10 Must-Have HR Policies for Small Businesses

Clear and effective HR policies are an essential ingredient of any successful start-up or small business. HR Policies set out clear ground rules for employees and protect the rights of employers. Unfortunately, policies and procedures are typically the last thing on the mind of a small business owner.

If you’re unsure where to start, here are the top 10 must have HR policies for small businesses:

Work Health and Safety Policy

Workplace injuries can affect your business in a number of ways including decreased productivity, sick pay obligations and the cost of finding a replacement. WHS policies highlight safety procedures and the responsibilities of all employees to keep the workplace safe.

Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination Policy

Did you know an employer can be held legally responsible for acts of discrimination or harassment in their business? In order to minimise this risk, the business must show they have taken all reasonable steps to prevent discrimination or harassment from occurring. However in the absence of a comprehensive policy, this is almost impossible!

Having a policy in place communicates clearly to employees what constitutes bullying, sexual harassment, discrimination and any other form of inappropriate behaviour at work. A good policy will also outline procedures for dealing with complaints.

Code of Conduct

A Code of Conduct is important for setting the standards of behaviour you expect from your employees. Common issues such as dress code, mobile phone use, punctuality and the use of company property will be included in a Code of Conduct.

By outlining unacceptable behaviour and educating employees on business values through a policy, you are in a better position to manage unacceptable conduct in the workplace if and when it arises.

Drug and Alcohol Policy

The use of drug and alcohol during and outside of work hours can present significant safety risks and costs to your business through injuries, absenteeism and lost productivity. A drug and alcohol policy can promote and maintain a risk-free work environment while outlining the rights a business to test employees for drug-use.

Leave Policy

For businesses that experience seasonal busy periods, a leave policy can be extremely valuable. A leave policy can include ‘blackout’ periods during busy periods with increased notice periods for employees applying for leave, to ensure you aren’t understaffed.

Grievance Policy

Most businesses will have to deal with a workplace dispute at some point. Having a grievance policy in place acts as an important tool for employees to understand what steps they should follow when handling a complaint.

Performance Counselling and Discipline Policy

Performance management is a common practice within any business, but can often be a delicate process. A policy will assist you in remaining compliant with requirements of procedural fairness and provide guidance on how unacceptable conduct will be dealt with.

Internet and Email Policy

With the increased use of technology in businesses, it is important to manage inappropriate internet usage. An internet and email policy will define what is inappropriate use of company computers and internet resources, as well as the consequences an employee may face for breaching the policy.

Social Media Policy

Social media use is rapidly increasing and becoming incorporated into our working lives. A social media policy is essential to protecting your company’s reputation, especially if employees list their place of employment on their profiles. On social media, lines between professional and personal networks can become blurred, so it is a good idea to let employees know that how they behave on social media reflects on the business, and therefore will be regulated.

Privacy Policy

Employers have a responsibility to safeguard the personal information of employees and customers. Therefore, businesses must have a policy in place articulating how their private information is used and managed. A privacy policy makes it clear what information is allowed to be made public and what is required to stay private or within the walls of the company. A privacy policy should include employee health records and personal information such as addresses, phone numbers and emails.

HR policies are a simple way to ensure your business is well equipped to handle a number of common workplace issues. Our HR Software allows you to download all of the above HR policies and more. Better yet, our Workplace Relations Specialists will draft tailored HR Policies to suit your unique business needs. Call us today to claim your free HR advice call!