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The need for business policies on paper

Budding entrepreneurs have a lot on their plates when starting a new company. Between looking for funding, setting up the business, and looking for staff members, there’s a lot going on. One aspect that is often overlooked is company policy, and what it means for the business and its employees.

Having a concrete company policy is the basis of any business. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling cupcakes or developing apps for Fortune 500 companies. These policies will not only protect the company from any problems, but ensure that staff members have a firm understanding of the inner workings of the business. In saying that, making all of these documents available is an aspect that is often overlooked and can lead to a lot of trouble.

Here are a few reasons why adequate and transparent company policies are necessary.

A functioning HR department

Human resource (HR) departments are there to assist with employee problems and handling anything person-related within the company. These staff members need to be equipped with the right training and given all of the resources they require in order to do their job. If they have to come to you to clarify how leave works, then there is a problem.

When you first setup the HR department, be sure to nail down all of the company policies as soon as possible. Every little detail, such as internet usage and smoke break intervals, needs to be on paper and checked for legalities at the same time. This may require third party help from legal firms and sending your employees on human resources and legal courses, but it will be worthwhile in the end.

New hires

When hiring a new person, always be sure to give them a copy of every company policy – from sick leave to bonus incentives – on the day they start. In fact, the moment they walk through the door for the first time they should be handed a starter packet with their contract and a copy of all policies. These packets should also include a list of all of the employees, what their roles are in the company, and a copy of the Wi-Fi password.

Starting at a new company is a daunting undertaking. It doesn’t matter if your newbie is a a new intern or filling a senior management role, they’re not going to know how the company functions right off the bat. In order to eliminate any stress on their part when it comes to wondering when they can apply for leave or what the policy is on mental health days, be sure to supply them with all of the information upfront. This will lead to an easier transition period for them.

Assistance with disputes

One of the important reasons to have transparent practices is disputes. When there is a problem surrounding an employee and they haven’t been given any company policies in writing, this will lead to problems if the case is taken to court. In essence, there is a chance your business won’t have a leg to stand on.

You’ll need to make sure they know exactly what these policies are and where to find them. It’s not enough to refer to standard South African business practices, make sure they have something in writing as well. And be sure to have them sign a document stating they were given a copy of all of the policies.

Be lenient

While many companies tend to follow the rules set out by government and standard business practices, those can be old and dogmatic. The world is changing and younger workforces are inflicted with more stress each and every generation. It’s because of this that companies should look at relaxing some of their policies. For example, some news publications allow for staff members to take mental wellbeing days which don’t require a doctor’s note. This allows the employee to be away from work and have the day to recharge themselves – it’s especially beneficial to those with depression.

Another example is paternity leave. We no longer live in a world where the woman stays at home while the man ‘brings home the bacon’. When having children, men want to bond their they little creations as well. They should be given the same amount of time off as their significant others in order to help with raising the child and strengthening the family unit. This will create a beneficial working environment for your employees.

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