Establishing Workplace Rules and Policies

One of the many tasks that business owners face is establishing workplace rules and policies. Business owners are responsible for making sure that their workplaces are safe, happy and ethical environments where everyone is protected by certain guidelines. Some business owners choose to follow the examples set by other companies in their industry, while others set out to create their own guidelines for employees to follow. Regardless of your mindset, here are a few tips for establishing workplace rules and policies.

Establishing Workplace Rules and Policies: Cover Legal Ground First


Your primary concern when it comes rules and policies should be covering your legal ground. Just because there is a law about something doesn’t mean that all of your employees are familiar with it, so it is in your best interest to integrate employment laws into your own rules and policies. For example, you should write company or corporate policies on sexual harrassment, wages, hours, benefits, drugs and alcohol. Those are topics that should be well-versed among your staff.


Establishing Workplace Rules and Policies: Don’t Be Vague


One of the problems you might encounter when writing rules and policies is that many people are too vague because they don’t want to offend anyone. Your workplace guidelines should be crystal clear because if they aren’t, your employees will walk all over you. Further, you won’t have any legal ground on which to stand if a lawsuit or other problem were to arise. For example, don’t say, “ABC Company frowns upon intra-office dating.” If you are prohibiting something, say so.


Establishing Workplace Rules and Policies: Internet Use


Businesses of today must change with the times, and one of the largest issues facing employers is the Internet. If you provide Internet access to your employees, make sure you write clear rules on how and when it is to be used. For example, you could say that, “the Internet is only to be used for the purpose of company business, and not for personal use.” You can also write a policy on e-mail and instant messager use because those issues are just as viable.

Establishing Workplace Rules and Policies: Performance Evaluations


Employees will want to know when their performance will be evaluated, so set a policy for performance evaluations: When they are to occur and what happens as a result. For example, you could schedule performance evaluations annually, and base salary increases on a ratings system. This allows your employees to see that evaluations and raises are fair and distributed without prejudice.


Establishing Workplace Rules and Policies: Hours


Your workplace rules and policies should include the normal business hours for employees, but should not limit the workweek unless you have a definite opening and closing time. Defining yours hours as a Monday through Friday, nine-to-five job will allow employees to call it quits if their work exceeds those defined hours. Instead, simply state that employees work 40-hour weeks, after which overtime pay is provided.