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  • Essential Policies to Implement in Small Businesses
    • 1 – Workplace Health and Safety Policy
    • 2 – Equal Opportunity Policy
    • 3 – Employee Disciplinary Action Policy
    • 4 – Code of Conduct Policy
    • 5 – Policy on Data Protection
    • 6 – Policy on Working Times, Leave of Absence and Holidays
    • 7 – Policy on the Use of social media and the Internet
  • Bottom Line

Essential Policies to Implement in Small Businesses

Internal corporate policies govern employees’ behaviour in the workplace. Setting behavioural and performance standards for the workplace and providing employees with an overall framework for being productive at your organisation is always supported by defining employees’ privileges and responsibilities inside your company. It also describes what staff might expect from their superiors. Company policies also effectively protect your company and make your workplace a safer and more pleasant place to work for everyone. The organisational culture, the regulatory environment, and the industry all play their role in determining which rules are necessary for a company.

A small business’s policies and procedures are essential to its long-term success. Policies typically contain rules and standards that key operational groups or divisions must follow. Companies with policies in place are more equipped to cope with any professional challenges that may emerge; policies give shape and support smooth operations in organisations. It’s critical to document company policies and processes whenever a firm starts to grow, particularly when it adds more employees.

You may be required by law to follow certain business policies, but you may also choose to develop your own. Guidelines and best practices are provided below to help you decide which policies must be included in your employee manual:

1 – Workplace Health and Safety Policy

Health and safety policies stress the workplace’s safety protocols and all employees’ roles to maintain a safe workplace. Occupational health and safety provisions are obligatory to anyone who owns or operates a business. It’s vital that your staff work in a healthy and secure environment. Any company with at least five employees is required by law to have this policy written down as a document and distribute it to all employees.

A written policy indicates that you are concerned about the situation. Any processes and directions for work that include special hazards and conduct in times of emergency should be included in the policy. A health and safety policy should spell out exactly what employees should do in the event of an emergency, such as if someone is hurt or if there is a fire, where the nearby first aid boxes are kept, and who the qualified first aid persons are. A workplace safety policy can assist you in thinking more rationally.

2 – Equal Opportunity Policy

Many countries have laws requiring you to be an equal opportunity employer. Under an equal opportunities policy, employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees or potential employees based on protected characteristics such as gender, age, ethnicity, faith, sex, marital status, maternity, gender reassignment, or disabilities. The EOP is the most important policy for any anti-harassment, workplace bullying, non-discrimination, or diversity policy your organisation may think to develop.

This policy ensures that employees are treated fairly. Every employee should have an equal opportunity to apply for and be hired for jobs, be trained and promoted, have adequate provisions given for a physical impairment, and have their service terminated fairly and reasonably. Adopting a suitable policy demonstrates the company’s commitment and creates awareness among all employees. Putting it in writing sends a clear message to everyone in your organisation that equal opportunity is a fact.

3 – Employee Disciplinary Action Policy

Problems will happen at work from time to time, and handling them will be a lot easier if you have a well-defined disciplinary policy in place. Employees must understand how they will be penalised and under what conditions they will be penalised.

Businesses are required by law to present their employees and workers with a written statement of the job description when they begin work and a more comprehensive written statement within two months that contains information regarding disciplinary and grievance actions.

Even if you don’t formally reveal the whole procedure, a structured phase process will help you assure fair and equal handling. It will also demonstrate that you are a company that does not accept severe offences but encourages corrective actions in minor cases.

Because disciplinary policies have likely to occur in employees being dismissed, they must be fully documented and strictly followed. Moreover, they must comply with the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) Code of Practice; otherwise, the company may face penalties from an employment tribunal. Therefore, before including the detail in your employee manual, get it reviewed by a lawyer or legal advisor to ensure that all disciplinary actions are lawful.

4 – Code of Conduct Policy

If you have a clear and unambiguous code of conduct, employees can better understand your expectations regarding performance and behaviour. Organisational values, the protection of company resources, coping with misconduct and disputes, as well as employees’ social and work accountability are all essential elements of this document.

Specific regulations like drug and alcohol abuse, sexual harassment, gifts, dress code, privacy, and even the usage of tech gadgets, including smartphones during work hours, could be included in this policy. The rules must be simple and easy to understand. When employees are confused about what defines appropriate behaviour, they can ask about them. It also ensures that there will be a written account in place if somebody’s job must be suspended. In addition, a code of conduct must clarify specifically how employees should respond when they see a violation of the relevant rules, as well as the repercussions of behaviour.

5 – Policy on Data Protection

Data protection has been the most important subject across every company since the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) took effect. The regulatory rule applies to both employee and consumer’s personal data.

A data protection policy outlines the rules and legal requirements businesses must meet while collecting, managing, processing, transmitting, or keeping personal data during business operations and transactions, including client, vendor, and staff data. Under the GDPR, it is required to publish information about what data we collect, why we need to store it, and your rights under the GDPR legislation.

6 – Policy on Working Times, Leave of Absence and Holidays

Employees may need to be unavailable sometimes for a variety of reasons, spanning from health concerns to holiday plans. Even if it is not obliged by law, it’s really beneficial to educate your employees about the perks you provide. Companies would be wise to explain any ambiguity about working hours, absences, and holidays to avoid potential conflicts. This policy should, for example, specify the minimum and maximum weekly working hours, the criteria for having a break, how work time could be scheduled, and what must be reported.

Sick leave, paid time off (PTO), maternity leave, family leave, and other types of leave are all different things that may require specific handling. The only way to effectively notify employees is to have all of this in a document, along with any necessary regulations to manage leave utilisation. Overtime and vacation benefits should also be governed by the applicable labour law.

7 – Policy on the Use of Social Media and the Internet

This policy must define what constitutes unethical use of corporate assets, such as computers, laptops, and work mobile phones, as well as the penalties that an employee may face if they violate the policy. This policy should define what information employees may and may not put on the internet, as well as what standards apply to the exploitation of the company’s own IT infrastructure.

The purpose of the policy should be to establish a balance between the employee’s privacy and the company’s objectives. Although it can be challenging to insist that employees use their personal social media accounts in a specific capacity, any job-related profiles should be controlled under the guidelines.

Bottom Line

Businesses must consistently create and implement policies based on a risk analysis particular to their business. They must examine how their staff and management handle workplace problems and determine which areas should be addressed. Write down critical challenges that need to be handled inside the policy. Examine all parts of the policy, including what you want your employees to do and what they should avoid. It’s also crucial to review and discuss company policies with current and prospective employees so that everyone is on the same page.

In addition, when changes develop in the organisational or legal structure, businesses must evaluate if a new policy is required. Bloom financials’ expert business analysts and its secretarial team can help your existing or startup company analyse and create the most efficient business strategies and policies to be implemented. To get more details Contact Us by providing your details below.