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Boundaries and restrictions

How has your week been, and how are you holding up in the current normal. Like I have said before, I refuse to call it the new normal and I really believe that the current normal is going to change month to month. In some cases, we can plan, but in some cases, we may not be able to plan.

One of the things that organisation should have put in place before this time are HR policies that will help staff and organisation alike, know what to expect. what needs to be given to staff and what the organisation expects.

Human resource policies are meant to provide framework to organisation within which decisions can be made and through which people are treated fairly and on all fronts. The implementation of these policies help  organisation demonstrate both internally and externally, that they meet the requirements for ethics and training required in today’s workplace. That they that they meet their commitments regarding corporate governance of staff.

This is a two part article which cannot cover all policies but should give enough insight into why we should have these policies the benefits and examples of key ones.

These policies set out obligations, standards of behaviour and document disciplinary procedures. Some of their specific functions widely include providing clear communication between an organisation and its staff regarding their conditions of employment. They form a basis for treating all staff fairly. They also set and manage employee expectations and establish guidelines for supervisors and managers.

These policies form a basis for the staff handbook and communicate the organisations goals and values and creating a basis for regularly reviewing possible changes that affect staff. These policies provide how to apply the policies across all levels in the organisation. They also form the context for various programs such as supervisor training programs and staff on-boarding programs.

HRM must ensure that the policies are aligned to legal requirements and best practice creating a common and healthy working environment and giving a clear picture of career growth in the organisation.

There are many reasons why it is important to ensure that the policies are current, ethical and effective. For instance, this will ensure every member of staff is well looked after, their needs respected and proper benefits are made available to them. Policies help to address possible complaints, problems and grievances of staff, and outline how to solve them appropriately.

They will protect staff from the ramifications of colleagues poor behaviour and even from the organisation itself. Policies help train and develop staff who are consistent with the needs of the organisation. They ensure that staff receive adequate and fair compensation. These policies also help to maintain discipline in the workplace and provide paid vacation to eligible employees.

In preparing your HR policies you must first be aware of the labour laws in your locality. Some of these laws may require you to have some policies in place. In the absence of specific stipulations, employers can write the policies based on the following areas but not limited to these.

The at-will employment policy reiterates that both employer and staff can terminate the employment relationship at any time and for any reason, providing the reason is lawful. This should typically be in the beginning statement of your handbook.

The sexual-harassment policy especially in the modern workplace is a high profile concern, informing and educating employees through an up-to-date sexual-harassment policy, is critical. Safeguard your organisation by clearly communicating zero tolerance guidelines for unwanted unwelcome and inappropriate sexual comments or actions.

It is important to clearly define employment classifications. This can include full-time, part-time and any other classifications that may exist in you. This may dictate the eligibility for benefits and overtime paid so it should be a principal policy to clearly stipulate all employee classifications.

Leave and time off benefits’ policies should address your organisations rules and procedures regarding holidays, vacation, sick days, casual leave and all other types of benefits. This should include any leave days required by law.

A clear policy on meal and break times should exist, showing that employees are well-informed on the frequency and duration of such breaks as well as any additional rules or restrictions relating to them. Again the labour law may or may not address this.

A time keeping policy keeps staff informed of the appropriate method for recording the time worked as well as the importance of accurately recording the time. Policies on pay periods communicate the frequency of pay days to staff. Methods available for receiving payment and any special procedures that may take place should a payday fall on a holiday or when the employee is absent from work.

Health and safety policies describe the safety and emergency procedures of the workplace and require staff to report any work related injuries immediately. There are several regulations under the health and safety laws that require employers to have specific policies in place if certain workplace hazards exist, for example if certain chemicals are present in the workplace, an organisation should have a hazard communication program as part of the health and safety policy.

Attendance policies not to be confused with time keeping, clearly communicate when employees must be ready to work stipulating the scheduled start time each day and providing procedures for informing the supervisors about the shadowed absences and meet arrivals.

Surprise, surprise, there should be a remote working policy. We are all now forced to take this into consideration. We must identify the jobs hat are better suited to work remotely when the lock down is over. The organisation must clarify its position on remote work in the long doing this, you must take into consideration who is eligible for remote work, the limitation for remote working and how to monitor the remote workers.

Like I said before this is a two- part article that will be completed next week. In the mean time even as senior executive, begin to think creatively of the way forward in all areas of your organisation because we are in flux right now and we have to begin to decipher where the dice will fall.


Have a great weekend

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