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Laying the Ground Rules – Crafting Company Policies

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HR Governance

Managing People

Now that you have organized your workforce and built your team, you need to give them guidance on how to function within their new work environment. The best way is to create ground rules, similar to playing rules for games or laws to run a country. By doing so, you create boundaries for your business. It helps employees make decisions between right and wrong, making the best judgment calls for common situations.

Basic Policies

To start, it is a good idea to create policies relating to ethics or business conduct. This foundational policy should reference your corporate values and business culture, because you want to develop a solid team that believes in the same moral standards.

Also, in a technologically driven world it is crucial to create policies that limit device-related security breaches. You may also want to restrict unproductive behaviour that could undermine your business operations, such as excessive browsing, gaming, illicit activities, or unauthorized downloads.

Ideally, your HR team should be spending more time helping your business move forward, rather than dealing with preventable indiscretions and abuse of privileges. There should also be clauses related to information sharing and proper use of company property, like access cards, cell phones, gas cards, and company vehicles.

You may also find it beneficial to have a respectful workplace policy. In a more diverse and globalized world, there are bound to be offended people due to differing values and perspectives. That being said, basic respectfulness and manners should be encouraged.

Though not an exhaustive list, other policies that may be relevant for your company can include: • Alternative Work Arrangements • Business Expenses • Conflict of Interest • Dress Code • Health & Safety • Hours of Work • Overtime • Privacy • Reasonable Accommodation • Records Retention • Time Off • Total Rewards • Whistleblower • Working with Family

Depending on the stage of growth that your company is facing, bringing in policies can cause tension within the employee population. So a gradual approach may be the best to transition unwritten rules into documented ones.

Managing Performance

To complement your business policies, it is highly recommended that you create standard operating procedures to support your team. In contrast to policies, which rarely change materially. These operational documents should be dynamic and updated to reflect your changing work environment.

Standard Operating Procedures

The first reason to document standard operating procedures is consistency, wherein you can create an expected level of performance. By doing so, employees are able to create reliable/repeatable results and have a guidepost upon which their performance is measured. It essentially aligns expectations with executed behaviour, so your team all heads in the same direction.

As alluded to, the second reason for creating an operating manual is that is creates performance standards. This information becomes the basis for developing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), so you can monitor employee performance. Wherein, you can enable your leaders to measure people behaviours, and take any necessary corrective actions. Your leaders then have clear information on how to help their team improve, so they can take more of an enabling role as a teacher and coach vs a dictatorial manager.

It is very tedious to document every single step, but it is definitely a worthwhile endeavor. It allows your company to scale, but still maintain quality. Unfortunately, there is a lot of fear when it comes to documenting work procedures. Oftentimes, employees fear a loss of their job. So clear communication and focus on the greater vision is critical to push forward.

Here to Help

For assistance with HR Policy Development, we can be reached for a free confidential consultation at +1-403-470-5350 or [email protected] For further details on additional HR service offerings, please visit our website at or follow along for more informative tips by joining us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

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