As the new year is progressing, many managers and HR professionals will, as a matter of course, take a look at their employee handbook to decide whether it needs a little updating. If you are among those people yours likely contains basic policies for codes of conduct, anti-discrimination notes and termination procedures.
While all these things are indeed musts in today's business climate you may need to include a few more. Here's a look at five optional, but often very relevant, policies to consider adding to your company's employee handbook in 2020 if they are not already there.
Although many workplaces are loosening their business dress requirements there still need to be standards in place. Adding a formal dress code policy to your employee handbook not only gives employees a better idea of what is or isn't acceptable but will also make it easier to talk to those who might not be dressing in an appropriate manner. When creating such a policy, keep the following in mind:
- Do not get to extreme with details like the length of shorts, dresses or other attire.
- Make sure the code is consistent with both your company culture and clients’ expectations.
- Make sure it’s written so that everyone gets treated the same.
- In some cases, religious accommodations may be made with consideration to both personal and company expectations.
Employee dating policy
Every manager wants to cultivate a friendly, comfortable atmosphere for their employees to work in but employee dating can be very problematic. However, as it is always uncomfortable to try to tell staff how to behave in their time away from the office a formal policy is called for to allow you to handle any sticky romantic situations properly. Any policy you do add should make it clear that the company is not interested in policing employees personal lives, but simply in avoiding misunderstandings, conflicts of interest, complaints of favoritism, negative employee morale and potential claims of sexual harassment.Some companies choose to bar dating altogether, while others allow it but set specific guidelines, such as not allowing couples to work in the same department and discouraging PDA, which is often very uncomfortable for those around it. However you choose to word your policy it must apply to everyone and the consequences for breaking it should be clearly spelled out.
Flexible Time Policy
More and more people are looking for greater flexibility in their jobs. This is great for employee satisfaction and retention, but if you are going to allow flexible work it may be time to put a formal policy in place so that everyone is treated fairly. With this in place you can better ensure that decisions are not biased and that productivity isn't adversely affected. This policy should address the common issues that center around flexible time including who is eligible and what the productivity expectations are for those who do qualify.
Office gifting is often an uncomfortable subject. Therefore, putting a formal policy in place is a way to avoid stress, misunderstanding and feelings out being left out. Consider all the following when crafting yours:
- Outline the circumstances under which an employee may accept a gift from clients or customers.
- Set rules for office gift giving. Ideally you should craft a policy that follows the standard business wisdom that gifts flow down, and not up. This means that employees should be discouraged from feeling pressured to make gifts to supervisors, as this can lead to accusations of favoritism and quid pro quos.
Employee complaint-resolution policy
An employee complaint resolution policy and process provides your employees with a constructive way to voice their concerns. While they will appreciate the chance to be heard, this also gives you the opportunity to address conflicts you might not otherwise have known about, allowing you to diffuse workplace distractions sooner.Should an employee relations issue emerge, a complaint-resolution policy in your employee handbook, which should always include an acknowledgment page for employees to sign, can help your company defend itself in the event an employee files a regulatory charge or lawsuit.