Robust workplace policies and procedures underpin every well-run business. Therefore, it is essential that all your policies and procedures are up-to-date and align with local and national employment laws. Of course, this is easier said than done. Employment rules and regulations, in addition to work, health and safety laws, are complex and always evolving. Nevertheless, it is your responsibility as an employer to stay on top of any changes.
Following the allegations of sexual harassment, drunken behaviour, bullying and more against the renowned law firm, Russel McVeagh, an Investigative report into the firm was recently conducted by Dame Margaret Bazley. In her findings, Bazley attributes inadequate policies, standards and governance structures as factors that contributed significantly to the poor management of workplace incidents. Bazley looks indepth at the gaps in and changes required to improve the firms’ Harassment, Alcohol, Poor Performance and Exit Interview policies. The fact that the firm had no Code of Conduct and no identifiable standards for behaviour at social events or for relationships at work, is clearly outlined as gaps that need to be filled. To read the full report, click here.
On the other end of the HR compliance scale, many companies are beginning to recognise that policy can be a proactive way to not only safeguard against inappropriate behaviour, but also to improve employee experience and generate company loyalty. Take Google, for example, who recently introduced new HR policy to improve employee communication and end toxic culture. Vodafone NZ who voluntarily topped up the governments parental leave contribution with a 22 week parental leave policy.
Now businesses are taking the lead and expanding on the minimum legislative requirements of company policy, it is a risky move not to ensure your own policy library is robust and up-to-date with national minimum employment standards. Sure, it’s an ongoing challenge, but as Russell McVeagh found, getting it wrong is far more costly than investing to get it right.
If you’re unsure where to start, here is a list of 10 of our most commonly used enableHR policy templates by clients:
1. Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination Policy
Communicate clearly what constitutes bullying, sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour at work, including how to deal with incidents if they occur.
2. Code of Conduct
While Policies set specific expectations, a Code of Conduct establishes clear lines of acceptable behaviour for everyone at the firm and is a central resource for positive, open workplace environments.
3. Drug and Alcohol Policy
A drug and Alcohol policy can be used to promote risk-free work environments and set out the rights of the employees and the business clearly when it comes to testing for or addressing drug and alcohol use.
4. Leave Policy
Your leave policy should explain the rules, timeframes and reporting lines for taking leave to ensure that both employers and employees understand the rights and responsibilities for taking time off.
5. Parental Leave Policy
This is a standalone policy and an important component of a modern, inclusive workplace. Parental leave policy should ensure that new parents are supported and are able to stay connected to the workplace while caring for young children.
6. Performance Counseling and Discipline Policy
These are delicate areas and processes for anyone involved and a clear policy will support fair and reasonable actions when addressing poor employee performance.
7. Social Media Policy
On social media, the lines between personal and professional lives can be blurred, as co-workers become friends on different platforms. Therefore, it is important to lay out what is deemed inappropriate and how incidents will be dealt with.
8. Internet and email policy
An internet and email policy will define what is inappropriate use of company computers and internet resources, as well as the consequences an employee may face for breaching these standards.
10. Work Health and Safety Policy
Workplace injuries can affect your business in a number of ways including decreased productivity, sick pay obligations and the cost of finding a replacement. WHS policies highlight safety procedures and the responsibilities of all employees to keep the workplace safe.
Remember, even when you’re using compliant policies, it’s also important that you enforce company policies consistently throughout your organisation and retain records that your employees have read and acknowledged them. Always deal with any staff breaches of policy promptly and according to the procedures set out in the policy.
As the Case of Russell McVeagh highlights, inconsistencies in the application of a policy or not keeping a policy up-to-date can land you in all sorts of trouble.
Our HR Software allows you to download all of the above HR policies and more. Call us today for a demo.