Management & Operations

Develop Policies for Good of Company

Posted on September 19, 2007 by Norm Littler

We all understand the need to have clear compliance policies for things such as hours of service and drug and alcohol use, but there is also a need to have written policy statements for topics such as workplace health and safety compliance, environmental protection, labor standards, employee benefits, records retention, and employment and company governance principles.

Once all of the relevant subjects have been addressed and put into written form, they need to be condensed into an employee handbook or manual, which is then distributed to everybody in the company. Employees need to know what their employer’s policies are as well as their rights under those policies.

From this point on, every employee in the company must read the handbook, agree to abide by the policies and sign an acknowledgement form, which is then placed in their personnel file. For policies to be legally binding and defensible, no one can be exempted from this acknowledgement. This includes senior management.

Comply with the law
What constitutes a good business policy? First of all, a policy must have solid legal standing. It must be formulated and written in compliance with all applicable federal, state and local laws. Second, it cannot be ambiguous. Policies should clearly state what is expected of an employee and leave no room for interpretations that are at variance with the policy’s intent. Avoid legal terms and jargon.

If the policy is intended to describe a legal requirement, then have it translated from “legalese” to plain English. If your business employs individuals whose primary language is not English, you should consider having copies of the handbook available in other languages. It is imperative that you make every effort to have your policies fully understood by every employee. If not, you may find yourself with a serious legal problem.

Building a policy manual
There are a number of ways to proceed in building a company’s policy manual. Larger, more sophisticated organizations may be able to complete the task in-house by utilizing its human resources, safety, compliance and legal staffs. For smaller organizations, the job becomes more challenging.

First, there are companies that sell so-called “cookie cutter” policy manual templates. These companies claim their products can be dropped into an organization and will do the job. The problem with this approach is that templates seldom cover all of the critical policy areas that a particular company may need. Nor is there any assurance that a purchased template will meet the legal tests for any one state or local jurisdiction.

The next and what I believe to be better approach is to hire a professional consultant to come to your company and assess your needs. A professional consultant will develop a company-specific policy program and manual for you. Once completed, the manual needs to be reviewed by a qualified attorney to make certain that it meets all applicable legal standards. This relatively modest expense can literally save your business from ruin.

Review and update
Once your policies have been developed and your employees have been fully informed and agree to comply with them, there is still one last thing to do. All policy manuals need to be considered “living documents.” This means that from time to time, as your business operations or laws change, policies will need to be reviewed and updated. A policy does no good if it no longer applies to your current business conditions or if it is no longer legally valid.

If you don’t have documented policies in your company, then it’s now time to get the job done. Remember, the business you save will be your own.

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

Gibson to lead west transit, rail practice for WSP | PB

His experience includes rail systems projects throughout the U.S. and internationally, including the implementation of systems and track work for a major light rail transit extension in St. Louis.

Profile: Susan Shaheen, Co-Director, Transportation Sustainability Research Center

Susan is an expert on the subject of carsharing. Today, we are using Lyft to travel from her office to the Downtown Berkeley BART station, where we will take the subway to have lunch in the Financial District of San Francisco.

COTA's Stitt announces retirement plans

During his tenure, he oversaw the transformation of public transit in Central Ohio, including a downtown circulator, an airport shuttle, and a comprehensive redesign of the entire bus network.

MARTA to add fresh produce kiosks at four rail stations

The markets provide a convenient shopping alternative for fresh, affordable, and locally grown produce.

U of Fla., FDOT, City partner to create ‘smart testbed’ for advanced technologies

This will be the first such program in Florida to involve a city, a university, and a state DOT. It will also involve industry partnerships to facilitate the development and operation of test bed.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close