By Kathleen Tierney
4 October, 2017
Painless (and precise) policies
Although Company policies may have a reputation as being at best a tedious necessity, and at worst, out of control bureaucracy, well written and compliant policies do have many useful and worthwhile features for the employer, the company and the employees.
Policies in the form that is easy to read and invoke consistent standards across the whole organisation:
- provide a plain English interpretation of the complex employment laws as they relate to your business;
- explain in detail the most important expectations that the business owner/s have of all employees;
- articulates the business owner/s commitments to the employees as to how they themselves will make business decisions, carry out business operations, and handle any interactions and dealings with others internally or externally;
- saves time and diminishes debate; minimises ambiguity and misinterpretation; and reduces wasteful re-iteration;
- gives employees and managers confidence and assurance that they are working within acceptable parameters, therefore reducing uncertainty and anxiety because they don’t have to waste energy and time always second guessing what is considered to be right or not;
- sets guidelines and may provide evidentiary support for significant decisions when managing employee issues or resolving disputes;
- is an opportunity to define workplace standards as to how you expect employees and managers to behave, interact and represent to each other and externally whilst representing your business; and,
- most importantly, certain policies are required to meet compliance and governance obligations including (and not limited to) Workplace Health and Safety, Fair Work Act, Human Rights, Corporations Law, State legislation and Industry standards
Save costs, reduce waste and win larger business
Most businesses need documented procedures to meet certain industry standards or to win business with larger clients. However, when it comes to Workplace Compliance, there are several benefits in having the company procedures in writing and shared with employees and managers, including:
- Saves managers and employee time and productivity not having to repeat instructions or micro manage, even new employees;
- Diminishes single point sensitivity (for example, when someone holds critical information and can’t take leave without the place falling apart);
- Provides easy accessible “how to” guides supporting policies and standards across the business;
- Reduces risk of failure, error while detailing the important and proven steps for critical processes in the business; and,
- Increases consistency, fairness and lawful treatment and interactions between staff, managers and others.
Protecting or exposing the owner?
The value of policies, procedures and documents is either enhanced or diminished by the standard practices within the workplace. Practices not only set the tone of the workplace, and reflect on to the customer dealings, they may protect or expose the owner, the business and the employees from adverse implications.
Look out for our final article in this series in which we discuss the ultimate protection for you, your business, and your employees.
About the Author
Kathleen Tierney is the Executive Director and Owner of Business Embassy and its parent company, Career Embassy. She helps Australian companies with business management, HR services, policies and procedures. Kathy believes that great leadership and business success is achieved and sustained by connecting with our personal values.