News & Views

24th September 2019

5 Reasons Every Business Needs Policies and Procedures

Every business in Australia – regardless of industry – should have comprehensive workplace policies and procedures.

A workplace policy is a set of rules and guiding principles that aims to guide all levels of the business, including managers and employees, in how to behave in the workplace. You can have policies in place that relate to a range of issues. For example; bullying, harassment, company vehicles, social media, health and safety, and drug and alcohol just to name a few!

 

We often get asked for the top reasons why employers should worry about policies and procedures. Although these are not the only reasons, below are 5 important reasons why having well-developed policies and procedures in your workplace is a necessity 

 

1. Set Expectations!

What: Policies and procedures help employees know what is expected of them with respect to standards of behaviour, conduct and performance.

How: Policies and procedures allow an employer to commit to writing and deploying the business’s values and mission.  As a result, policies and procedures clearly define and set the expectations for employees and provide a source of reference for both employers and employees to be able to review and check if they are meeting those expectations.

 

2. Know where to turn for help!

What: Policies and procedures allow you to have an accepted method of dealing with employee or client complaints, misunderstandings and grievances.

How: All policies should have a point of contact for queries relating to that policy so employees know who they can contact with their questions and concerns. Policies and procedures will set out the processes and options available on how any grievance can be addressed in the workplace.

 

3. Help defend against employee claims!

What: Up to date policies and procedures can assist an employer in defending against legal claims. 

How: For instance, in the case of a stop bullying application before the Fair Work Commission, demonstrating that an employer has a published bullying policy and a grievance resolution policy, both of which have been referenced by the employer in order to investigate the allegation of bullying made, can be relied upon to demonstrate the reasonableness of an employer’s actions when responding to such a claim.

 

4. Comply with the law!

What: Policies and procedures that are regularly reviewed and updated will assist a company in meeting its obligations with legislation and law. 

How: For instance, a clear work health and safety policy will assist an employer in communicating its obligations to provide a physically and mentally safe workplace and how it will meet those obligations imposed on the business at law.  

 

5. Keep management accountable!

What: In addition to setting behaviour, conduct and performance standards for employees; policies and procedures also set the same standards for managers and senior leaders.

How: Policies and procedures provide guidance to managers on how they are to conduct themselves and the standards they will be held to, but also provides transparency to the rest of the workforce as they can see the standards expected of their managers and what they can in turn expect from their managers.

The above list is not exhaustive but does outline some of the key reasons why workplace policies and procedures are vital to businesses of all sizes.

 

Where to go from here:

All policies and procedures should be carefully drafted to ensure that they are compliant with any legal obligations. Policies and procedures should also be clear, concise and written for the intended audience.

If you are thinking of implementing a policy and procedure manual in your workplace, please give the Workplace Relations Team a call on 1300 300 031 where we can work with you to tailor a package to your needs!