Companies, especially start-ups and small businesses, sometimes fail to take the time to write down and implement legal policies. If they’re not caught rushing their products and services to market, they’re busy expanding their network or putting out metaphorical fires. Spoken instructions and unspoken rules, in their minds, are enough to keep the boat running while in the early stages.
The ironic thing is having a set of company policies at the beginning can help lessen issues and disputes from cropping up. After all, what are policies but the rules to the game? They serve as guideposts that give direction to what decisions, initiatives, and plans are appropriate to the core and success of the business. Employees and consultants, whether they’re divorce lawyers working on multiple cases or programmers developing the latest software features, will know what is expected of them and how they can contribute to the company’s goals.
Depending on the industry and size of the business, there are different policies to prioritize. As a bare minimum, though, all workplaces should have the following procedures in writing:
Code of Conduct Policy
Despite the best of intentions, misunderstandings are bound to happen at work, especially when you put people of diverse backgrounds and cultures together in one room. The employee code of conduct can help put everyone on the same page because it communicates what actions and norms are acceptable in the organization. It also emphasizes the company’s mission, core values, and principles, serving as a benchmark for performance to be measured.
When developing their employee code of conduct, companies should avoid too much jargon and patronizing statements. Instead, they can make it easy to follow for new hires while ensuring that it includes answers to commonly asked questions. Following the branding of the business is a plus point.
Confidential Information Policy
In today’s modern world, information has the potential to topple down months of work and instigate intense competition and disagreements. The wrong people can misuse confidential information by engaging in fraudulent and discriminatory behavior. That is especially true in the human resources department since they are the keeper of sensitive employee and management information. Without a strict confidential information policy, businesses will be faced with a loss of trust and loyalty, causing a decrease in the workplace’s productivity.
Incorporating confidentiality clauses and non-disclosure agreements into essential documents is an excellent show of effort that the company knows how to handle sensitive information. Another is through investing in a secure storage software that protects files from wandering eyes and unauthorized access.
Disciplinary Action Policy
Setting up a transparent disciplinary system will show employees that the business takes the breaching of proper conduct and behavior seriously. It provides structure and objectivity to issues that may arise out of emotions and impulses. The disciplinary action process can also ensure that corrective actions and consequences are fair and appropriate, without any discrimination of information involved. Additionally, businesses should consult with a lawyer to understand their state’s labor laws such as the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act and the National Labor Relations Law.
Putting policies into writing can set the tone and expectations of a business. Stakeholders, both internal and external, will have a guide on how to act and present themselves.