LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS
top 5 policies your company should have documented
robert keenan, chief information & risk officer
Policies set the ground rules for how a company conducts itself and holds itself accountable. Without policies and procedures, the rules can shift from department to department or from employee to employee, creating confusion, a lack of cohesiveness, and potentially lead to legal ramifications within the organization.
Why It’s Important to Document Company Policies
Company policies and procedures establish expectations, provide accountability, and serve as the foundation for the character of a company.
Employees who know what is expected of them perform at higher levels. Removing any ambiguity creates an environment conducive to success and provides for accountability.
Formal policies and procedures help keep regulatory requirements in the forefront and expectations clear.
Company policies establish guidelines that set the standard for the code of conduct for both employer and employee. A company that sets policies in writing creates enforceable rules and establishes trust within the organization.
Clearly defined policies reduce training time and ensure that equal information is available to every new employee.
When policies and procedures are documented, they can then be universally applied. This lessens the risk of mistakes and financial consequences of inconsistent practices.
Top 5 Policies Your Business Should Document
Your company may decide to document many policies and procedures, but these five must be among them.
1. Employee Code of Conduct
This outlines the duties and responsibilities of employees in all aspects of their work, behavior, and interactions with other employees as well as clients and potential clients. It also clearly defines the discipline that employers may use when employees violate the policy, which may include anything from verbal or written warnings to termination. When this policy is communicated effectively to employees, any questions about the appropriateness of employee actions or disciplinary action are removed.
2. Use of Company Property
Abuse of physical and intellectual property is a real concern for companies. Protecting your property and data is a top priority. Use of company property policies may cover password requirements, reporting requirements for phishing attempts, property that can and cannot be used off-site, the use of external devices, and other topics designed to keep your data and company property safe.
3. Harassment & Discrimination
Harassment and discrimination are two subjects every business should take seriously. A policy may not only outline what constitutes harassment and discrimination and the consequences of non-compliance but also specifically encourage fair treatment regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or religious and cultural beliefs of another person in the workplace or with any associated independent contractors.
4. Workplace Health and Safety
The health and safety of employees should be a top priority for every company. Policies may cover everything from parking to the use of employee ID cards and how to operate machinery. Workplace health and safety policies are put into place to protect every individual involved, from the CEO to employees, customers, and vendors. It’s not only the right thing to do, but the legal consequences of not creating and complying with workplace health and safety requirements can be significant.
5. Vacation, Time Off, and Leave
Attendance policies define work schedules, and the disciplinary action employees face for violating the policy. This may include the method for verifying attendance, including vacation, leave, and time off, and reporting requirements for such time off. If employers only allow a specified amount of time off within a designated time frame, that would be documented here as well.
Importance of Updating Company Policies
Despite the best efforts of a company to establish policies and procedures that lead to success, revisions will likely need to be made. Companies change and grow, and until policies are put into action, it’s impossible to know which ones will work for your company and which ones will fall short. Being open to feedback on how to improve your company’s policies tells employees you are flexible and care about getting it right.
Reviewing policies and procedures at least twice annually helps ensure your company’s policies are keeping pace with its growth and with the needs of its workforce.
Creating company policies may not be the most exciting part of your company’s journey, but it is a crucial one. Documenting your company policies can help clarify the foundational workplace principles for your organization while continuing to adjust and grow along with it.
Lutz Can Help
Lutz understands the organizational matters that cause you to lose sleep, and we’re here to bring you peace of mind. Contact us if you have any questions or want to learn more about our risk assessment services. For additional information on related topics, our consulting blog can help.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ROBERT KEENAN + CHIEF INFORMATION & RISK OFFICER
Robert Keenan is the Chief Information & Risk Officer at Lutz with over 20 years of compliance and operational risk experience. He focuses on risk management, compliance, and security for the firm, and will partner with the operations team to drive process improvement and operational efficiencies for Lutz.
AREAS OF FOCUS
- Risk Management & Compliance
AFFILIATIONS AND CREDENTIALS
- Association of Certified Fraud Examiners
- Society of Compliance and Ethics Professionals
- National Society of Compliance Professionals
- Certified Fraud Examiner
- Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional
- BA in Finance, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
- MPA, Drake University, Des Moines, IA
- Association of Certified Fraud Examiners - Heartland Chapter, Past Board Member
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