Employee Policies To Know When Starting a Business

Rules are essential whenever you are running any business. They help everyone understand how they should handle themselves and keep conflicts at bay. If you think unwritten or obvious rules will be enough while running your new business, you are wrong. Writing down policies that dictate the conduct of employees and the employer-employee relationship, is essential.

First of all, it ensures that you have a clear document to refer to during times of conflict. In cases these conflicts result in lawsuits, the written documents can help you defend your business. The trick is in identifying the kind of policies you should have.

Here are five employee policies your business needs to have:

Communication Policies

Employees need to understand everything that is expected from them when it comes to communication. Before everything else, you need to provide them with the technology required to help them communicate. Within the policies, you need to detail how to ethically communicate when using corporate resources. For instance, employees should understand that they will be acting as a representative of your business when using corporate devices for communication.

Discriminatory or abusive behavior could easily get them fired. You should also draw the line between using the devices for personal and business use, especially since having the devices used for personal use can eat up your corporate resources. Lastly, your communication policy needs to state that your ethics, anti-harassment, and anti-discriminatory policies should extend to using all forms of communication.

Non-Discrimination Policy

It’s no secret that having a diverse workforce can help your business grow in leaps and bounds. Unfortunately, the risk of discrimination is always looming. Lawfully, employees are protected from any form of discrimination based on anything unrelated to the quality of their work.

It is common for employees to be discriminated based on their race, age, religion, gender, and disability. Having policies that warn employees and managers against discrimination can help keep this threat at bay. The fact that discrimination can hurt the morale of your workforce and reduce employee retention rates means that you should keep it under control.

However, not all cases of discrimination are intentional, but unintentional bias should never be an excuse. Train your leaders and employees on how to avoid discrimination, and embrace diversity instead.

Compensation And Benefits Policies

It is common for compensation and benefits policies to become issues of contention, especially if the rules aren’t written down. When creating these policies, you ought to cover all bases, including payroll deductions, worker’s compensation, overtime, and the Family and Medical Leave Act. However, employment law tends to be quite complex.

Laws can differ from state to state, with some laws being unique to specific municipalities. These laws also keep changing with time, which is why you ought to keep updating your policies. Ideally, you should consult an employment lawyer when crafting these policies to leave nothing to chance. Having ill-updated policies could result in financial loss if you were ever involved in an employment lawsuit.

The policies should also include the specifics of performance review and pay increases. For instance, you can outline the number of performance reviews employees can expect, and the yearly merit and salary increases.

Code Of Conduct

Your code of conduct will act as a roadmap for employees when it comes to how they are expected to act. Employees can refer to it whenever they have questions about ethics and compliance. It should also touch on your company culture. A typical code of conduct policy should include information like:

  • The code of ethics
  • Workplace safety
  • Dress code and grooming standards
  • Attendance requirements

It should both spell out the expectation and establish the consequences of going against the policies. For instance, the policies could come in handy when an employee is frequently late for work. You can easily refer them to the policies before any punitive actions can take effect.

Be sure to add some compromises to avoid being too strict on employees. For instance, if you have a strict suit-and-tie dress code requirement, you can make room for casual Fridays. This will help appease employees who would love some wiggle room when it comes to how they dress.

Employment Classification Policies

Your employees’ employment status can fall into two categories: contractual or at-will. If you are working under a contract, all the intricacies of their employment will be outlined in the contract. For situations where a contract doesn’t exist, you will have hired the employee on an at-will status.

An at-will employment status means that the working relationship can be terminated at any time, by the employee or employer, and for any or no reason at all. The only exception is if the reason behind ending the relationship is illegal, such as through discrimination. Having a clause in your employee’s handbook that reinforces at-will discharge of any employee is wise. It ensures all parties understand their status.

Once you have these policies written down, the next step is to ensure that employees read and sign them. You should also make the policies easily available for the employees to refer to whenever the need arises. Be sure to store a copy of the signed documents in each employee’s file.


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