A small business owner needs to spend time identifying and creating personnel policies. These policies are the foundation for hiring employees, governing employee responsibilities and also provide a protocol for dealing with employment problems, such as insubordination or discrimination. Without consistently practicing a firm's personnel policies, employers leave themselves open to employee lawsuits. There are examples of common personnel policies that employers can customize to suit any organization.
Hiring and Onboarding Policies
Employers need policies that define how new employees are interviewed and onboarded into the company. Personnel policies start with hiring new staff. Employers should have a standard method of interviewing – meaning that each candidate brought in should be subject to the same set of interview questions. In standardizing hiring practices, if anyone is given a test, everyone should be given the same test. In other words, employers can't pick and choose when to do something.
Once hired, a consistent human resources approach should be used for everything from collecting pertinent file information, such as tax information, to training new employees on job duties or on the company's corporate culture. An example of a consistent personnel onboarding policy is to require all new employees to undergo diversity training. Certain industries might also require information security training.
Work Schedule Components
Employers govern employee schedules. Although some flexibility may exist, generally, personnel policies state the company's paid holidays, the required number of full-time hours necessary for benefits and what determines eligibility of benefits. For example, an employee might need to work for one full year before becoming eligible for a retirement plan or vacation time.
Scheduling policies also define the company protocol that deals with jury duty, sick leave or family illness. It also sets rules and ramifications for tardiness or unexcused absences. For example, the policy might state that tardiness of 10 minutes generates a warning, a second infraction within 30 days begins a probation period, and a third infraction in the same period results in termination.
Performance Assessment Policies
If a performance assessment policy is not established in writing, an employer might have a difficult time firing an employee for poor performance. An employer can define assessment cycles. For example, employers might require quarterly assessments and an annual performance review. The employer should give employees a rubric that explains which performance assessments are considered and how the company grades employees. It further defines actions taken for poor performance, such as warnings, training, suspension or termination.
Keeping the work environment free from excessive drama, bullying or discrimination helps employees feel better about their job and also improves productivity. To ensure a healthy work environment, anti-discriminatory personnel policies should be created and maintained. Policies should address sexual harassment, orientation, religious and political freedom, and cultural acceptance.
Although business owners should have personnel policies which state what is and is not acceptable behavior – as well as repercussions for violating these policies – a proactive anti-discriminatory policy might include an annual diversity day in the office, with mandatory attendance, to promote inclusiveness.