What Workplace Policies Does My Business Need?
Workplace policies do more than just set out the rules for employees. Find out what policies are important to have in place here.
Running a productive and positive workplace is more than just having the right Employment Agreements in place. Workplace policies are necessary to communicate to employees your expectations in the workplace. However they also:
- Influence behaviour that determines your workplace culture
- Make employees feel safe
- Provide more structure in the workplace
With plenty being made about recent workplace issues in some of Australia’s leading companies (and institutions), it’s important to ensure you have policies in place that cover your business in any situation. This can concern computer use, discrimination or harassment. Here’s a list of the policies every Australian workplace should have.
2020 has been a challenging year for everyone, but especially working women. Although this isn’t a direct product of discrimination, discrimination inevitably plays a role when we look at statistics in the workplace over a longer period of time. Discrimination can occur in many instances in the workplace, including:
- Failing to promote women, people of colour, LGBTQI persons, older people, or people from a particular cultural ethnicity or background
- Paying certain groups of people less than others who do the same job
- Only hiring people from certain groups
The workplace should be safe and free of discrimination of all kinds. This also applies earlier throughout the hiring process. Other ways to combat this are by requesting applicants submit name blind and photo-free resumes. A Discrimination Policy provides your business with a simple way to clarify what’s considered workplace discrimination. It also spells out how to report incidents of discrimination and explains the consequences of breaching this policy.
Harassment and Bullying Policy
Harassment and bullying is a risk to the health and safety of employees,. This can occur in every type of workplace, regardless of what your business does. A harassment and bullying policy is essential for all types of business to explain what actions classify as workplace harassment and bullying. The key point of this policy is to clearly emphasise that these actions will not be tolerated.
Social Media Policy
It’s a good to have a social media policy in place before one of your employees gets into hot water. Social media has blurred the lines between our work and professional lives, but letting them intertwine online can be risky. Employees publicly posting abusive messages relating to their workplace or a fellow employee is perhaps the most common, and it’s important to state the consequences. An effective social media policy will cover appropriate use of all social networks and touch on cyber bullying, while also confirming your stance on confidentiality, conflicts of interest and use of company property (including email address and logo).
Acceptable IT Use
Particularly important in office jobs, an acceptable IT use policy is a necessity to ensure that staff know the acceptable policies, procedures and expectations when using the company’s internet and email systems. This policy will help you deal with employees using their computers for inappropriate purposes, such as browsing certain sites and using email / instant messaging inappropriately. It’s important that an IT use policy also stipulates any monitoring of internet and email to ensure transparency.
Drugs and Alcohol Policy
Every employee needs to be responsible for behaviours that will impact on their ability to work. Drugs and alcohol abuse have no place in a workplace and will impact the performance and social behaviour of your employees. It’s important to state your company’s policies on substance abuse to ensure employees are conscious of your expectations. If you perform routine drug tests at work, you must stipulate the procedures an employee agrees to when coming on board, and the consequences of not meeting these requirements.
Dominic is the CEO of Lawpath, dedicating his days to making legal easier, faster and more accessible to businesses. Dominic is a recognised thought-leader in Australian legal disruption, and was recognised as a winner of the 2015 Australian Legal Innovation Index.