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Having a comprehensive and helpful set of policies at your business can be hugely beneficial. Policies give employees clear direction and expectations on things that matter to you and your business. However, implementation can be difficult. When considering how to introduce employment policies, it is important to plan well. You and your employees are busy and it can be hard at times to ensure the new policy is well understood by all staff.

When considering how to introduce employment policies, avoid these three mistakes:

  1. losing sight of relevance for your business;
  2. not consulting with your employees; and
  3. not having clear procedures to reinforce the expectations in your policy. 

Losing Sight Of What Is Relevant For Your Business

A surprisingly common mistake in businesses is to introduce policies that are not relevant to the business or employees. This can sometimes happen if a well-intentioned human resources specialist misunderstands the business operations. You should be able to show employees how a new policy affects them or is relevant to the business. Further to this, the policy itself should include this detail. 

Ideally, policies can be tied back to your business’ values. The communication of the new policies to employees should emphasise why the particular policy is needed. 

Forgetting To Consult With Staff Before Finalising The Policy

You should consult with staff when developing a policy, particularly one that has a significant impact on them. It is typically a mistake not to do so. Prior to changing a policy on company cars, consult those who have one. This lets them know what changes you are proposing and enables feedback about those changes.

This process may sound time-consuming but will typically improve the policy itself by making it a better fit for your employees’ practices and preferences. Without consultation, you may not fully understand your employees’ preferences on the topic.

Not Having Clear Procedures To Back Up Your Policies

Finally, avoid the mistake of having unclear procedures where your policy needs clarity to be effective. For instance, in an area like health and safety, your new policy relating will often also require employees to do something differently or follow a new process to comply. Procedures should therefore be:

  • easy to understand;
  • outlined in the policy itself; and
  • made clear in associated communications about the changes.

Procedures and policies should be a comprehensive and useful tool for your employees to understand your business, the best practices you would like them to follow, and your expectations in specific areas. 

Key Takeaways

There are many mistakes employers and businesses of all sizes make when introducing new policies. To avoid these mistakes you should:

  • make it clear to employees how a policy affects them;
  • seek feedback from employees in order to improve the policy (and make it more relevant);
  • have clear procedures to supplement your policy.

If you want to know more about how to introduce new policies into your business successfully, contact LegalVision’s employment lawyers on 0800 005 570 or complete the form on this page.

What are the minimum requirements for a new policy?

There are no set minimum requirements for what a new policy should look like or contain, as that will inevitably change depending on the nature of the policy in question. However, there should be clear reasons set out in the policy for the content, detail around what it means for employees, and clear expectations and procedures if relevant (for instance for areas where employees should take new steps, like health and safety). 

Do all policies require an associated procedure?

Not all policies will require an associated procedure. Whether a specific procedure is a good idea or not depends on whether there is a specific way an employee should go about complying with the policy, such as a form or checklist that they may need to fill out. 

How should you communicate new policies to your employees?

You should make sure that all employees are across the content of the new policy, and ideally have had the opportunity to contribute to its development especially if it is something that affects them or their work in a significant way. A common mistake is just to upload a new policy to a company intranet and leave it there. You should actively try to communicate changes to employees who are affected.

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