Updated: Jan 24
"The most common thing that will get a business into trouble is the lack of clear policies"
Having clear policies in place is the foundation of a healthy and structured workplace. They protect your business against misconduct and help employees to know what is expected of them. What are the differences between policies and procedures? What policies should you have in place? What should be included in a policy?
Policies vs procedures
The terms 'policy' and 'procedure' are usually used interchangeably. However, they are two entirely different things. A policy clearly states what you expect from your employees, while a procedure is a detailed description of how the instructions in your policy should be carried out. So, while your policy states what should be done, the procedure describes how it should be done.
What policies should you have in place?
Ironically, there is no government policy on exactly what policies you must have in place. There are recommendations, but no hard and fast rules. If a situation arises where you didn't have an adequate policy in place however, you can easily find yourself in hot water. Here are some of the policies we recommend that you should have in place:
Code of conduct
Health & Safety
Holidays & Leave
Internet, Email & Social Media use
Training and Development
There are many more policies that may be needed, depending on your individual business requirements.
What should be included
A policy should include the following things:
Clear instructions of what to do in a given situation
Clear lines of responsibility & accountability
A policy should NOT include:
Unlawful behaviour (E.g: Ignoring NZ law to adhere to company policy)
Confidential information (E.g: Health issues of a staff member)
Unsafe behaviour (E.g: long shifts, unsafe working environments)
Getting an expert to audit your policies to find out if there are any areas of concern is a great way to ensure that you policies are watertight. Employer Direct has policies that have been designed to prevent issues from arising in the first place that offer protection to your business if they ever do.
Making sure that your workplace policies are up-to-date, fit-for-purpose and practicable are key ways that you can make sure that your business runs smoothly and is protected.