Drafting or Changing a Workplace Policy

November 7th, 2014

Workplace policies are not whimsical rules, fleeting requirements, or preferred behaviors implicitly submitted by a team or workplace culture. Policies are official, enforceable guidelines that are written down and made available to every relevant employee. And when they’re ignored or disobeyed, the infraction is quantifiable and comes with clear consequences that are applied fairly.  Keep these considerations in mind before you draft a new a policy or change one that’s currently on the books.

First, is this action necessary?

Before you use new or revised policies to solve workplace problems, exhaust every reasonable alternative. Don’t draft a new policy in response to a one-time problem or unique situation. If an employee explodes his cup-o-soup in the break room microwave, don’t appease his irritated coworkers by drafting a new policy forbidding this behavior. Just talk to the employee and make sure he understands the error of his ways.

Include relevant employees in the drafting process.

New policies related to safety, for example, will require the buy-in and approval of employees who are directly affected by this safety hazard. The wording used, the practicality of the new requirement, and ability to fairly enforce the new rule should all be taken into account during the drafting process. And the most valuable contributions will come from the employees who are exposed to both the safety hazard and the proposed solution.

Get buy-in from upper management and legal teams.

Before the new policy goes into the books, HR and legal experts will need to make sure it doesn’t extend into aspects of employee behavior that can’t be legally regulated by their employers. Policies that discriminate against groups or individuals based on protected criteria (such as gender, race, or religion) aren’t acceptable, nor are policies that create unreasonable burdens for employees or violate labor laws. Since these problems aren’t always obvious on the surface, a closer look will be necessary. Executive level managers will also need to provide written approval before the process is finalized.

Publish the policy and provide necessary training.

Make the policy accessible and clear to all relevant employees, and give them an opportunity to ask any questions they may have or obtain the training they’ll need in order to comply. For more on how to draft and edit an effective workplace policy, reach out to the staffing experts at PSU.

Exit Interviews: Do You Know Why Your Employees are Leaving?

June 27th, 2014

You may not have a serious problem with high turnover, and your actual numbers may fall in line with industry averages in your industry…but if you lose even one valuable employee for preventable reasons, you can and should be doing more to prevent this situation.

As the saying goes, your most valuable form of capital is your human capital, and great employees always add intangible value to your enterprise. So if there’s any resource at your disposal that might keep them happy, productive, and onboard, don’t ignore this resource, and don’t let great people slip away.

Find out what your teams want and need—and may be missing—by making sure every departing employee completes a detailed exit interview. And as you draft your interviews, keep these tips in mind.

1. Include a verbal and written component.

Have your HR manager sit down with the departing employee for a face to face conversation on his or her last day. But in addition to the meeting, make sure you also give the departing employee a chance to fill out a short survey or questionnaire that will capture her thoughts in writing.

2. Keep your interviews open and non-judgmental.

Recognize that your employee won’t be fully honest if she fears backlash in the form of a negative recommendation, and a less-than-honest review won’t help you.

3. Keep your interviews specific.

Encourage your employee to speak freely, but provide structure in order to target areas in need of improvement. For example, try questions like these:

“Is there anything we could have done, or any resource we could have provided, that would have convinced you to stay?”
“If you can link your decision to leave to a single event, can you describe that event?”
“Can you describe the primary appeal of your new employer and explain what they have to offer that you aren’t finding here?”
“What did you value/dislike most about working here?”
“Can you share your feelings about our management, leadership, and the company in general?”
“Can you share your feelings about your job? Were there specific aspects of your work that you liked/disliked more than others?”

4. In your written survey, include 1 to 5 ratings of specific metrics.

For example, ask your employee to provide an overall rating of the company’s leadership, culture, communication, integrity, etc.

For more sample exit interview questions and tips that can help you motivate your employees and reduce turnover, contact the staffing experts at PSU.


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