Company policies: The epitome of productive businesses
Along with your vision for the business, the company policies and procedures you set out are what Google Maps is to a travelling salesperson – a roadmap for the day-to-day, offering clear direction on what your company expects from staff.
Company policies are not intended to stifle or thwart employees.
Quite the opposite in fact – they protect your company’s interests: they protect your employees; they ensure compliance with the various laws and regulations that impact your business; they guide internal decision-making and ensure everyone is working towards meeting the business objectives.
In this article, Louise Percy, Director of Positive About Business explores the benefits that the implementation of a suite of necessary business documents can have on your business.
Your business roadmap
Back to the Google Maps/Travelling Salesperson analogy. If the salesperson didn’t plan the route before embarking on it, would s/he be as productive? Would s/he sell consistently, day-to-day? The answers would be no.
Similarly, if your staff don’t know what you expect of them, then how can the business run smoothly? Your policies and procedures articulate how staff should prepare and perform their jobs.
Example 1: A policy on work attire in a construction firm will outline appropriate workwear – long trousers, safety and protective clothing, work boots, long hair tied back, and so on.
Example 2: A policy on customer service in a restaurant business will define expectations on how staff should greet customers.
Consistency is the outcome when everyone in your business follows the same set of policies and procedures. I touched on the benefits of consistency in my article on health & safety in the workplace and your business’ bottom line but to summarise: When your employees feel emotionally invested in their jobs, they don’t want to leave and this creates a consistent, loyal workforce for your business. Customers like consistency and when you have a competent, well-informed staff then consistency is maintained, and you are more likely to retain existing customers and win new customers.
Your training toolkit
Investing in your biggest assets – your employees – is invaluable to a business. Offering employee training when policies are reviewed, or procedures are updated ensures they will be kept informed.
Asking your employees for feedback on how effective they think the policies are is important too. Not only does this serve to promote an inclusive workplace culture but there can often be inconsistencies in what the management team envisage to be ‘good practice’ in theory and what frontline staff actually do in practice. Having this two-way communication will help keep your policies current.
By incorporating your policies and procedures into your business induction programme, you can equip new recruits from day one so that they’re sufficiently prepared and able to perform when they start in their role.
Your legal and moral obligation
Did you know that there are some policies and procedures that every business must have, regardless of their size?
Did you also know that if you employ five or more staff, a health & safety policy is statutory?
Depending on the size and nature of your business, there are specific pieces of UK and European legislation that will impact on your business and as a consequence, will require an internal policy document to inform staff and ensure they’re helping the business meet its legal obligations. For example, laws on dealing with hazardous substances, or lone workers and the steps you are obliged to take to protect them, or data protection and what personal information you can and cannot collect.
Whilst you, as the employer and business owner, have primary responsibility for these legal obligations, your employees have certain responsibilities too. For example, they have a duty of care when it comes to the health & safety of themselves and their colleagues. You can read more on this here
Would you like Positive About Business to create a suite of policies and procedures, together with a review schedule, for your business?
Louise Percy founded Positive About Business in 2012 to help small and medium-sized businesses start their journey to excellence and improvement.
She specialises in helping businesses with their policies and procedures, achieve health & safety compliance, gain industry accreditations and standards, create winning tender documents, and complete PQQs.