How to Set Company Policies to Avoid Problems

Some folks view company guidelines as a indication of encroaching bureaucracy and consequently prevent having written or established guidelines as much as doable. There are even a number of publicized circumstances of fairly huge corporations that have loved tremendous good results devoid of the profit of corporation policies.

Having said that, if you really don’t have some organization procedures, you might quickly obtain your self in a scenario in which you would like you did.

Procedures can make it obvious to employees what sort of behavior is envisioned in your place of work. They can established crystal clear pointers on what is and is not ideal. And policies can aid you stay clear of, or at minimum defend, from lawsuits.

Have set up acquiring procedures

By owning founded procedures, which include apparent delegation of who is and who is not approved to make buys, published order orders with very clear portions, and pricing and shipping and delivery directions, you can go a lengthy way towards preventing complications.

Recall that, according to the legislation, a person who appears and functions like a manager at a enterprise can be considered a human being who is an licensed acquiring agent.

So avoid difficulties with your workforce and your suppliers by creating in progress who in your organization essentially areas orders, and the procedures they need to stick to.

For case in point, if you obtain merchandise from a provider and you really don’t concern a invest in get, you might find that the price has out of the blue gone up and you are then caught with the messy problem of paying out the bigger value or returning the items.

Or you might find the provider has delivered 7% much more items than you purchased for the reason that, in accordance to their guidelines, heading 10% about or less than is suitable.

Or let’s say you order place of work home furnishings from a supplier and then are advised that the things are out of stock and will not be available for 6 months.

So, you verbally cancel the get and put a related purchase with one more household furniture business. Then 6 months later on the initial household furniture firm ships you the products. You say you are not heading to acknowledge them for the reason that you canceled the get.

The first furniture company claims you simply cannot do that since they have your penned buy buy but no record of the verbal cancellation, and the employee you declare verbally canceled the get with has prolonged remaining the business.

In this case, if you had just canceled the buy by email as an alternative of verbally, you would have experienced a history and been high-quality. Now, in its place, you have two sets of similar furnishings and two expenditures to pay.

Worker handbooks hold anyone on the exact web page

If you have extra than, let’s say, a dozen workers, you should really think about building a corporation policy e book, often referred to as an employee handbook. This style of e book lays out in very clear, very simple language the designs of behavior that are or are not satisfactory in your office. These policies ought to be aimed at both equally administrators and staff alike. A nicely-finished handbook will go a very long way towards shielding you against some work-related lawful claims.

If you do choose to produce an employee handbook, have an attorney who specializes in employment issues review the document prior to you difficulty it to your employees.

Recall, also, that while you’re the employer, you should comply with the procedures outlined in your staff handbook by yourself and meet any demands or tasks you have set inside. The courts have from time to time considered company coverage books as lawfully binding contracts in between companies and workforce. A lot of personnel have gained lawsuits versus providers due to the fact the employer did not honor the terms or ailments in their very own handbooks. So, really don’t develop 1 casually have an legal professional do it.

Sexual Harassment

Most women of all ages, and some adult males, have knowledgeable sexual harassment throughout their professions. Numerous staff who do so develop into really upset by it. Even the notion of sexual harassment can have a pretty adverse impact on an personnel — and, in many cases, on everybody else in the office.

As an employer or manager, choose the large road. Make it incredibly obvious to individuals that your firm is strongly in opposition to sexual harassment, not just because it is illegal, but also due to the fact it just isn’t proper. Most, if not all, of your employees will value your situation. If there are objections amid users of your workers, they are not the variety of employee you want in your office, in any case!

Sexual harassment is one particular of the most frequent grounds for personnel-initiated lawsuits in the United States. As an employer, you are responsible for your possess steps, the actions of your professionals, and the environment of your place of work. If the ecosystem in your workplace is or may well be deemed to be conducive to sexually adverse habits, this sort of as sexually oriented joking, then you may be legally vulnerable.

