Company policies are a critical part of the agreement between an employee and the employer. It’s important to make them as clear and concise as possible so that everyone understands critical expectations and to alleviate any confusion. Each company may have unique policies that help determine the dress code, vacation time, sick days, and remote work.
Employees should be familiar with and agree to the policies and procedures at their company. While employers try to make policies as clear as possible, some aspects can be confusing and differ from company to company. Additionally, company policies, such as dress codes, should be reasonable and free from discrimination. Creating your own company policies becomes easier when you use the tools here at Almanac.io.
Company policies are the principles that businesses follow in their interactions with people within the company, their clients, and customers. These written policies direct the key ways that the employer protects the health and safety of the employees. In addition, it outlines the responsibilities of the employee and the ways they can hold each other accountable. In many companies there are state and federal regulations to consider, and the best company policies clearly communicate these issues and how they can impact the employee.
It’s important to communicate the behaviors that you expect from each of your employees. Company policies are important because it gives management an easy way to set expectations up front so that there is little room for confusion. Company policies also give a basis for disciplinary measures.
Company policies are beneficial because they offer an easy way to ensure all employees are treated fairly. Because they are written documents, it can also protect the company against litigation. They can even be used to convey the company mission and vision in a simple way. Employees who feel connected to a common vision are more likely to see the work they do in light of a bigger purpose.
Many countries require businesses to be equal opportunity employers. This legal requirement prevents discrimination during the hiring process and toward their current employees. Some of the protections afforded by the equal employment laws in the United States include anti-discrimination based on race, sex, gender, age, religion, and pregnancy. It may also be important to incorporate affirmative action in your equal opportunity employment policies.
At will employment means that employers can terminate an employee at any time and that an employee may also leave at any time. There is no expectation of notice to be given by either party. There are some exceptions to these company policies including written contracts and public policy. This is different from policies regarding independent contractors.
As an employer it’s your responsibility to provide a safe and healthy working environment for each of your employees. Workplace safety is directed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for the purpose of ensuring employers provide things like adequate ventilation, comfortable working temperatures, and more.
You want your employees to behave in certain ways at work and the best company policies try to communicate these expectations through a code of conduct. Your code of conduct may include rules around using tobacco products during work hours, repeated hostile behaviors, what you expect employees to wear, and even phone use at work. While there is still room for misinterpretation of the rules, a code of conduct is a good starting point.
Employees like to know how much time they are allowed to take off and how to request the time off. We like to think that our time off policies at Almanac are not only clear and easy to figure out, but that they are also generous and give employees ample time for rest, vacations, and wellness breaks.
Social media has become a central part of people’s everyday lives. What employees communicate on social media platforms whether on or off the clock can reflect on your company. Guidelines surrounding how employees are allowed to use social media during their employment with you can reduce confusion and the potential for litigation.
Not everyone is an IT specialist. Clearly communicating information security policies serves to protect both the employee and the employer. These may include educating your employees on the types of websites they can access with their work computers, what kinds of links to avoid, the importance of changing passwords, and whether they can install software or not without permission.
Disciplining an employee is never easy. Outlining the company policies regarding disciplinary action helps everyone be on the same page. You can incorporate anything including warnings, suspensions, demotions, and more in your disciplinary action policies.
Protecting employees when they have legitimate complaints is critical. How you handle issues between employees can become a legal issue if not dealt with correctly. Complaint policies identify reporting mechanisms designed to protect employees from discrimination for speaking up.
An ethics policy helps to communicate the ways that you want employees to treat each other and how they will handle internal company issues. Ethics policies can be used to limit what people can share outside the organization.
Most employers prohibit substance abuse while on the job. Some companies allow for the occasional drink when in a client meeting or during team events, but it’s important to communicate your company expectations. They outline things like the distinction between illegal substance abuse and the legal use of alcohol, marijuana, and other controlled substances in policies for substance abuse.
