Policies are documents that guide businesses and help employers with daily decision-making. They create predictable and fair environments where employees can operate with expectations, and managers can confidently make decisions based on well-thought-out principles. And they’re the link between an organisation’s vision, values, and day-to-day operations.

In this article, we share the policies that every business should have in place, what they do, and why they’re important.

So, let’s talk about policies…

The primary benefit of policies is that they’re designed to minimise corporate risk and enhance the presence of good faith in the workplace. Smaller companies can often operate without policies in place, either because they don’t have the time or expertise to create them, or they view them as a barrier to the freedom of the owners to manage the business.

As an example, many managers want the freedom to reward a good employee with flexibility in leave-taking, but to give a below-average employee fewer liberties. This kind of managerial discretion to do what you want is very risky behaviour as the inconsistency and unfairness it leaves behind is a personal grievance waiting to happen.

HR Assured has developed a reliable and workplace-tested database of all these policies that are available to our clients as templates for their use. These templates are constantly monitored and updated to keep pace with changes in employment law developments and are guaranteed to be compliant and fit for purpose.

What policies should your business have in place?

Businesses should have everything from organisation charts to performance management policies in place to ensure a fair environment for all employees, where they can expect clear actions to be taken in certain circumstances.

Here’s our list of workplace policies and documents that every employer should have in place:

Alcohol and drugs policy: sets out the rules and responsibilities around the use of any drugs and alcohol. Should also include guidelines around testing, prescribed medicines, workplace functions and consequences of positive results.

Conduct and discipline: clarifies expected workplace behaviours and sets out processes for addressing misconduct, and consequences for misconduct.

Employment agreement: sets out the conditions of employment for each employee. It can be different for levels and types of employees but must meet minimum standards of employment law and differences cannot be without reason.

Flexible working arrangements: sets out the basis for flexible working and working from home arrangements.

Grievances: establishes processes to resolve any employee concerns.

Harassment, bullying, and discrimination: prohibits any workplace behaviours that harass, discriminate, or bully. Sets out processes to address complaints and support victims.

Health & Safety (H&S): sets out the employer’s commitment to establishing Health & Safety (H&S) in the workplace. Establishes consultation, communication, and representation protocols. May include emergency planning.

Internet, email, and social media: sets standards for behaviour in employees’ online communications, behaviour, and presence, as well as responsibilities around possession and use of company hardware and software.

Job descriptions: sets out the context of employee’s roles, including qualifications and experience requirements, reporting lines, deliverables, activities, and working relationships.

Leave and absences: sets out the rules and behaviours expected of employees and managers around different types of absence from the workplace, whether paid or unpaid.

Motor Vehicles: sets out the responsibilities and expected behaviour for employees entrusted with employer-owned vehicles, as well as consequences for infringements and accidents.

Organisation chart: sets out roles and seniority levels. Clarifies reporting lines and levels of authority and enables very detailed workforce planning through skills analysis compared to product or service deliverables.

Parental leave: clarifies entitlements and workplace support for prospective and new parents.

Performance management: clarifies how the employer will address lower than expected performance levels in different circumstances.

Privacy: establishes boundaries around, and responsibilities for possession and use of employees’ private information.

Workplace surveillance: establishes how and when the employer can monitor the location and/or activities of employees.

How HR Assured can help?

We know that managing people can be a juggle for business leaders; it’s time-consuming and challenging. If this is something you’re looking to enhance, why not talk to the team at HR Assured? From HR software that can record your employee interactions and automated performance reviews to 24/7 telephone support and legally sound templates, policies, and documents, you’ll have everything you need to ensure your business is compliant with the laws of the land.

If this article has raised any questions about policies or any other workplace matter, please get in touch with our HR and H&S experts via our 24/7 Telephone Advisory Service