Every business should have written policies and procedures that document what is expected of employees and what they can expect from the business. Sometimes referred to as an employee manual, these documents provide clear guidelines regarding current laws, employee compensation and how the company conducts business.
One of the purposes of a personnel policy and procedure manual is to address legal requirements such as equal opportunity employment. By addressing different legal requirements, the manual provides protection to both the business and its employees. As a manual, these personnel policies and procedures lay a foundation for employee training.
An effective personnel policy and procedure manual should have written guidelines covering the following sections: responsibilities of each role in the business, employee benefits, sick leave, vacation, hours, pay periods, discipline, the promotion process and how performance issues are handled. The manual should also address labor laws and how the business handles workplace harassment, discrimination and substance abuse. A grievance policy should also be added so that employees and employers have an understanding of how issues are resolved.
By outlining the rules and beliefs of the business in a manual, everyone knows what is expected of them. This provides a basis for consistency in the workplace. As the National Restaurant Association points out in its employee manual creation guide, "The more you leave to your employees' judgment, the less likely it is that they will do things the way you want them done." A written policy and procedure guide, when followed, will improve an employee's confidence in the company and overall morale in the workplace.
The benefits of outlining personnel policies and procedures go beyond directly affecting the employees. As employee satisfaction increases, so does customer satisfaction. When all employees function under the same understandings, consistency in customer service is achieved. When a customer can expect a certain level of performance or quality of product from any employee at the business, it creates a positive impact on the company's brand, reputation and fiscal bottom line.
In order to be effective, all policies and procedures outlined in the manual should be followed. Lack of adherence will have a negative effect on employee satisfaction and can lead to legal consequences. Likewise, the grievance procedure should be followed step by step in order to protect the interests of all employees involved. If the policies and procedures need to be updated during employment, make sure that all employees are given a copy and that they sign an acknowledgment form. Finally, make sure that any changes you wish to make to the personnel policies and procedures are reviewed by a lawyer. In some instances, policies and procedures can be considered implied contracts and may affect a company's ability to terminate an employee.