off, as well as how to deal with an aggressive customer. But, these policies will diversify depending on which industry you operate in.
For example, a warehouse or factory will require health and safety procedures regarding heavy machinery. Conversely, an office environment will cover the potential issues you might find in such an environment, including stray cables.
While not exactly a business policy per se, tour company history is a crucial part of the employee handbook. It enables your staff to learn all about where you came from and where you are going. This can help promote a more robust company culture. It also makes it easier for your staff to get on board with your expectations.
A detailed company history will also help your staff care about who you are. This will make them feel more connected to the company. If you want to foster a culture of togetherness at the office, this type of approach is vital, as it will help the business become more like a family.
Your business policies will enable you to reflect your company culture to whoever steps through the doors. This can be customers, clients, investors, and employees. With a robust and fair outline of business policies, you will be able to attract the right people to your business. This ensures that you will hire the best talent, work with the most inspiring investors, and serve customers who aren’t there to cause any issues.
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