Does your company have a Spaghetti Policy?
Ok…..probably not, but now that we have your attention….
- How sound are your policies and procedures?
- Do your employees know what they are and where to find them?
- How often have you reviewed your Employee Handbook for updates?
We find that often the terms policies and procedures are used interchangeably but they are two different things. We also find often that policies and procedures collect dust on actual or digital shelves. Some feel they are boring or that they are just there so leadership can control employees. Some leaders feel that policies only serve to introduce bureaucracy. The reality is that good policies and procedures help the organization and employees. They help mitigate risk and clarify how programs work, what benefits are in place for employees, where to access information, and tools for employees to succeed even. We want good policies in place certainly in the workplace, particularly around Anti-Harassment, Ethics, Safety, and Security policies.
Let’s step into quick definitions: Policies are typically more driven on constants of overall company guidelines to follow that apply to all, and that build accountability within an organization. Many policies are derived from Laws at Federal, State, and Local levels. Procedures act as guidelines too, but more along the lines of things that change more frequently and that are related to how to perform tasks and more Micro (Departmental-level) versus Macro (entire organization). You could have different Standard Operating Procedures for every Department. They may inform employees where information is stored, who should and can be contacted for different questions or concerns, and may even point to prior procedures or supplemental documents. They can act as guides to job performance as well (e.g. a Desk Aide).
Employees need guidelines and often ask for further guidance when there aren’t any policies and procedures in place. Leverage the voice of your employees and their ongoing feedback to help shape your policies and procedures. Often, employees are the ones most-impacted by the policies and procedures you develop. They also typically have the most insights to provide candid, ongoing feedback. Thus, your policies and procedures become engagement tools and can support your retention efforts.
Planning is key so that you make sure any upcoming changes are incorporated and that you can be as strategic as possible about the change and notify employees in a timely manner so that they have appropriate time to process the changes and ask questions. Make sure that you are reviewing your policies, procedures, and Employee Handbooks at least once per year. Best practice is once per Quarter or per month. Certainly review them as applicable changes are needed.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Spotlight: Transgender Awareness Week
Transgender Awareness week is November 13th through November 19th. Here are some ways you can support current and prospective employees and support the LGBTQIA+ Community:
Here are some ways you can support existing employees and attract new talent in the Transgender/LGBTQIA+ Community:
- Use inclusive Gender-neutral language in your Job Postings
- Ensure that you use employees’ preferred Pronouns
- Don’t make assumptions, and understand that Sex is not Gender and Gender is not Sex
- Do Outreach to diverse and Ally Agencies such as those listed in the comments
- Have Gender-Neutral restrooms/policies/procedures
- Review your company’s benefits to be as equitable and inclusive as possible
- Appreciate perspectives, needs, and lived experiences and show empathy