Company Policies

Company Policies: A Comprehensive Guide (2020)

Imagine solving problems before they occur and create a more productive and positive workplace.

The management of an organization shouldn’t be spending the time or resources in explaining the company rules to each member of staff.

When you create a company policy, you can efficiently communicate the rules, expectations, and plans of an organization to its employees.

With clear language and a strong message, you can trust that your team of employees will be pushing your organization towards your goals, even when you aren’t there.

The key to a successful business is having respect between management and employees as well as job satisfaction on both sides. These qualities rely on certain standards of behavior being upheld on both sides. Unfortunately, it isn’t always clear to everyone what these standards are, which can lead to problems in the workplace. Well-done company policy is a useful tool for removing any confusion by officially outlining how employees and management are expected to behave. On the other hand, a poorly worded company policy can lead to further misunderstanding and deteriorating employee relationships. It’s important to create a quality company policy that could be done with the use of a professional advisor or a quality employee handbook template.

What is a Company Policy?

Figuring out the intricacies of good company policy can lead to a healthy and positive working environment for all members of an organization. Company policy is essentially a document created by an organization, ideally in collaboration with management and human resources, that provides structured instructions for daily activities and behavior as well as ensuring the legal compliance of the business.

A company policy should be designed to benefit everyone. For employees, a company policy outlines and enforces their ethical and legal rights in the workplace. The policy, which can be used as a legal document, can act as a tool to hold a business accountable for their actions in the event of any issues or concerns. This can result in a more satisfied workforce as they feel respected and supported. For an organization, a company policy means all employees are up to date on company values and guidelines as soon as they begin their time working there.

Additionally, unnecessary miscommunications can be avoided, and behavior and standards throughout the company are upheld.

Does Your Company Need a Policy?

A company can have a general policy, specific policies for certain situations, or no policy at all. The policy situation that is right for your company depends entirely on your industry, your workplace culture, and the size of your company. In general, it is best to only introduce company policies as a solution to an existing problem. The purpose of a policy is to cultivate a positive and happy workplace environment. If you treat your employees like convicts with countless pointless rules, they will not appreciate it and will most likely rebel. Instead, you should communicate with your employees to determine areas of the workplace environment that need refining.

Company policy may be necessary for the legal protection of an organization or out of legal necessity. In this case, work with lawyers and legal assistance to create a policy that offers legal protection while supporting your employees. An alternative reason for creating a company policy could be to enhance health and safety measures for your employees, so they have a safe working environment and are protected from harassment and abuse with channels of action to deal with such events. Additionally, company policies may be created to ensure fair treatment of employees, to clear up behavioral confusion, or to create necessary rules.

The creation of all policies should be done with the goal of a more respectful and fairer workplace, which is why a great policy focuses primarily on progressive guidelines rather than restrictive rules.

Deciding on a Policy

It’s best to introduce policies to a company one at a time. If you believe that your organization would benefit from multiple policies, you will have to list them in order of priority. The most beneficial move an organization can make is to communicate with employees effectively. Hold workshops or group meetings to get to grips with what your employees want and need from the organization to improve the workplace experience. If your employees feel like they have been consulted and respected in the decision-making process, they will be much more likely to uphold the policy guidelines.

After consulting employees, the next step is to do the necessary research. You want to make sure you aren’t putting business time and resources into creating a company policy that will be ineffective. You need comprehensive analytics and research results on the organization and your employees as well as knowledge of how similar policies are typically written and how they interact with the law. Following a company policy template could help you find the right information for an effective policy.

Keep Your Company Philosophy in Mind

Each company has certain values and beliefs, such as integrity or respect, that they uphold and expect their employees to uphold. These ideas are typically decided upon at the conception of a company and form a company philosophy that lets people know how things are done within the company and how they should act. When deciding on your company policy and beginning to create it, you should be constructing it around the values of your company philosophy. By staying true to the philosophy that the company was built on, the new company policy will be more easily accepted among both employees and management, and you won’t have to worry about a contradiction of values.

