Do you ever feel like you are constantly saying the same thing over and over to different people? The same questions keep coming up and the same mistakes keep happening and you feel like you are just wasting time trying to solve them. Do you often wish things could be simpler?
Well they can be, and it all starts with providing clarity for your employees. Often employers have policies and procedures in place, but they just aren’t being followed. Employees are asking the same questions over and over which their policy manual or employee handbook should be answering. It may be because their policy manual came from a Google Search for “Employee Policy Manual” or “Employee Handbook”… Or someone used policies from a previous employer thinking that it would address the needs of the organization? Either way – it’s not working and employers don’t know why.
Here are some of the most common mistakes we see with policy manuals:
- They don’t follow or reference the appropriate legal frameworks – both federal and provincial regulations and acts.
- There are policies that contradict one another so employees don’t know which one to follow when faced with an issue.
- It’s not user friendly and hard to navigate so employees don’t want to use it.
- It isn’t tailored to the organization and culture.
First and foremost, every organization should have clear and well-documented policies and procedures in place. A good policy manual will set the rules and principles of the organization, and will aim to guide employees in how to conduct themselves – in both behaviour and performance. Here are just a few benefits to having policies and procedures in place:
- Employees look for clear and documented policies so that they know what is expected of them.
- Set clear guidelines for making decisions on the regular, day-to-day situations.
- Ensure a consistent and fair approach across the organization in dealing with employee issues.
- Provide an accepted method for dealing with employee complaints and misunderstandings to avoid bias or favouritism.
- Provide a means of communicating with, and training employees on the expectations of the organization.
- Defend and protect against claims of breaches in employment legislation or obligations (Employment Standards Act or Health and Safety legislation).
- And they provide employees with a place to go to find all the answers they need (so they aren’t always asking you!).
Your Engaged HR Assignment: It’s time to help remove the confusion for employees and develop a policy manual that works for your organization. Review your current policy manual and ensure:
- Policies follow the relevant legal framework, regulations and acts
- Policies and procedures are clear and easy to understand for employees
- None of your policies conflict in how issues should be resolved
- The policy manual is user friendly and has a good flow to it
- It fits YOUR organization and culture!