You require to state a very clear policy in opposition to sexual harassment inside of your workplace. You need to have to just take ideal motion in opposition to any personnel who possibly condones sexual harassment or violates sexual harassment guidelines. And you require to assign an neutral party as the man or woman with whom sexual harassment complaints can be registered.

This will allow workers to lodge issues with anyone other than their quick supervisor, which could be a serious challenge if the supervisor is the man or woman the complaint is about.

Equal Option

In choosing and endorsing personnel, you require to make positive that you are an equivalent-option employer — that women of all ages, minorities, persons of all ages, folks of all religions, etc. have an equal chance of work or marketing at your business.

Less than present U.S. law, you also require to undertake some expenditures, if essential and with the worth staying dependent upon the size of your business, to make use of physically challenged men and women.

Acquire the higher road. Make an hard work to hire and boost people today similarly. It is the law, and it is the suitable detail to do.

You want to make certain that all supervisors are watchful not to discriminate in their choosing and advertising and marketing methods. You also want to make guaranteed that they are totally apprised of which inquiries are acceptable and legal to check with for the duration of interviews and which ones are not.

Currently being an equal-prospect employer is not straightforward. Most individuals uncover it least difficult to relate to those persons who most intently mirror themselves. It’s a natural human inclination to retain the services of and market the persons you like.

So if, for occasion, an engineering office supervisor is a white male, you have to have to make positive he doesn’t overtly or subconsciously forget about any experienced nonwhite or female candidates when he’s interviewing for a new workers engineer.


Business enterprise gown in most workplaces nowadays is regarded rather informal. Some providers that continue to have fairly formal gown may possibly even designate a certain working day, seasonally or 12 months-spherical, as relaxed working day.

And some businesses squander a substantial quantity of time defining what is and what is not proper as casual use. It actually is not essential, even though, to expend as well much time developing a costume code. Imagine uncomplicated.

If you don’t greet clients or customers in your office, you may want to skip getting a formal dress code. 1 exception may possibly be offensive dress — skimpy outfits or T-shirts that carry profane messages or pictures.

Of training course, this liberal plan may possibly end result in a sloppy gown on the section of some staff members, but the benefits you enjoy by demonstrating regard for your employees will be worthy of it.

If shoppers or purchasers frequent your office, then set a number of basic requirements for gown for the personnel who interact with the community — shirts, not T-shirts slacks, not denims and footwear, not sneakers.

If any person wears a thing actually offensive to perform, I would mail him or her house to improve, but do so nicely, and at the very least for the 1st time it happens, pay out him or her for the time touring household and again.


In all of my earlier companies, I have avoided flextime. I have practiced environment common office environment hours or change hrs — I have viewed it as part of constructing a winning staff.

You might want to make exceptions, these as offering sure staff members acceptable flextime schedules to accommodate specific desires. For case in point, if an worker wants to arrive later on and depart later to take care of childcare preparations, you may possibly allow for them a functioning hour variance.

But you can however insist that all staff notice a reliable agenda if that’s your regular coverage. As far as exceptions go, it would be a large amount quicker to be adaptable on a 1-time somewhat than a regime foundation.

By placing acceptable place of work several hours, you will surface reasonable to all staff members and will avoid owning to memorize myriad unique do the job schedules.

With my latest small business, I’m setting up out experimenting with flextime, permitting men and women to set their have schedules as extended as they work at least 40 hours per week in the workplace, including in the course of the designated “core” office environment several hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. So far this experiment has experienced combined results.

Even though it seems great when you’re recruiting staff members, I have found that at the time you commence to give a liberal function prepare that personnel can consider it as a signal that they can further reinterpret the get the job done hour plan just about any way they make sure you.

A lot more and far more firms are presenting versatile hrs, but it can be a slippery slope. I’ve noticed some firms to begin with offer flextime but then terminate this policy following finding that also numerous people were abusing it or that it was also complicated for individuals doing the job and meeting jointly.


