I know discussing workplace policies to update regularly isn’t the most exciting topic, but it’s important for business owners. Though some workplace policies are specific to each industry and owner, some are across the board. Updating workplace policies is crucial because it helps ensure your company is up-to-date with current laws and industry standards. It also protects you and your employees from legal liabilities and can help to prevent or resolve conflicts in the workplace.
Outdated policies can put employers at risk of non-compliance with changing laws and regulations that could create problems for everyone. For example, if a policy does not reflect the latest changes to minimum wage laws, an employer could be liable for back pay and other penalties. Outdated policies can also create legal risks for employers if they are found to be discriminatory or in violation of employee rights.
Up-to-date policies can help to prevent or resolve conflict in the workplace by setting clear expectations for employees and managers. Having well-written and up-to-date policies can help to prevent misunderstandings and disputes before they escalate into larger problems. Updated policies can also provide a roadmap for resolving conflict when it does occur.
Here are some specific workplace policies to update.
Employee Code of Conduct
The employee code of conduct sets forth a standard of acceptable behavior expected from employees. It may cover topics such as workplace safety, respectful behavior, attendance, dress code, and use of company property. Drug and alcohol policies may also be included in the employee code of conduct to address being under the influence and addiction in the workplace.
Anti-Discrimination and Harassment
This policy makes clear what discrimination and harassment look like in the workplace. It should also be a clear list of the consequences for violating the policy. Some companies even have video or live classes to teach this topic thoroughly. Though this policy needs to follow the general laws of your area, it can also be specific to your business and culture.
The workplace safety policy sets forth the employer’s commitment to providing a safe and healthy work environment. It should include procedures for reporting unsafe conditions and protocols for responding to workplace accidents and injuries. Again, there will be specific industry standards and laws to follow, but there is room to customize it.
Attendance and Leave
The attendance policy sets forth the expectations for employee punctuality and absenteeism. It may include procedures for reporting absences and consequences for excessive absenteeism. It might also have guidelines discussing the company’s leave policy. This outlines the rules and procedures for taking time off from work. It should cover topics such as vacation, sick leave, bereavement leave, and family and medical leave.
The dress code policy sets forth the expectations for employee appearance in the workplace. It should list the types of clothing and personal appearance that are not allowed in the workplace. Additionally, make sure to include what the company provides as far as uniforms, shoes, etc.
The technology use policy sets forth the expectations for employee use of company-owned computers, email, and other forms of electronic communication. It should list the prohibited uses of technology, such as downloading unauthorized software or accessing inappropriate websites.
The work schedule policy sets forth the expectations for employee work hours and break times. It should include procedures for reporting absences and tardiness and may include flexible work arrangements.
Know that changing or updating workplace policies might not be the most popular thing you do in your business. That said, communicating the reasons changes need to happen beforehand can help lessen the impact. Employees need time to adjust and/or prepare for things like scheduling shifts, dress code, and other expectations that affect how they do their jobs.