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What Policies Should You Review in the New Year?

It’s a new year, and that means a fresh start…which means a general overhaul of the policies and practices that have woven their way into the background of workplace life. Just as we take some time each year to clean out old storage closets and get rid of what we no longer need, we should all be taking a close look at outdated policies and procedures at least once a year. Some of these old practices should be updated, and some should be tossed out or replaced. But you won’t know until you tackle the process and take action. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Start by soliciting feedback.

You should probably be taking this step anyway…and on a regular basis. Distribute anonymous surveys to employees and managers at every level and use the survey questions to gain feedback on company polices and how they’re being received. Ask if there are any policies that stand between the employees and their productivity on the job. Ask if there are policies that seem inappropriate, inefficient, impossible to execute, or impossible to enforce. And of course, request suggestions and alternatives.

Focus on the policies that create the biggest problems.

If you have several policies on the books that aren’t causing any problems and seem to be doing no harm, drop these to the lower end of the priority list. Move the squeakiest wheels to the top. For example, a hand-washing policy that’s being widely ignored will need serious attention in a healthcare or food handling facility. The same applies to a safety policy that’s designed to protect workers from one form of harm, but exposes them to another. Or a response time, dress code, or disciplinary policy that’s being unfairly enforced.

Account for the major workplace changes that have taken place this past year.

Can you quickly list some of the most important ways your workplace has changed between January of 2014 and January of 2015? If your employee population has doubled, your facility has expanded, you lost some of your key decision-makers, or your business model has shifted, then the policies relevant to these things will need to change first.

For specific help as you work to revamp your policies and procedures, contact the staffing and HR experts at PSU.

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