Stay away from setting procedures pertaining to personal cellular phone usage, regional or lengthy-distance, or private mobile phones. The benefits of no plan may well be mirrored in your cell phone bills, but the outcomes of a precise coverage will be reflected in personnel angle. You will be viewed as petty and, for this, workers will resent you.

Of course, if a distinct staff abuses your liberal phone procedures, then action is referred to as for. Often a chat will do, or you could have to make it complicated for the worker to accessibility the telephone entirely.

But folks are human and there may well be intervals wherever their particular existence challenges make them come to feel compelled to communicate a good deal additional than common on the cell phone.

You might imagine, properly, I fully grasp if the concern is somebody caring for a ill little one or an ageing parent, but I really do not comprehend when my 20-one thing assistant feels a require to talk with his or her good friends about a new passionate break up.

My tips is that men and women are human — enable some occasional exceptions.


There will generally be relationship in the place of work, regardless of whether you like it or not. This is primarily real if you have younger, single workers on staff members. And certainly, it can happen with married individuals, too.

It unquestionably appears intrusive to control people’s personalized lives. Weigh the considerations and make your possess conclusion.

Matters do get sticky in office romances — in particular if the romance isn’t in between friends. If a supervisor dates a reporting staff members member, the staff member could get a glowing, but undeserved, general performance assessment.

Or, in the function of a separation in between an individual in management and another person on workers, a recommendation that the team member be dismissed for “unmanageable behavior” could possibly consequence.

Problems of sexual harassment may well be lifted if a supervisor frequently asks a reporting member to day him or her.

Due to the fact these forms of circumstances can breed rigidity and have opportunity lawful implications, you may possibly want to contemplate prohibiting administration from dating anyone who stories to them directly.

Using tobacco

While smoking cigarettes is banned in practically all workplaces, the “just outside the doors” smoking and using tobacco breaks can create rigidity among smokers and management, and resentment concerning smokers and nonsmokers.

You want to condition a very clear using tobacco policy. If even a person particular person smokes at a company occasion, for illustration, then you are not operating in a smoke-cost-free environment.

You want to inform new hires of your smoking cigarettes coverage. If the new worker is a smoker, he or she may possibly be upset to uncover that the selected smoking cigarettes area is a ¼-mile walk outside or that smoking breaks are not a little something administration is thrilled about.

Personnel Loans

Quite a few staff do not have powerful money educations and don’t have the discipline to take care of their funds. You may possibly allow for workers who have been with you for a number of months to borrow modest quantities of funds for quick periods of time.

Really do not charge desire — it is just as well petty. But do deduct the payback out of every single payroll verify and have the worker sign a very simple desire be aware stating the amount of money loaned, the payment plan, and a clause stipulating that the loan be straight away payable in whole ought to the personnel depart the business for any motive.

Or you might determine you merely will not lend funds to workers at all, period. Regardless of what you make a decision, be reliable.

If you do choose to lend, set a restrict on the total you are going to agree to lend to any staff — and do this in progress of any requests. Quicker or later, you’ll shed revenue when an personnel leaves and you uncover that you just can’t accumulate.

But despite this drawback, keep in mind that, in the long run, an staff financial loan plan will fortify your firm.

I misplaced about $2,000 when 1 prolonged-phrase personnel was fired and I was not able to get well my loan. But I have loaned money to hundreds of other personnel in excess of a interval of many years with out incident.

Takeaways You Can Use

  • Even little companies will need policies.
  • Tiny businesses can simply journey up on work regulation.
  • A properly-crafted personnel handbook can enable.

Bob Adams is a Harvard MBA serial entrepreneur. He has begun in excess of a dozen companies, including one particular that he introduced with $1500 and offered for $40 million. He has written 17 publications and created 52 on the net courses for business owners. Bob also founded BusinessTown, a studying system for beginning and running a business enterprise.

Disclaimer: The information on this web page is for informational functions only, and does not represent authorized, tax, or accounting advice. If you have unique inquiries about any of these matters, seek the counsel of a accredited expert.

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