It’s the year of the Ox, so make sure your business is as strong as an Ox!

Chinese New Year on the 12th of February and this year it’s the year of the Ox. The Ox symbolises diligence, dependability, strength and determination, something which we will need in abundance this year. You need to make sure your employee policies and procedures are in order to make sure your business is as strong as an Ox!

Employee Policies and Procedures don’t need to be complicated and you don’t need to find yourself knee deep in piles of paperwork! With our expertise and advice, we can help you create the right Employee Policies and Procedures to make sure you are legally compliant, but that also work for your business and culture too, and all of this work can be done remotely – yippee!

So here’s our top tips to help you determine what employee policies and procedures you need:

1. It’s important to explain to all employees (they are employees who have been with you for a while or new) what the rules of your business are. Alternatively, you can think of your Employee Policies and Procedures as “the way we do things around here.”

There are many benefits to having suitable employment policies in place. Setting standards is the key to healthy workplace relations. It can reduce the need for disciplinary and legal action. It may also increase productivity and morale, as well as help employee retention. Clear policymaking can also be positive for your business’ reputation externally, e.g. among clients and the local community. It can also help in attracting new staff.

If a policy is well developed and clearly written, it helps communication with employees, clarifies expectations and makes sure that everyone is treated in a consistent and fair way.

The Policies and Procedures that you decide to put into place, will also set the tone for your business and will help you to create the working culture of your business, so it is really important to spend the time on getting them right.

2. There are certain legal requirements that must be met from a Policies and Procedures perspective. It is a legal requirement to set out your health and safety policy in writing if you have five or more employees. It is also a legal requirement to set out your disciplinary rules and discipline and grievance procedures in writing regardless of the number of employees’ you have. You must also have a GDPR policy including employee and candidate privacy notices.

3. The other policies that you have to have in place but not legally in writing are as stated below. However, I would suggest that it is best practice to have these key policies set out in writing to avoid any confusion and to offer employees’ complete transparency on your business stance on these areas.

  • Anti-Bullying and Anti-Harassment
  • Flexible Working
  • Time off for Emergencies
  • Time off for Dependents
  • Parental Bereavement Leave
  • Equality and Diversity
  • Maternity / Paternity / Adoption/Parental/Shared Parental Leave
  • Pay, how and when you pay
  • Redundancy
  • Smoking, drugs and alcohol
  • Social Media/IT Policy
  • Whistleblowing / protected disclosure
  • Working time and time off.

4. The other policies you have, will be determined by the nature of your business. For example, if your staff operate machinery, it may be a good idea to implement a specific policy on drug and alcohol use. If most of your staff use computers and the internet for their work, you should have an email and internet usage policy as well as a Social Media Policy. It is advisable to discuss what policies and procedure you should put into place with an HR or legal professional.

5. It is important to determine where you will keep your Employee Policies and Procedures as well as determining who and how often they will be checked and updated.

Many people have a Company intranet and like to keep their policies and procedures on the intranet site and can refer employees to the intranet site if they need them to. Or perhaps you use Google Docs or SharePoint?  There is a danger when you place documents anywhere online, as people may not read them and can then use the argument that they “weren’t aware of a policy” if they haven’t seen it.

For this reason, most employers prefer to issue employees with a hard copy Employee Handbook. This is often done at the same time as issuing them with their Contract of Employment, or on their first day of employment. The Employee Handbook contains all the policies and procedures. You can also ask employees to sign a statement to say that they have read, understood and accept the terms of these policies and procedures.

If you want or need to develop your employee policies and procedures, it’s important that you get some advice as your policies and procedures not only state the rules and expectations of your business, they will also help you to set the tone for your business and can help support the culture of your business, and reduce the need for disciplinary and legal action. The right policies and procedures may also increase productivity and morale amongst your staff, as well as help you attract and retain the best employees – so it’s important that you don’t get this important task wrong!

Our HR health checks can all be done remotely as long as you are able to send us all the relevant documentation by email or secure file links such as google docs or MS Teams, SharePoint for example. Our HR Health Checks have three different levels aimed at different business sizes and needs. If you want to understand whether what you have in place is legally compliant as well as understand what you could do to improve your HR Policies and Procedures, then why not give me a call to book yourself in for your HR Health check? http://bit.ly/CallMerakiHR

Gold £995Aimed at larger businesses with 30 or more employees. This covers everything you need to have in place legally as an employer as well as reviewing all your all your employee paperwork and documents and your employee practices. We will review all of your employee paperwork and documents and provide you with a comprehensive report which details clearly where you are failing to meet employment legislation, and wherever possible we will fix these areas for you on the day and if we will provide you with a solution to address the concern.  We will also provide you with our recommendations and suggestions as to how you can improve your people practices and policies regarding recruitment, induction, performance reviews, development, employee retention and exit of your employees. with our help and support.

Silver – £500 – Aimed at smaller businesses with 5 – 30 employees. This covers everything you need to have in place legally as an employer as well as reviewing all your employee paperwork and documents. We will provide you with a comprehensive report which details clearly where you are failing to meet employment legislation, and wherever possible we will fix these areas for you on the day, and if not, we will provide you with a solution to address the concern.

Bronze – £250 – Aimed at businesses with 1-5 employees. We will review your contract of Employment and Employee Handbook and provide you with recommendations for updating or improving your documents to ensure they meet the legal standards required. Where possible, changes will be made to the documents to ensure they meet legal requirements.