So, how do you use your company policies?
a) As a legal “tick in the box”
b) As a big stick to beat people with when they do something wrong
c) To give new staff something to read and keep them busy on their first day
d) To decorate the shelf in a dusty folder called “staff handbook”
e) To explain to staff what’s expected of them, what they’re entitled to and to communicate our company’s position on key issues that are important to all of us
If your answer is a), b), c) or d), then you are not alone. Let’s face it – there are company policies which have legal requirements involved. You need to give your staff certain information about holiday entitlement, sickness pay and pensions, as well as telling them about your grievance and disciplinary procedures. When they do something wrong you can wave the relevant policy in front of them as proof. Really, they should have known better! It’s not as if you didn’t give them all the information on their first day and if they need to refer to it, it’s all there in that dusty folder on the shelf. What more do they want?!
How about communication? How about encouraging feedback and questions? How about checking that employees have read the information by asking them questions? Here’s a radical thought – you could even get them involved when you’re writing your policies! Scary, isn’t it? If you ask them what they think, they might tell you!
Let’s imagine for a second that you do get your employees’ opinions but you can’t implement what they’ve suggested – for good business reasons. Do you think they’d be disappointed? Of course they would but you know what, they’d understand. They would understand because you would take time to explain your reasons and they’d get it. They’d also be very pleased that you cared enough to ask them what they thought in the first place! How much more likely is it that those same employees would understand the reasons behind the company policies and how much more likely are they to comply with them?
Talk to your employees – they are all bright and intelligent people with interesting opinions, skills and experiences. That’s why you hired them after all, isn’t it?
Even better, talk to us first on 01487 815720 about how best to communicate with your employees and get them involved in the practical implementation of your policies and procedures. That’s got to be better than dusting the handbook folder every now and again!