How to Write a Company Policy

When creating a company policy, the hard work is in the research and preparation. Once you have done enough research and have a clear plan in mind, the policy can be completed by following some simple guidelines or following a template. Each policy will, of course, have a unique subject matter, but there are several sections that should be included:

Language

Your company policy needs to sound professional but try and avoid it sounding like a thesis on quantum physics. Use simple, clear, and plain language when writing a company policy. Even though some of your employees may be highly educated with degrees or even Ph.D.’s, you don’t want to risk any confusion around your company policy. That’s why you need to write it in clear enough terms with simple vocabulary to remove any question around its meaning.

The words you choose can also have a big effect on how the guidelines of your new policy are received. You are more likely to receive a positive response from the members of your organization when using flexible words such as “usually” or “should” rather than rigid, harsh terms such as “always” or “must.”

Formatting

Formatting options are not only there to make your company policy pleasing to see, but they can also help with how well your policy is understood. Firstly, the company policy should be written in a formal font. Implementing a font that is commonly used in the workplace is a method of letting your employees know that this document should be taken seriously. The font should also be written in a consistent size throughout the document. Different sized fonts for different sections of the document can make some guidelines appear more important than others.

One last thing to think about with the formatting of your company policy is the spacing. You can help with the ease of comprehension for your employees by spacing out the sections of the policy. Clumped areas of words can cause the information to be missed and generally looks messy.

Design

Unfortunately, a company policy isn’t supposed to be decorative. You should limit the use of color on your document to maintain a professional appearance. Writing should always be in black against a white background so that they stand out and are easily seen. The use of white space is an important tool. It allows you to keep the focus on only the important information and separate ideas into easily understandable segments. Color can be used for necessary instructive images or for company branding on headers or logos.

Length

The company policy should be short. Remember, you can only tackle one issue at a time with your policy. To make it clear what guidelines are coming into effect, you need to limit the amount of writing and instructions. Not only will this make the new rules more memorable, but it will also prevent your employees from feeling like school children.

Communicate with Employees

Once the policy has been created, it’s up to you to communicate the new rules effectively to your employees. Business policies often fail to take effect because employees are unsure about the new rules when they begin or what consequences they will face.

Implementing the new policy is not as easy as simply telling your employees about it. You need to ensure the policy gets read and is understood by each member of the organization. To do this, you could include a way to check your employees’ reception of the policy. Instruct them to send you confirmation of their understanding or even sign a document that says they have read and understood the terms of the policy. Not only does this make sure your employees are taking the policy seriously, but it also adds in a level of legal protection in any potential future disputes.

Remember that once your employees are informed on the details of the new company policy, there will likely be a period of questions. Make sure you leave ample time between distributing the new policy and collecting confirmation signatures.

Revisions

Your company policy should be evolving with your company. The guidelines set out by the policy have the potential to change and should be reviewed frequently and updated as necessary.

Important Company Policies

Drug and alcohol policy

The drug and alcohol policy helps all companies address drug and alcohol abuse as a serious matter and show that it will not tolerate it.

Telecommuting policy

Telecommuting policy details how employees are allowed to telecommute from home or off-site and remain subject to term and conditions of employment.

IT policy

Our IT policy shows how the internet and other electronic tools should be used in the company.

Company vehicle use policy

The company vehicle use policy provides employees with guidelines for using a company vehicle.

Overtime policy

The overtime policy states what is included in the employees remuneration at regular rate and what will be paid as overtime compensation.

Clean desk policy

A clean office policy is a powerful tool to ensure that all sensitive documents are removed from the workspace when items are not used and when an employee leaves the workstation minimizing the risk of security breaches.

Sick leave policy

Our sick leave policy details how you pay employees for illness including also medical, dental, or optical examinations for them or their members of the household.

GDPR Privacy policy

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) privacy policy refers to the law of customer privacy in the European Union. It addresses the transfer of personal data outside of the EU.

A company policy is a brilliant tool if used correctly for improving employee relations and creating an optimal workplace environment.

Your employees will know what they can expect from you while upholding the standards you set out for them. Naturally, the specifics of your company policy will be determined by the needs and goals of your company.

However, a great company policy follows a format that can be mastered by using practical and convenient templates. Download our company policy template today from Business-in-a-Box. Signup to get full template previews or to browse a collection of over 1900 templates.

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