Running a successful business is more than making a good profit margin and the products it delivers. The foundation of your company is the people who run it, and taking care of them is central to your success. Meet the human resources department!
Good HR policies lay the foundation for a well-run company. They address your employees’ needs, set standards of behavior, and answer all of those big and small questions, from “what’s an appropriate amount of time to take for lunch” to “how many days off do you get for a death in the family?” They provide procedures for discipline, ensuring each employee gets standard, fair treatment, informed by history and logic rather than office politics. Great HR policies withstand the test of time, maintaining order even when leadership shifts.
Despite the gravity of a good HR policy, at far too many companies this exists only as a PDF that you scroll through on your first day or the stack of notes you bury in a file cabinet. Policies like these rarely reach their full potential and are not kept in mind. We’ll give you some tips on how to improve this and share some examples you can use.
Here are the basic HR policies you need to have for your company:
- This clause says that both the employer and employee can end the employment at any time as long as it’s for a legal reason. It is required in most states.
- Include the time the office opens and closes, whether remote work is permissible and the necessary procedures for taking time off.
Access To Personal Records
- In this section, detail how long human resources hangs onto personal documents.
- Cover options relating to health insurance, 401k contributions, stock options, parental leave, and the like.
Breaks and Lunch Policy
- Each office culture differs in terms of eating lunch at the desk versus taking a leisurely break, but this should cover what full and part-time employees are legally allocated.
- Most employers are required by federal law to provide a private place (other than the bathroom) for nursing mothers to express milk whenever they need to for up to one year after the birth of their child.
- Business casual, business professional, or just clothed? Spell it out.
Anti-Harassment and Non-Discrimination Policy
- This clause is required by law, but it should also be put into practice.
- This policy lists the details of full time, part-time, and freelance employment and delineates the benefits, pay, and hours for each.
Cell Phone Policy
- These days many people use their phones in their work tasks. If you expect phones to be put away, for confidentiality or other reasons, make it clear.
- Never skimp on details when it comes to protecting confidential information. Outline procedures for handling, transferring and destroying all confidential information, how to document each step, as well as consequences for violating procedures.
Leave And Time Off
- Explain the difference between vacation, personal and sick days, how many are offered, how to request and document them, and whether there are blackout days on which they cannot be used. For example, many teachers can’t take time off on either end of a vacation week or on the first or last day of school.
Reasonable Accommodations Requests
- Companies are required by law to accommodate reasonable requests for disability or religious reasons. Make sure employees are aware of this, and document any attempts to meet their needs.