What is a workplace policy?
Workplace policies are statements of principles and practices dealing with the ongoing management and administration of the organisation or business. Policies act as a guiding frame of reference for how the organisation deals with everything from its day to-day operational problems or how to respond to requirements to comply with legislation, regulation and codes of practice.
The need for effective workplace policies and procedures has never been more important than in today’s changing workplace. Creating formal policies and procedures allows you and your staff to make better decisions and also adds legitimacy to your decisions. Having an agreed process will allow you to reduce risk within your business, and can provide the following benefits to your workplace:
It will help employees understand what is expected of them with respect to standards of behaviour and performance, and gives clear and defined boundaries that are consistent with the values of the organisation.
It provides a set of rules and guidelines for decision-making in everyday situations for staff to easily refer to. This can help maintain the direction of the organisation even during periods of change.
It allows you to demonstrate to your employees, and potential employees, that all employees will be treated fairly and equally, and it ensures uniformity and consistency in decision-making and operational procedures
It can provide you with a documented and accepted method of dealing with complaints and misunderstandings to help avoid claims of favouritism or discrimination.
It can set a framework for delegation of decision making in the absence of senior management or line management.
It is a very useful means of communicating important information to new employees, and can clarify functions and responsibilities.
If done properly, they can offer you protection from breaches of employment legislation, such as equal opportunity laws and other associated legislation.
It can assist in assessing performance and establishing accountability.
A workplace policy should:
-set out the aim of the policy
-explain why the policy was developed
-list who the policy applies to
-set out what is acceptable or unacceptable behaviour
-set out the consequences of not complying with the policy
-provide a date when the policy was developed or updated.
Policies also need to be reviewed on a regular basis and updated where necessary. For example, if there is a change in equipment or workplace procedures you may need to amend your current policy or develop a new one.
Employment law changes, changes to your award or agreement may also require a review of your policies and procedures. Stay up to date with relevant changes by regularly checking Fair Work Online [Fair Work Ombudsman]
Types of workplace policies
Here are some examples of common workplace policies that could assist your workplace:
code of conduct
internet and email policy
mobile phone policy
drug and alcohol policy
health and safety policy
anti-discrimination and harassment policy
grievance handling policy
discipline and termination policy
using social media.
About the Author
Annette Dixon is a Human Resources professional qualified at Deakin University, with over 12 years human resources management experience. She is also the Director and Founder of the HR company End2End Business Solutions.
Using her strategic and operational human resources management skills, Annette has been involved in building and transitioning businesses through effective human resources strategy. She has been a line manager, and looked after compliance and regulatory issues for business. As an active member of the human resources community, Annette has extensive access to the latest best practice employee relations expertise.
To learn more about how End2End Business Solutions can benefit your business, visit http://www.end2endbusinesssolutions.com.au/