The Five things you should know about Employee Policies and Procedures

Firstly, these don’t need to be complicated and you won’t find yourself knee deep in piles of paperwork! With the right HR support and advice, we can help you to create Employee Policies and Procedures that make sure you are legally compliant, but that also work for your business and culture too!  Here’s our top tips to help you determine what employee policies and procedures you need:

It’s important to explain to employees whether they are employees who have been with you for a while, or are a new employee, what the rules of your business are. Alternatively, you can think of your Employee Policies and Procedures as “the way we do things around here.”

There are many benefits to having suitable employment policies in place. Setting standards is the key to healthy workplace relations. It can reduce the need for disciplinary and legal action. It may also increase productivity and morale, as well as help employee retention. Clear policy making can also be positive for your business’ reputation externally, e.g. among clients and the local community. It can also help in attracting new staff.

If a policy is well developed and clearly written, it helps communication with employees, clarifies expectations and makes sure that everyone is treated in a consistent and fair way.

The Policies and Procedures that you decide to put into place, will also set the tone for your business and will help you to create the working culture of your business, so it is really important to spend the time on getting them right.

There are certain legal requirements that must be met from a Policies and Procedures perspective. It is a legal requirement to set out your health and safety policy in writing if you have five or more employees. It is also a legal requirement to set out your disciplinary rules and discipline and grievance procedures in writing regardless of the number of employees’ that you have and you must have a GDPR policy including employee and candidate privacy notices.

The other policies that you have to have in place but not legally in writing are as stated below. However, I would suggest that it is best practice to also have these key policies set out in writing to avoid any confusion and to offer employees’ complete transparency.

  • Anti-Bullying and Anti-harassment
  • Flexible Working
  • Time off for Emergencies
  • Time off for Dependents
  • Parental Bereavement Leave
  • Equality and Diversity
  • Maternity / Paternity / Adoption/Parental/Shared Parental Leave
  • Pay, how and when you pay
  • Redundancy
  • Smoking, drugs and alcohol
  • Social Media/IT Policy
  • Whistleblowing / protected disclosure.
  • Working time and time off.

The other policies that you have will be determined by the nature of your business. For example, if your staff operate machinery, it may be a good idea to implement a specific policy on drugs and alcohol use. If most of your staff use computers and the internet for their work, you should have an email and internet usage policy as well as a Social Media Policy. It is advisable to discuss what policies and procedure you should put into place with an HR or legal professional.

It is important to determine where you will keep these rules and procedures for employees to access, as well as determining who and how often they will be checked and updated.

Many people have a Company intranet, and like to keep their policies and procedures on the intranet site and can refer employees to the intranet site if they need them to. There is a danger with this approach, as people may not read them and can then use the argument that they “weren’t aware of a policy” if they haven’t seen it.

For this reason, the majority of employers prefer to issue employees with an Employee Handbook at the same time as issuing them with their Contract of Employment which contains all of the policies and procedures. You can also ask employees to sign a statement to say that they have read, understood and accept the terms of these policies and procedures.

If you want or need to develop your employee policies and procedures, it’s important that you get some advice as your policies and procedures not only state the rules and expectations of your business, they will also help you to create the culture of your business, and reduce the need for disciplinary and legal action. The right policies and procedures may also increase productivity and morale, as well as help employee retention, so it’s important that you don’t get this important task wrong!

If you want to understand whether what you have in place is legally compliant as well as understand what you could do to improve your HR policies and Procedures, then why not give me a call to book yourself an HR Health check? Click to book a call.  There is 15% off any HR Health Check booked in March/April this year. To book a call with me to discuss this or any other HR related matter, just click the link to book a date and time that suits you. Click to book a call