It’s important to know who is in the building of your workplace. Providing secure ways for people to access the building to stay protected is one of the functions of workplace security policies. Teaching your staff good habits to ensure they are increasingly paying attention to their surroundings can help avoid injury or harm.
Create documentation to tell employees whether they can bring their own device for work purposes or if they need to use company equipment. Including this in a list of company policies ensures that everyone is aware of company expectations for compensation and how to use their own equipment for work.
Company benefits may include things like medical insurance, dental coverage, paid time off, and bonuses. At Almanac, we wanted to create benefits packages that included more than the generic 2 weeks a year of time off and employee medical benefits.
Some workplaces require employees to travel to different sites, to conferences, and more. They outline things like compensation, reimbursement for expenses, and how much you’re allowed to spend on food daily while you are on a work-related trip.
When employees spend a great deal of time together at work, it’s natural for them to want to spend time outside of work hours as well. A fraternization policy can help create guidelines for appropriate relationships off the clock whether it pertains to friendships or romantic relationships.
Many companies now offer remote work which can be beneficial to both the employee and the employer when it relates to inclement weather. While previous company policies around bad weather often meant paid snow days or hurricane days, now these same companies can offer remote work to those staff who qualify. For those who can’t work from home, there are other options to ensure the safety of your employees.
When it comes to COVID-19 and other health policies, some of what you include in your documentation will depend on local and state regulations. In some locations, masks indoors are optional, while in others, they are mandatory. Your policies would also need to include your expectations on testing, quarantine, and COVID-19 vaccinations.
Hiring forms include anything from the application itself, to on-boarding forms like W-4’s and I-9’s. You may even have important forms that pertain directly to the job the employee has been hired for.
These forms are critical because they document what company property each employee has in their possession. This can include computers, corporate credit cards, and employee badges.
When you have a long list of company policies, you’ll need a form for each employee to sign to acknowledge that they received those policies or the handbook in writing.
When employees go on leave of absence, it’s critical that you have a form to go over all of the expectations including the start and end date. You’ll also need to document if this is a paid or unpaid leave and if employees can take PTO for the leave.
Employees with special needs are eligible to ask for reasonable accommodation requests. Encourage unprejudiced requests to ensure people get the accommodations they need. You might offer different types of desks for people who need them, seating in an area where the lighting isn’t harmful for those with chronic migraines, and more.
How do you quantify employee performance? Some employers do annual reviews, while others do checks throughout the year. These evaluations can qualify people for bonuses, raises, and opportunity for advancement. When performance is less than stellar, disciplinary measures may be necessary. Document this process in your workplace forms.
When employees make purchases on behalf of the company or to do company work, it is a business expense that must be reimbursed. Create forms either in paper or online to help people get paid back as quickly as possible.
Creating company policies from scratch can seem daunting. We have resources here at Almanac.io to help employers develop policies that follow legal regulations and reinforce their company culture.
If there is no need, then you don’t need a policy written about it. First, identify all your company needs for new policies. You might be creating new policies to help your company follow new legislation or you might be adding policies designed to help transform your business culture.
Once you determine the need, then you can determine what content you need to include. Whether you’re updating the PTO policies, or starting a new business from the ground up, you can use other company policies as a resource to build your content.
Most employees will barely look at new policies unless they are given a reason to. Create a mechanism such as an online e-learning tool to ensure that each employee has read and understands the new company policies. It might even help to show the old and new policies side-by-side so that they can understand the differences.
Company policies are not set in stone. It’s okay to look at your rules each year to determine if they are serving your needs as an organization and your staff. If not, look for ways to improve.
We offer tools to help businesses of any size develop company policies that abide by state and federal regulations and help your business stand out to potential employees. They outline more than just serious matters. The best company policies also incorporate how your company handles celebrations, birthdays, team outings, benefits, and compensation. People will learn more about what your company values by the policies you institute.
Also, our tools at Almanac.io make it easy to update and implement company policies. With a central location for storing information, the ability to add links, and ways to create unique permissions, businesses benefit from using an online location for their company policies.