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How to Develop a Policy

Determine Whether You Need a Policy

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Once Developed, You Need to Train Employees About the New Policy

Jacob Wackerhausen

Identify the Need for a Policy

You want to have the necessary policies and procedures to ensure a safe, organized, convivial, empowering, nondiscriminatory work place. Yet, you do not want to write a policy for every exception to accepted and expected behavior. Policy development is for the many employees not for the few exceptions.

Consequently, you do not want to create policies for every contingency, thus allowing very little management latitude in addressing individual employee needs. Conversely, you want to have needed policies, so that employees never feel as if they reside in a free-for-all environment of favoritism and unfair treatment.

These ten steps will take you from determining the need for a policy through distributing and integrating a policy.

Check Out These Guidelines to See if a Policy Is Needed

For each of the reasons provided about why a policy might be necessary, I have provided examples of the policies that might fall into that category of need for a policy. A policy is necessary:

  • if the actions of employees indicate confusion about the most appropriate way to behave (dress codes, email and Internet policies, cell phone use),

  • if guidance is needed about the most suitable way to handle various situations (standards of conduct, travel expenditures, purchase of company merchandise),

  • when needed to protect the company legally (consistent investigation of charges of harassment, non-discriminatory hiring and promotion),

  • to keep the company in compliance with governmental policies and laws (FMLA, ADA, EEOC, minimum wage),

  • to establish consistent work standards, rules, and regulations (progressive discipline, safety rules, break rules, smoking rules), and

  • to provide consistent and fair treatment for employees (benefits eligibility, paid time off, tuition assistance, bereavement time, jury duty).

There may be other reasons, additionally, for why you may want to develop a policy. Remember, though, that one employee's poor behavior should not require a policy that will affect all other employees.

Articulate the Goal of the Policy

Once you've determined that a policy is necessary, determine the goal you want to accomplish in writing the particular policy. When possible, you will want to tell employees why the policy is being implemented.

You need enough details in the policy to make the company's position clear, yet you can never hope to cover every potential situation addressed by the policy.

Consequently, my goal with a policy is short and simple. I recognize this may not be possible with policies about areas such as the company's approach to the Family Medical and Leave Act, discrimination or complaint investigation, or the progressive discipline system.

But, how much can you really say about driving while talking on a cell phone? So, use common sense as you determine the outcome you want from your policy.

Free Policy Samples, Forms, and Check Lists:

| A | B | C | D | E | F-G | H | I-K | L-N |
| O-Q | R-S | T-V | W-Z | Policy Directory |

Continue on to: Write and Implement Your Policy.

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