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Policies – 5 Tips To Ensure They Work

All too often, questions are only asked about policy when something has already gone wrong.

When investigating such questions, it is commonly found the ‘policy’ doesn’t really exist – many business’ policies, especially relating to HR, are no more than unspoken rules which have been handed down over time.

Unfortunately, unspoken rules are no help when you need to guide a member of your team or when managing behaviour. How sure can you be they were ever aware of the rule?

Here are five musts for policies in your business:

  1. Have some! They do not need to be complicated, but they do need to exist. A basic policies and procedures manual can cover essentials such as applying for leave, Internet/Email usage, uniforms, company vehicles and the like. 
  2. Make them accessible. If it is easy for staff to refer to policy they will be more likely to follow it. Also, ensure you roll your policies out in an official manner.  Have all staff sign-off on their understanding and acceptance of the policies.
  3. Be specific and use plain English.  If you do not want your people surfing Facebook during work times, state it... Facebook is not to be accessed during work hours. Maybe you are okay with staff using work facilities to check Facebook on their own time… Staff may use company facilities to access Facebook during their lunch break and for up to 15 minutes after their shift ends. 
  4. It is important your policies and procedures do not discriminate. Anti Discrimination guidelines are relatively simple and easy to follow. Cross-reference current guidelines with your intended policies before rolling them out.
  5. Be fair and equitable. At the end of the day, policies are an agreement between you and your team. If too one-sided, the policy is doomed to fail. Consider framing policies as a mutually beneficial arrangement – like in point 3 (above), where you allowed Facebook during lunch and after work. Your policies will work better when they encourage staff to do the right thing by the business, rather than read like a riot act.

JP Smith has a proven track record setting up policies and procedures for all forms of business and industry. For advice on policy, or any HR matter, call us on (07) 4659 7400. 

Jamie Smith

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